Climate change has had an everlasting effect on us all. It has been a reoccurring issue over a long period of time and often one that has been neglected or hasn’t been taken seriously. Climate change, like everything that is studied, needs to be done over a period of time. Perhaps certain activities we observe are not due to climate change, but we won’t know without in-depth studies. The United Nations has an intergovernmental organization which looks at the problem of climate change throughout the world. This group has studied and observed that the temperature of the earth has already risen 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit). You may think to yourself, “What’s the problem with it being a little warmer?” It may not seem like much but it can really be devastating.
One of the biggest problems is awareness; not everyone knows what climate change is and does. It is necessary for people to be informed to motivate them to make changes. It is believed that humans have caused climate change by burning fossil fuels and generating excess amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat in the atmosphere which causes a rise in temperature on this planet. Thus, we have created a problem that we still do not know how to fix. The only thing we can do is take some preventative measures to slow the changes down.
The earth is getting warmer and warmer at a faster rate. Because of warmer temperatures the oceans are warmer, and that makes for more moisture in the air. This impacts storm systems and other natural disasters that we cannot prevent, but because of climate change, natural disasters are much worse.
Even places where there is no change in precipitation, if the temperature rises it puts more strain on the water of the area because it evaporates. Higher temperatures usually mean more droughts where the ground is dry and can lead to dangerous forest fires. If we look at the state of California, this last summer they had a wild fire that spread very fast and was extremely difficult to control and put out. You may say that it was started by a neglectful person and that may be true, but the fire spread so far and fast because of the dryness in the air and on the ground.
Did you know that some electric plants use water for cooling in order to generate electricity? Well if the droughts get bad enough there will be less water available for cooling at those plants and it will be difficult to keep up the production. The machines will overheat without cooling, causing them to break down and unable to produce electricity. In 2012 there was a drought that impacted food production. The drought killed many plants that you and I eat regularly and was considered a natural disaster by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This event affected 71% of the United States and 2,245 countries around the globe. That is no joke, and these are real facts.
Droughts can affect us in many ways, especially in areas that traditionally have little water; if that area continues to lose water, eventually life will not be able to be sustained in that area. There are areas in the United States and around the world already feeling these effects.
In many coastal areas and on many islands, water levels have raised and have flooded cities and towns. Some people have already lost their homes and their way of life has dramatically changed for good. People have had to evacuate and move to other places creating a surge in populations known as climate refugees. There have been 24 million people since 2008 that have been moved around because of climate change related disasters. Disasters that have taken peoples families and friends. It is believed that by 2050 143 million people will be affected by climate change and forced to move from their homes. Some will be affected by desert expansion and others by the sea taking more land. This global migration caused by these catastrophic events is also a problem caused by climate control. Not all the people who are forced to leave their homes have places to go and it is a very difficult journey. Countries many times are not ready for such migration because it is unknown when there will be a disaster. This is why climate change is such a serious subject. It is affecting us every day.
So, what can we do? Well, we can put an effort into slowing down climate change. Most likely we cannot stop climate change fully in its tracks, but what we can do is prevent it from getting worse.