Climate change: what is it?
Diving into the issues of climate change and who it affects the most
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Taking care of our earth is something we get taught from a young age. Everyone first learns the three r’s: reuse,reduce, and recycle. We are told don’t litter. Donate old clothes. Throw bottles in the special green basket. And as we grow up we learn more about the world and the state its environment is in. But what’s really happening with our sacred earth and who is it most affecting?
One of the biggest changes that has affected the earth is climate change. Because of it, ice caps are melting, droughts are taking over areas, and water is becoming more scarce. The theory of climate change was introduced in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius. However it did not become such a huge and political issue until the 1990s, almost a decade later. Climate change, also known as global warming, occurs when air pollutants and greenhouse gases absorb sunlight, a form of solar radiation. Instead of the sunlight bouncing back to space, it gets trapped in the atmosphere. This makes the earth much hotter which has a detrimental effect on the climate.
Climate change continues to be a big issues that everyone across the globe has to deal with. And unless we try work against it, it’s going to exponentially worsen. NASA states that 2016 was the warmest year ever on the planet, surpassing 2015 and 2014. January 2017 was the third warmest January in 137 years. It was 0.92 degrees Celsius more than any mean of January from 1951 to 1980.
President Donald Trump does not believe that climate change is real, regardless of the many studies that have proven it. Lydia Kraiger, a senior and current AP Environmental Science student, said “It is a problem [that Trump does not believe that climate change exists] because he has a lot of power now and if he suddenly decides that this isn’t a problem when it clearly is. Look at all the data. Look at all the things happening in the world. Look at all the endangered species and look at them and then tell me climate change isn’t real.”
Fossil fuels contribute to air pollution. Because of this, there are more hurricanes, droughts, and other severe weather. Strong hurricanes can be extremely dangerous by tearing down and flooding buildings. Droughts are common in drier areas of the world such as the southwest of America. Although some of America is being hit by climate change, other parts of the world are even worse. The Global Climate Index( CRI) analyzes the impact of severe weather on countries based on the Munich ReNatCat Service. The lower the score, the worse. In 2014, Serbia ranks as the worst with a CRI score of 8.17 and with a death toll of 59. Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Philippines are other countries that are affected.
People in developing countries and poorer areas are the most vulnerable to climate change. They have a hard time adapting to the climate change because of their limited resources. They don’t have enough money to buy outsourced water, extra food, and a good living conditions. Most people affected by poverty also live in more rural areas which is greatly affected by climate change. The countries with the worst CRI are all developing countries. The people who live in rural areas rely on their surrounding environment for most of their food sources and water. They don’t have a lot of access to packaged foods and bottled water.
While rural people are greatly affected by climate change, people in urban areas are also affected. Since they’re living in large cities, there is more pollution created. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 80% of urban areas have levels of air pollutions higher than recommend for health reasons. And for poorer countries it’s 98%. That affects the people living in the area. A great example of this is some people in East Asian countries, such as Japan, wear masks that covers their mouth for so they aren’t affected by the air pollution.
Although it may seem impossible to restore the earth from climate change, there is still hope. One of the most important ways you can help is spread the message of what is happening, because many people don’t know the damage. Kraiger agrees saying “I think that people should not litter and people should just be like respectable human beings a-it’s not helping anyone and it’s hurting the earth.” If it is possible, invest on renewable sources instead of devices that creates fossil fuels. Trying to not create much waste by using everything helps also. Every person does make a difference in changing our world for the better.