Extinction and Global Warming are actively progressing in their path and we are watching from the side lines, besides of course, contributing to it as well. Global Warming has already started showing devastating effects on livelihood and everything dear, whether it is the landslides in Uttarakhand or the tsunami in Tohoku, Global Warming lets its prevalence be known.
To get to the root of this phenomenon, lets start at the grass root level and understand what this simple yet complex word means and its implications:
Global Warming occurs when the excess heat from the sun’s rays are trapped in the earth’s thickened layer of atmosphere. This thickening of the atmosphere’s layers can be mainly attributed to the release of the greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide, Chlorofluorocarbons and Hydrofluorocarbons. The gases trap and absorb atmospheric heat, leading to an increase in Earth’s surface temperature. To further explain the extent of climate change:
Firstly, Global Warming has triggered off erratic global climate change that is affecting even the most primitive organisms in the ecosystem. It’s a domino effect; burning of fossil fuels leads to increase in the release of greenhouse gases that are trapped in the atmosphere and heat up the surface. Now when we use the term ‘climate change’, we are referring to a wide range of consequences such as the predetermined functioning of animal and plant ranges are being altered with and so is harvest and crop cultivation.
Secondly, sea levels have risen significantly in the past few decades, to be specific from 1880 to 2008, is when the records showed alarming results. Raised sea level changes are subsequent to ice caps and glaciers melting, again as a result of a domino effect of rising temperature. Along with this, the coastal areas is where the brunt of this felt the most. The presence of more salt water on the shores will disrupt the ecosystem, resulting In the vanishing of different kinds of plants, and possibly partial or complete submergence of islands.
Thirdly, forest and wildlife will not be able to thrive well, if at all. Increased temperatures makes forests prone to heat waves, forest fires and heavy downpours. Displacement of fauna is a major concern as well since the possible damage to the fauna threatens their means of shelter, food and natural habitat that has been prevalent for aeons.
And lastly, human lives and livelihood will be affected as well. Health will be severely impacted due to increased growth of pollen-producing ragweed, higher levels of air pollution, and the spread of conditions favourable to pathogens and mosquitoes. Natural disasters are largely influenced by the changing climate conditions and in this case, chances of their occurrences are doubled.
All of this put together paints a very troublesome and disconsolate picture for our future generations as well as our current society. The constant threat to various aspects essential to sustain and maintain a society such as human health, agriculture and food security, water supply, transportation, energy, ecosystems – is looming over our heads and needs to be overcome. To put this into perspective, we can examine the on-going civil war in Syria which can be majorly attributed to the “multi-year” drought that persisted from 2006 till 2010. The turbulent climate condition forced vulnerable Syrian citizens to migrate from rural areas to urban areas as well as toppled a micro-finance network that was a source of income. The accumulation of various problems stemming from a natural disaster lead to a much bigger and devastating issue: violence and conflict among citizens of Syria.
Therefore, it is heartbreakingly evident that nature has a significant impact on the lives of every organism around it.
Now that we have understood the consequences as well as causes of a global issue, lets talk about some ways to combat it:
The foremost and crucial step here is recognition. Recognising the fact that a problem such as ‘climate change’ exists and is affecting millions of lives each second will be a major development in itself as there are communities and groups of people that still believe it to be a hoax and turn a blind eye towards its consequences.
After addressing this issue, there are various ways to combat global warming such as:
- Drive fuel-efficient vehicles
- Minimise your carbon profile through carbon offset
- Power your houses with renewable energy
- Plant more trees
- Help in reduction of burning of fossils
- Invest in energy efficient appliances, and so on.
We, as a society, will have to start at the most basic yet fundamental unit i.e., with the individual. Each person should be well informed and instilled with the incentive to make a difference, no matter how big or small it might be.