Climate change. We have all heard this phrase at some point over the last few years. The planet is warming up and we have to take action soon. But what is climate change really, and what can we do about it?
Climate change is our planet warming up from the atmosphere trapping the heat radiating from Earth toward space, says NASA. This is because certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping, like carbon dioxide and methane. Many of these gases are released into the atmosphere from natural processes such as respiration and volcano eruptions, but humans have contributed plenty to carbon and methane emissions. Deforestation, land-use changes, and burning fossil fuels are all human activities that can release several tons of emissions.
Climate change has dangerous effects too, and it's already made observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have melted, sea levels have continued to rise, and heat waves have only grown more intense. If the trend of climate change continues as it is now, we could see seriously extreme results. Some of these include severe coastal flooding throughout the country, an increased number of droughts, frequent hurricanes, wildfires, and insect as well as disease outbreaks. Furthermore, according to The Nature Conservancy, we only have ten years to save the planet, a period that has become known as the "Determining Decade." Ten years may seem like plenty of time, but considering the amount of damage on our hands and how much we have to reverse, we have to act now if we want to save our planet in the next ten years.
So what can we do to help stop climate change? You would think that with a problem this big, there’s nothing the average citizen can do. But that’s not true! All of us can do so much to help the fight! You can do something as simple as speak up or something a little more like planting a tree. Use less hot water, drive less, and recycle more. By just doing these small actions, you can save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
Simply being aware of this problem can go very far. Climate change is happening now, and humans have been part of the problem. However, that is only more the reason to be part of the solution. Do your part, because this fight will take all of us!
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “NASA: Climate Change and Global Warming” July 8, 2021, https://climate.nasa.gov/
The Nature Conservancy. “The Determining Decade” May 10, 2020