ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES SOCIETY
Written by John Park, Remy Lee
The year 2021, has been a year of a multitude of crises upon our world, including the disaster which changed our world- the covid 19. Some people might just think of this as a natural coincidence; however, this is all the consequences of climate change, driven by selfish humans. Climate change’s main causes are greenhouse gases, which are made of methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, water vapour, and carbon dioxide. Humans mostly produce greenhouse gases, and unlike other harmful substances such as micro dust which disappears in a few days, the greenhouse gases accumulate in the air. As it accumulates in the air, it floats around the atmosphere and defends the heat that is reflected from the surface of our planet, leading to the increase of Earth’s temperature, which is called global warming. As seen on the graph, the production of greenhouse gases has hugely increased, leaving a massive effect, as if we look at the long term consequences, wars could occur or even the sixth mass extinction. So, it is essential to study the effects of climate change and possible ways to reduce it.
One of the most major consequences of global warming is the melting of glaciers. As the temperature of the earth increases, it slowly melts the glaciers in the northern and southern areas of the earth. Glaciers are made of pure liquids, and if it melts and gets mixed with the salty seawater which is denser, the mass of the mixture increases massively. This leads to the massive sea-level rise, affecting certain territories to sink. For example, a country named Kiribati is already facing severe problems of houses sinking, and enormous loss of crops by the floodings of seawater over the farming area. It is told that if the rise of the sea level keeps going on at the same rate, Kiribati would be completely sunken in 50 years. It is said that by the year 21000, the sea level would rise by 1.1 meters, and by losing of territories due to the rise of sea level, potentially wars could occur as countries would fight over territories, bringing so much more chaos to our world. The rise of sea level isn’t the only problem of the melting of glaciers. Due to its bright white colour, glaciers can reflect over 90% of the sunlight which shines to our planet. By reflecting the heat of the sun shining on the ocean, Glaciers protect the ocean’s temperature as a cold state, which is a great condition for the fishes and the coral reefs to live. However, by the melting of the glaciers, the ocean absorbs 100% of the sunlight and the heat, making the temperature of the ocean warm. The impacts which the warmness of the oceans bring is enormous. The first impact that the warm temperature of the ocean gives is that it helps natural disasters to form much quicker. As the ocean gets warm, It can produce much more energy for a typhoon or a hurricane to form and grow. Also, as the sea gets warmer, only a minor earthquake could cause giant tsunamis. Furthermore, the warmness of the ocean would cause the death of the coral leaves and the movements of fishes. The warm temperature of the sea is a very bad condition for the fishes and the coral leaves to live, so the fishes move their habitats to colder regions such as the northern or the southern areas. The mass moving of the fish impacts the life of the people who are closely related to the fishing business, as there are much fewer fish in the warmer areas of the ocean. The fishes are able to survive as they move; however, the coral leaves aren’t able to move. So, eventually, they would face death. This is also effective for fish, as they would be losing their houses.
Climate change could also be the leading cause of the outbreak of thousands of diseases, which are possibly sealed inside iced lands, such as places like Greenland. The iced lands are a type of land that is formed by layers of ice getting stacked over the last millions of years, allowing them to seal viruses and bacteria in a perfect condition for a long time. The iced lands have never been melted ever, so there were no outbreaks of viruses for such a long time. However, due to climate change, the iced lands are starting to melt. Anthrax; a disease that was active 80 years before, could be an excellent example of this issue. The outbreak of anthrax diseases occurred in 2016, by the melting of iced lands in Siberia. The Anthrax disease was a massive shock to our world, as it was a disease which we thought were utterly gone, and appeared out of nowhere and killed a lot of creatures which lived in the close areas, such as raindeers or even humans. Although, this is only the tip of an iceberg, and anything could happen if climate change gets worse.
Over the past 100 years, the temperature of our earth has increased by 1 degree, and this is 250 times more than how the temperature has risen by ten thousand years. As it is very noticeable, climate change has gotten significantly worse within the past few years, and if the temperature increase since the 1880s gets over 1.5 degrees (now 1 degree), Earth would be a harsh place for us to live. However, it is impossible to stop the effects of climate change, as the selfish acts of humans never seem to decrease. Although, there is still a chance to reduce it and keep our planet in a state in which we could live. A lot of people believes that recycling is one of the best ways to reduce the effects of climate change. However, products that people believe could be recycled are mostly a mixture of different substances, so they are challenging to recycle. According to the OECD research, only 18% of the plastics which are trashed are getting recycled. So, recycling could not be the most efficient way to reduce climate change. However, we, as consumers, could solve this problem by spending our money on things that are eco friendly. Items that are eco friendly are products that are recycled or products that are in a single substance that could be recycled. Consumers can identify them by searching for eco marks. If only the eco-friendly products are sold, other companies would also produce products which are helpful for our planet. Also, by wrapping products with only paper which some companies do, it could help us to reduce the effects of climate change as the paper is easily recycled. Furthermore, producing fewer greenhouse gases could be an excellent way to slow down climate change. As it is told before, the main cause of climate change is greenhouse gases produced by humans. And by riding vehicles which does not release greenhouse gases such as electric-powered vehicles, or eating less food that is cooked by smiles, we would be able to reduce the greenhouse gases and slow down climate change.
Since the birth of our plant, there were five mass extinctions, and there was a single pattern; the creatures that are in the highest food chain, always extinct. And in the food change of our current world-humans. We are already facing situations that could potentially affect our life, such as the melting of iced lands and the glaciers. And if these effects of climate change continue to carry on, our species would be facing the 6th mass extinction much sooner. So, our earth is now in a state where it desperately needs care, and by making things able to be recycled and by producing fewer greenhouse gases, we might be able to save the earth. It’s our earth which we have polluted, and it is our responsibility to save it.
WWF-Why are glaciers and sea ice melting?
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Climate.Nasa.Gov- A degree of concern-why global temperatures matter?