It's October here at The University of Maryland, located in College Park, Maryland. However, instead of feeling like a crisp fall day, it's a dreadful July-like afternoon, 81 degrees with a humidity rate of 68%. This isn't the normal fall weather for this region, and it isn't the result of an abnormal heat wave. Instead, it is the result of an issue that encompasses our entire planet, one that we are causing. Climate change isn't just a phrase made up by scientists, it is a phenomenon, and here are five things we all need to know about it.
1. What climate change really is?
By formal definition, climate change is the broad range of changes that are happening to our planet. These changes include global warming, rising sea levels, the acceleration of ice melting, and shifts in plant blooming times.
2. What's causing climate change?
According to scientists climate change is caused by human impact on the greenhouse effect. While the greenhouse effect is a natural occurrence, human actions such as pollution and the burning of fossil fuels intensify the greenhouse effect, causing the earth's surface and atmosphere to become warmer.
3. Who is being impacted by climate change?
For who is being affected, the simple answer is everyone and everything. Polar bears suffer from the melting of ice caps, and the ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef has been all but destroyed, leaving thousands of species devastated. As humans, we are in no way immune to the effects of climate change. Droughts and food shortages have been intensified, and the phenomenon has caused major damage to coastlines.
4. How fast climate change is happening?
Climate change is happening at every minute of every day. On Monday the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that by the year 2030 the planet would reach a crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, which will bring risks of extreme drought, wildfires, floods, and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people.
5. What is being done and what should be done to address climate change?
The United Nations is the most prominent force in the fight for climate action. According to the United Nations' website, the Paris Agreement, which was signed at the United Nations in 2016, was said to have "brought all nations to a common cause to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change." The website also states that the United Nations also plans to hold a Climate Summit in September of 2019 to "bring climate action to the top of the international agenda." Climate change is happening now, so it is important that it is addressed. The earth is home to many species, but it is humans who have caused the earth such harm. It is time to make the issue a priority. Instead of treating this planet like it's worthless and filling it with waste, it's time we made sure this planet isn't wasted.