Last month, lives were lost, homes were destroyed and thousands were evacuated when Hurricane Sandy took its toll on the East Coast.
Of course this isn’t the first hurricane or natural disaster this nation or planet has faced. And it definitely will not be the last.
Global Warming, or as I prefer, Global Climate Change, is a topic that comes up frequently in all mediums. Many times it’s through misinformed politicians or in reference to an abnormal weather day- like reaching 90°F in November!
Before jumping into Global Warming, let’s distinguish between weather and climate.
Weather is what is happening right now. Climate is data taken over the 30 years establishing seasonal trends, precipitation and temperature patterns.
In other words, weather is used when waking up in the morning and deciding what to wear. Climate is used when deciding what to pack when going on vacation.
What causes the Earth to warm up? The greenhouse effect. Without the greenhouse effect, the Earth would be so cold, that life could not possibly exist. Gases in the atmosphere- carbon dioxide, methane, water, nitrous oxide and ozone- balance together to create the perfect environment for the planet to survive and thrive.
For more than a century, humans made great history and gained great control of the planet. This has taken its toll on Earth. Manipulating the planet has altered this delicate balance between the different greenhouse gasses.
Annual average global temperatures are now on a rise. Although it is only around 1°F, this small increase can cause drastic shifts in climate patterns- thus the two terms, “Global Climate Change” and “Global Warming.
All of these culminate into a shift in rain, wind and migratory patterns. This shift will cause (and causing) a dramatic change in ecosystems
How it Affects Us
First of all, there are going to be more serious weather conditions, like hurricanes, blizzards and droughts. Yes, these events would have happened with or without Global Climate Change. But they will happen more frequently with increased severity.
Rain patterns changing will affect our water resources. This can anticipate droughts in some areas with floods in other areas.
Glaciers and ice caps are melting. This will increase sea levels, and potentially flood and destroy cities along the coastlines.
Food production will be affected. And with more than 7 billion mouths to feed every grain helps (especially if we are expected to reach a worldwide population of 9 billion by 2050!)
Ecosystems, many of which are already fragile, will fall apart and may never return. Our generation is facing the sixth largest mass extinction of all time.
Global Climate Change will affect not only us and our children, but all life on this planet. This column aims to make us more sustainable; to be aware of how we use our resources and to lower our ecological footprint. These daily and long term tips will allow us to leave a footprint that will optimistically make future generations proud.
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