The Effects of Climate Change

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[Photograph (header image) By Paul Nicklen, Nat Geo Image Collection]

As our new topic for Burnet News Club, we are "exploring whose responsibility it is to address climate change, and what young people can do to make a difference.", I quote the main page. I think this is an excellent choice for a theme, as it really does have an impact on everybody's life, and it is important that we address the problem instantly. What we really need to understand is that the Earth does not belong to us; we are just guests, living on it until we leave it for the next generation to come. This means that it is not ours to destroy - don't you agree?

The Effects of Climate Change

  • Temperatures will continue to rise, higher and higher.

Humans can only survive at a certain temperature, and so can the Earth. Earth’s global surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to an analysis by NASA.

The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record. This is not good.

  • There will be more Droughts and Heat Waves

A drought is a natural disaster of below-average precipitation in a given region that can last for months or even years, resulting in water shortages. A heat wave, however, is a period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. As you can see, neither of them, no water and excessively hot weather, are not even the slightest bit pleasent, I'm sure you'll agree. Though, we are now only thinking about how bad this is for ourselves as humans. It effects the Earth as well.

  • Hurricanes, Typhoons and Cyclones will become stronger, more intense, and possibly happen more often

All the of the three above describe the same type of storm, but depending on where you are, and where it happens, people use them differently. Hurricanes are described in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, Cyclones are in the Bay of Bengal and northern Indian Ocean, and Typhoons are in the Western Pacific.

At the moment, Hurricanes are seasonal; from June to November in the Atlantic and central Pacific, when conditions are right.

  • Sea level will rise 1-4 feet (0.3-1m) by 2100 (possibly causing more floods)

According to climate.nasa.gov, "Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record keeping began in 1880." If you compare this to a metre, then it will seem much. But even if it doesn't, this shouldn't be happening - yet it is, because of climate change. This is the result of added water from melting land ice (see next bullet point) and the expansion of seawater as it warms.

  • Arctic is likely to become Ice-Free

This is a very commonly thought about effect of climate change, and people have even dedicated whole documentries to it, but, nevertheless, it is just as important. The famous Arctic Ocean is expected to become ice-free in rapid time - "summer before mid-century". Much of this melting ice contributes to sea-level rise. Not only are we worried about ourselves; after all, it does affect humans, but the polar bears who live and depend on the ice to protect them. Experts warn that many of the bears are having trouble finding food as the sea ice they historically relied on thins and melts earlier.

  • Ecosystems will continue to change

Some species will move faurher north and/or become more successful; others, such as polar bears, won’t be able to adapt and could become extinct, like I mentioned previously, in the last bullet point. This is likely, as already a type of polar bear is endangered - we don't want them to become extinct altogether!

As you can see, there are a whole lot of effects climate chnage has to us, our wildlife, and our Earth.

There are, however, things you can do to help (I'll list a few down here):

  • Use less water

A way of doing this would be to turn the tap off while you are brushing your teeth - or, if you want to take it a step further, brush your teeth when you wash yourself! That way, you are not wasting water; instead, its acting as a 2 in 1!

  • Recycle

An alternative would be to invest in recycling. Recycling is a cost-effective and eco-friendly process that eliminates waste and doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses* into the environment. Be sure to collect your discarded paper, glass, plastic, and electronics to your local recycling center. This will then lead to the items being recycled into something new.

  • Educate Yourself and Others

I think this is possibly one of the most important things to do. This is because the more we educate people (especially youngsters) about the effects of climate change - mainly why I'm doing this post - the more they will realise how grave the Earth is in danger. Then, they should take matters into their own hands, making up eco-friendly ideas like I do.

Ecosia is basically the same as Google - a search engine. The only difference is, every time you search, you plant a tree. This is an example of people taking action against cliamte change. These are people like Greta Thunberg whom I greatly admire. These people care about the Earth, and want to help it. I am using Ecosia right now. All I had to do was install it on my Chrome browser as an extension - and there you have it! I'm helping save the trees and Earth. This is their FAQ if you have any questions: https://ecosia.zendesk.com/hc/en-us

It helps that BNC's subject this term is Climate Change, as all the young students who take part in the club will understand that their future is in their own hands, and they are the only people who can make a change. Adults and older people - it doesn't matter for them; they are going to be on this planet less that you and me are. My headteacher said that in 12 years, all the beetles, bugs and insects will be exctinct, and that this will lead to the whole human race - this generation and the next - gone. Just like that! And for what? For our own carelessness.

Do you really think it's worth it?

Links I used for help (click them):

National Geographic (I've not watched the video fully, but I'm sure it looks interesting)

NASA (focused on climate change) (I have used the same headings, but my own description - unless they are in quote marks, or the odd unnotised bit)

I didn't use this for help, but found quite interesting facts:

What Will Happen If The Planet’s Temperature Rises By Just Half A Degree?

*The heat reflected back by greenhouse gases produces a measurable warming of the Earth’s surface and oceans. This global climate change has wide-ranging effects on the Earth’s ice, oceans, ecosystems, and biodiversity (diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment.), according to thoughtco.com.

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