What Can We do About Climate Change and Their Effects?

Agostina Martino 2021-11-24

Climate change is THE dilemma of the world nowadays. Are climate change effects evident or silent? What can we do about Climate Crisis and their effects? Is climate change in the United States an issue?

Climate change is a major global challenge without borders, and combating it requires coordinated work by all countries and each and every person in them. Find out here what climate change is and what are climate change effects.

There is a great lack of knowledge about what climate change really is and which climate change effects are being experimented nowadays, either due to excessive information, inaccurate sources or self-interested disinformation, which gives rise to a series of false myths about climate change. I will try to give an objective and, kind of, scientific point of view about what climate change is, what are its causes, its consequences and how it can be fought. In short, how climate change affects us.

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First of all, it is necessary to clarify two concepts that, although closely related, are often mistakenly taken as synonyms: climate change and global warming. There is an important difference: global warming is the cause of climate change. That's how the increase in the planet's temperature is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as a result of human activity, which is causing variations in the climate that would not occur naturally.

The Earth has already warmed and cooled naturally on other occasions, but the truth is that these cycles have always been much slower, requiring millions of years, while now, as a consequence of human activity, we are reaching levels that in other times brought about extinctions in barely two hundred years. That's why we are now talking about climate change effects.

Causes And Consequences Of Climate Change Effects

The main cause of climate change is global warming and has multiple negative consequences on physical, biological and human systems, among other effects.

Causes Of Climate Change

Let's start at the beginning. The greenhouse effect is a natural process that allows the Earth to maintain the conditions necessary to support life: the atmosphere retains part of the Sun's heat; without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the planet would be 18°C below zero.

Our atmosphere is composed of various gases which, in the right proportion, do their job. The problem arises when human activities increase the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the atmosphere retains more heat than necessary, causing the average temperature of the planet to rise and producing what is popularly known as global warming.

Some human activities that accelerate climate change effects:

  • GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS:

Carbon dioxide, Methane, and many other strange gases. Caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation, transportation, heating, industry and building. Also caused by livestock, agriculture (mainly rice cultivation), wastewater treatment and landfills, among others.

  • EXPONENTIAL POPULATION GROWTH:

The number of inhabitants of the planet is growing exponentially. Today there are more than 7.7 billion people and we will continue to grow by at least 2 billion more by 2050. A growing population requires more and more resources, which accelerates the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in all production processes. Not to mention the decrease in resources available for extraction due to growing demand.

  • DESTRUCTION OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS AND DEFORESTATION:

Forests and rainforests are disappearing at breakneck speed. In the last 10 years, no less than 13 million hectares have been destroyed. Forests are natural carbon sinks that through photosynthesis absorb CO₂ and return oxygen to the atmosphere.

  • DESTRUCTION OF MARINE ECOSYSTEMS:

The oceans are also carbon sinks, absorbing up to 50% of the CO₂ generated. In addition to their destruction, the problem is that when they reach their limit, the ocean acidifies and deaths and diseases of marine flora and fauna occur.

When Did Humans Begin To Have An Impact On Climate Change?

Experts agree that the Industrial Revolution was the turning point at which greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere began to skyrocket. It should be remembered that the Industrial Revolution was born of many other small revolutions: agricultural, technological, demographic, means of transport, finance, etc., which gave rise to a new model of production and consumption.

Since then, population growth (in 1750 there were less than 800 million inhabitants on Earth, today there are more than 7.5 billion), an increasingly excessive consumption of resources, the increase in demand and production of energy obtained mainly through fossil fuels... have caused the planet to enter what part of the scientific community has called the Anthropocene: the new geological era caused by the impact of human beings on the Earth.

The main result has been an increase in the global temperature of the planet, which has risen by 1.1 0C since that period, although it is estimated that by the end of this century the thermometer could rise even more, even if the emission reduction commitments set by countries are met. Climate change effects are not an overnight issue or a passing fad.

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Consequences Of Climate Change or Climate Change Effects

How does climate change affect us? This global increase in temperature brings disastrous consequences that endanger the survival of the Earth's flora and fauna, including human beings. Among the climate change effects are the melting of the ice mass at the poles, which in turn causes sea levels to rise, resulting in flooding and threatening coastal shorelines - even small island states are at risk of disappearing.

Climate change also increases the occurrence of more violent weather phenomena, droughts, fires, the death of animal and plant species, the overflowing of rivers and lakes, the emergence of climate refugees and the destruction of livelihoods and economic resources, especially in developing countries.

Some consequences:

  • CHANGES IN ECOSYSTEMS AND DESERTIFICATION:

The variation of living conditions in natural environments causes deaths, diseases and massive migration of species.

  • MELTING OF THE POLES AND SEA LEVEL RISE:

The heat is causing the ice at the poles to melt, rising sea levels and threatening to submerge coastal coasts and small island states under water.

  • OCEAN ACIDIFICATION:

Absorption of too much CO₂ leads to death and disease of fish, algae, corals and other underwater organisms.

  • EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS:

Hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, droughts, floods, rains or snow falls increase their degree of violence due to global warming, causing more deaths, victims, displaced people and material damage.

  • SPECIES EXTINCTION:

Ecosystem change and desertification cause the death of between 10,000 and 50,000 species every year.

  • MASSIVE MIGRATIONS:

This can seem not a thing as a consequence of climate change in the United States, however, the figure of the climate refugee, not yet recognized by the United Nations, is a reality that is estimated to have reached one billion people by 2050.

What to do against Climate Change?

Learn and spread about climate change effects and causes

If you are aware of what climate change might be but would like to know more about it, there might be a couple of Climate Change Books that will help you have a better understanding of how the situation is like these days. Climate Crisis books are available either in digital or printed versions. But why get a printed version when you can save some trees while getting a digital copy? You can read more in Climate Crisis Books: What You Must Read to Know What's happening

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Avoiding single use plastic

Plastic is the gigantic enemy of the planet and a big problem in the fight of climate change in the United States. It harms the environment in many ways that we cannot totally explain. We are all aware of global warming, sadly plastic is one of their causes. Physical impact on marine life like animal death and chemical damage to the environment are also consequences of the massive use of plastic.

In How to use Less Plastic on our Daily Routine, 6 Items to Save the Planet you will learn how to use less plastic in our daily routine. Making little changes in our routine can have a huge impact on the planet.

An easy way to use less plastic is to use more reusable tote bags. Tote bags have become a necessary product for a sustainable lifestyle during the last years as a way of avoiding the effects of climate change in the United States. Retailers started pushing tote bags as early as 2007 to promote sustainability, on the assumption that reusing the same bag can help curb customers’ carbon footprints. Many counties and cities around the world — most notably the US — have even started to charge customers for plastic bags in order to encourage them to bring reusable tote bags as a green alternative and definitely drop the plastic ones.

You can read more Tote Bags, a Green Alternative for a Sustainable Lifestyle

Buying more sustainable

When thinking about consuming and buying you can choose in a more sustainable way. Considering holidays, sustainable gifts become a great issue. Consciousness in the act of giving a present means a true act of kindness in my opinion.

What about you? At Best Sustainable Gifts of 2021: One for Each Type of Sustainable Person you will find the best sustainable gifts of 2021, one for each type of sustainable person.mika-baumeister-ctUIyfOyWsE-unsplashAlthough the fight against climate change may seem like a lost struggle, there is much to be done from our individual and collective place. Climate change effects are palpable and the alarm clock has been ringing for some time now. Have you decided what action you will take to combat climate change in the United States?

Agostina Martino

Fashion and textile designer. Working on sustainability. Entrepreneur, creative and university teacher.

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