Climate Change: Causes and Effects on Everyone

Climate Change Causes and What We Can Do

What is Climate Change?

The Earth’s climate has been getting warmer in the past two centuries, as a callously ignored side-effect of human progress. Climate scientists predict the planet is on the way to becoming hostile and unlivable in the next few decades if the current trends continue. Unfortunately, humans have played a large and difficult-to-reverse contribution to the climate change by burning fossil fuels, deforestation and by our general ignorance towards the balance of life on earth. And despite the growing awareness, the measures that have been taken by the governments, industries and the public are nowhere close to sufficient.

What are the Causes of Climate Change?

In summary, climate change has been caused by overenthusiastic human industrial progress and over-consumption, and the related emission of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. The presence of an excess of these gases in the atmosphere traps the heat of the sun and that is slowly cooking the planet. This effect of the heat getting trapped in the atmosphere is called the Greenhouse effect.

The greenhouse effect, which also contributes towards global warming, is when heat that is radiated from the Earth is trapped by the atmosphere. This increases when there is a higher concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases are released in the atmosphere as humans burn more and more fossil fuel for their factories, their power and their transportation. The Earth’s surface generally reflects and radiates back a large amount of Sun’s heat into space. But if there is a higher amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the heat gets trapped in the atmosphere itself. As the trapped heat is not allowed to radiate into space, it increases the temperature on Earth. This causes a tonne of damage, explained in the next section. But first, let’s look at some of the common greenhouse gases

1) Water Vapour

Throughout hundreds of millions of years, water vapour in the atmosphere has been responsible for the climate and weather cycles on earth.

2) Carbon Dioxide

The major source of the carbon-dioxide increase in the atmosphere is the burning of trees and fossil fuels. This increases the concentration of CO2 in the air, contributing to the greenhouse effect and many chemicals like CO2 affects the environment and human health.

3) Nitrous Oxide

This is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas that is derived from the use of fertilizers, biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion.

Other contributing factors to climate change are

  • Excessive usage of CFCs (Chloro-fluoro-carbons) which are also under the category of greenhouse gases in refrigerators, fire extinguishers, and propellants.
  • Deforestation
  • Industry and vehicular pollution

What are the Effects of Climate Change?

There are numerous consequences when it comes to climate change. These consequences are only said to intensify in the years to come. Noticeable effects will include

1) Melting of Glaciers

Melting Glaciers Due to Climate Change

Since climate changes lead to global warming which increases the temperature of the Earth, glaciers, as well as polar ice caps, are said to melt. Thus, warm water expands and will eventually cause a rise in the sea level. This, in turn, will lead to flooding in areas near the coast.

2) Temperamental Rainfall

Because of the sudden increase and decrease in temperatures, heavy rain can be expected. This will lead to floods as well. In other regions, incessant snowfall may also occur.

3) Loss of Life

The extreme temperatures both heat and cold will lead to loss of human life. Heat-strokes and freezing to death is a strong possibility. Apart from that, people living in areas that are affected by floods also have the probability of contracting water-borne illnesses.

4) Extinction of Flora and Fauna

Neem Flower

The sudden temperature fluctuations will make it impossible for flora and fauna across the globe to cope and fight for survival. Many plant and animal species will have to face the risk of extinction if temperatures continue to rise rapidly.

5) Economic Damage

When there is a threat to property and human health, preventive measures have to be taken to minimize the damage. However, doing this is an expensive affair as industries such as tourism, agriculture, and forestry will be severely affected.

What are the Steps to Prevent Climate Change?

In a scenario where the planet needs you, it is your responsibility and duty to prevent the effects of climate change and global warming. Here are some ways you can do that

1) Choose Renewable Sources of Energy

Fossil fuels and its combustion contributes to large amounts of Carbon Dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Thus, opt for renewable sources of energy such as solar energy, wind energy, and hydro energy if and when possible.

2) Recycle Your Wastes

Image of Plastic Dump site

Garbage that is collected in landfills produces methane which is another greenhouse gas. Thus, segregate your wastes as much as possible and try to recycle those items that you can reuse again. Say NO to plastic and glass items as they are very hard to recycle and replace plastic with eco-friendly items.

3) Conserve Energy

The simplest step that you can take towards ensuring that Earth is a sustainable planet is to conserve energy in whatever small way you can. This may be by simply turning off lights and fans when not in use, not wasting water and using LEDs instead of light bulbs.

Let’s join our hands together and work towards fighting climate change, global warming, and all its effects!

Also read: Plastic Bags: A Short & Suffocating History


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