What Causes Global Warming?
There are a number of ways in which humans have accelerated global warming. First, through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased by over a third since the 19th century.
Methane, which absorbs the sun’s heat, is also a great contributor to global warming. Primarily caused by the decomposition of waste and waste products, methane’s effects on the atmosphere are severe. It’s a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas, but the management of livestock and fertilization of large crops has increased its presence in the atmosphere.
There are other byproducts of human consumption which are causing global warming. Deforestation and land use changes, the burning of trash and the propellants we use in our products all contribute. Humans, through our demands for technology, quick travel and convenient food, are slowly warming our earth at a terrifying rate.
What Is the Impact of Climate Change?
Global warming and climate change doesn’t just mean warmer winters. In fact, the crisis will have a large-scale impact on the earth’s geography and her life.
As a result of polar ice melting, the sea level will rise. This is particularly alarming; some nations will literally disappear, and over one tenth of the world’s population will be flooded and displaced. Storms will be more severe and rainfall will increase. Hurricanes and typhoons will increase in intensity, the result of which will be devastating to human life.
The flooding of lowlands in concert with warmer temperatures will facilitate the spread of disease such as malaria and West Nile. Fresh water will become more scarce, which will impact industry but also human health. Hotter temperatures will result in more frequent fires.
Earth’s animals will be impacted as well. A rise in ocean temperatures will mean a changed ecosystem for marine life, causing disastrous effects on the fishing industry and human food sources. Warmer global temperatures will cause a shift in agriculture – plants will require more water to adapt to a longer growing season, while both plants and pollinators will slowly migrate toward the cooler poles. In short, equatorial life may not be able to adapt quickly enough survive an increase in temperature. Plants, animals and humans will begin to die.
Climate Change: Is it Too Late?
In 2006, former Vice President Al Gore released a documentary titled “An Inconvenient Truth.” In this documentary, he predicted that within a decade, the effects of climate change would be too far reaching to reverse.
So is it true? Have we done more damage to our planet than we can possibly repair? Not entirely. Steps taken by industries and governments, as well as individuals, over the past decade have certainly helped to slow down global warming and the impending climate change.
Have you ever seen photographs of abandoned buildings? Some have thick foliage growing the walls. Others may have trees growing through the very foundation. Of still others, nothing may remain but a chimney. In the absence of human destruction, and left to her own devices, the earth would certainly reclaim herself.
But as long as humans continue to demand more than the planet can provide, climate change will be imminent and global warming inevitable. It’s not too late to begin to reverse global warming, but it must begin today, and we must all be actively seeking to do so. The future of our planet and the future of humankind depends on it.