The level of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is rising at the fastest rate ever recorded1. This is bad news for everyone.
This rise is responsible for what we call Climate Change, which refers to a long-term change in weather patterns.
Climate Change is something that is negatively affecting both humans and animals globally in terms of extreme weather conditions damaging our environment.
It is widely believed that these changes are a result of human behavior, primarily the industrial revolution. However, it is also thought that we may be able to prevent further damage if we act quickly, in a big way.
These high levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere affect the environment in multiple ways. The most prevalent of these disturbances is the rise in temperature which is about 1.1? (2 F) since the late 19th Century2. This is why the issue is sometimes referred to as Global Warming. This process of abnormal heating has resulted in ice sheets melting and sea levels rising meaning that certain species homes are simply disappearing.
The increased instances of extreme weather such as flooding and high winds are putting so many more lives at risk through loss of resources or means of survival.
These excess emissions are also affecting the environment in other ways, for example, the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the more is absorbed into the oceans. This is increasing by about 1.8 billion tonnes (2 billion US tons) per year.4
There are two approaches to reducing levels of carbon in the atmosphere to stop the rapid heating of the earth. The first is to reduce the number of carbon emissions that we are releasing by burning fewer fossil fuels. This can be done by using cleaner forms of energy produced through the earth’s natural sources such as the sun and wind. Organisations are campaigning globally to encourage countries to commit to these initiatives throughout the industry. We can also contribute at a local level by supporting the building of wind farms in our communities and the installation of solar panels on our homes.
The other way to tackle this crisis is to campaign to reduce deforestation. When trees are cut down on a large scale in places like the rainforest, it not only destroys habitats but takes away the best way we have of storing carbon and preventing it from being released into the atmosphere. The practice of deforestation itself also contributes massively to emissions as it uses fossil fuels for burning or logging, exacerbating the problem.
These campaigns can be used to put pressure on big corporations to change their habits and governments to change laws which could one day result in us literally saving the planet.
- C. L. Sabine et.al., “The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2,” Science vol. 305 (16 July 2004), 367-371