Yes, Global Climate Change Is Still A Serious Problem

Yes, Global Climate Change Is Still A Serious Problem

The rate at which global climate change has affected the Earth has accelerated instead of slowing down.

17
views

Climate change has been a highly debated topic for decades. Some people believe that humans are destroying the Earth's balance, while some believe that the Earth's climate has changed throughout the billions of years since it's been created. That is true, the Earth has had major climate changes throughout history between heat waves and ice ages.

However, the mounting evidence is pointing towards the fact that human actions are slowly destroying the climate and delicate ecosystems modern civilization relies on.

The planet's surface temperature has risen 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. This is due to an increase in greenhouse gases that trap the heat instead of letting it escape. The biggest reason for this increase is CO2, which has increased 90% since 1970. 65% of all greenhouse gases emitted is CO2, as it is caused by burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and degradation of soils. Ice caps and glaciers melting and sea temperature increase are also proof of the rising temperature all around the globe. Most of the warming has happened in the past 35 years, with the 10 warmest years happening since 1998 and the four warmest since 2014.

The planet's surface isn't the only thing increasing in temperature- the top 700 m of the ocean has shown more than a .4 degree increase in temperature since 1969. This has triggered a catastrophic event in coral reefs known as coral bleaching. This happens when the coral get stressed and eject the symbiotic algae, which slows coral growth, makes them susceptible to disease, and can even lead to a mass coral reef die-off. Another organism affected by the temperature increase is krill, which is an important link at the bottom of the food chain. Krill reproduce in smaller numbers in warmer temperatures which can cause food shortages higher in the food chain.

Shrinking ice sheets and glacial retreats are happening everywhere around the world. Between 1993 and 2016, Greenland lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year while Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice. The melting of ice sheets has caused a rise in the average sea height, along with thermal expansion of water. As water heats up, it expands, which attributes for half of the rise in sea level. Many people predict that the surface and seas will continue to increase in temperatures, leading to the flooding of hundreds of coastal cities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes says to expect a rise between 10 to 30 inches by 2100, which is enough to seriously affect many coastal cities along the East Coast. Another analysis by NASA predicts a 26-inch rise by the end of the century.

Climate change is a very real threat that many people continue to dismiss. Trump is attempting to pass many detrimental laws that can and will increase the rate at which global climate change is occurring. Everybody can do their part in decreasing the rate by doing their best to decrease their use of greenhouse gases. While the damage done cannot be reversed in our lifetime, we can all help decrease our harm to the Earth and do less to contribute to the effect that is harming our home.

Popular Right Now

Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?

23085
views

When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

Cover Image Credit:


Vinicius Amano

@viniciusamano

FollowVinicius Amano

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Bill Nye’s Climate Change Video Won't Spark Our Current Politicians Into Action

He knows we aren't 12 anymore, and he's calling us out on it.

23
views

Recently, our favorite scientist Bill Nye appeared on John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight." In the segment discussing the proposed Green New Deal, Bill Nye appears, drops a few 'F-bombs," and literally sets the world on fire. His blunt, explicit point was that climate change is a serious topic, and politicians need to stop making financial excuses.

Growing up, Bill Nye was the guy on the huge, dinosaur TVs that teachers wheeled into class. We got to watch TV, and teachers got to teach us something. This video not only gave me a good laugh, but it made me realize that Bill Nye was always talking about things that mattered. A few years later, his frustration over the inadequate response of the American government was relatable and raw.

However, it was only relatable for someone like me: a kid born in the year 2000, raised in the Obama administration, and looking at a possible future for my grandkids on Mars. This generation gap is seen in Congress, and specifically the Green New Deal mentioned on "Last Week Tonight." John Oliver details the efforts of freshman Congress-person Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in enacting the Green New Deal, which would create legislation for straightforward challenges to climate change. She criticized 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Biden for his plans for a "middle ground approach" to climate change. She stated that a middle ground approach is a sign of continuous underestimation of climate change and that Democrats should not have to compromise with Republicans on this issue.

This bridge between younger and older, established Democrats is becoming more and more apparent in the discussion surrounding the future of our planet. Would Bill Nye's video change the mind of someone like Joe Biden? Perhaps. As a person of great reputation, Bill Nye's experience and warning could bring about a more adamant side in lenient Democrats.

But would this video change the minds that need to be desperately changed? People who have argued that the costs of the policies would be too detrimental to our economy? Quite frankly, I doubt it. No one's mind has ever been changed by being called names, or by being shamed by a well-known TV personality. The truly sad part is that a well-informed, detailed video by Bill Nye would not work either. It would just fly over people's heads.

If we, as a society, want real change, we have to change the people in office.

We have to consistently show up at every election, and make noise over who we want. Slowly but surely, this is being done. Ocasio-Cortez is the best example. Established politicians have vested interests and alliances with companies and other politicians. What we need are outsiders, not insiders who have gotten comfortable. Outsiders bring their discomfort with them and shock our government into facing reality.

Climate change is not going to be tackled by name-calling, nor will it be tackled by PSAs and informative documentaries. The information is already out there. Climate change is only going to be tackled if we demand people who will fight for it as if it's their last breath because that's what we're approaching if we don't do something soon.

Related Content

Facebook Comments