What are we leaving for the future generations? Are they, and our planet, in safe hands? The harsh reality: We don’t think so.
Global warming is one of the most talked about issues all over the world. It refers to a raise in the earth's average temperature over the last six decades, resulting in drastic climate change. The causes can be classified into two categories: Natural and Human-Influenced.
Variation in solar radiation, violent volcanic eruptions, crustal plates movements, oscillation in oceans and forest fires are some of the natural causes of climate change. But human-influenced causes contribute significantly to global warming, arguably more than natural causes. Too much carbon dioxide from burning fossils, exhaust from vehicles, emission from industries, and mining activities are all major contributors to global warming.
Currently the climate impacts all living species, freshwater reservoirs, oceans, ecosystems and temperature. As the planet gets warmer, species that live in cold places, like ice caps or mountaintops, may find their habitat diminishing and risking survival. The warming planet has potential to fluctuate rainfall patterns, sometimes causing droughts and sometimes flood, reducing ice caps, increasing sea levels, and bringing behavioural changes in plants and animals. Humans, animals and plants have to adapt themselves to this change.
But the good news is, since humans have largely caused global warming, it is in our hands to do something about it. We need to immediately reduce heat-trapping emissions and deforestation.
19 Air Pollution is gripping major cities
Air pollution is the major contributor to global warming. The main factor is the carbon dioxide (and other toxic gases) from vehicle emissions, burning of fossil fuels, gaseous commercial discharge and mining activities, which gets trapped in the atmosphere.
These absorb heat and solar radiation, which should have ideally escaped from the atmosphere, and cause the earth to grow hotter. This is what is known as the greenhouse effect.
Another category of greenhouse gases is chlorofluorocarbons of HFCs, which are capable of trapping solar heat more than carbon dioxide. Air pollution affects global warming directly and the change will be irreversible if it continues to accumulate at this pace.
18 Where Has Our Water Gone?
The most crucial source of a man's life, water! Shortage of drinking water has become a major concern in several cities, nay, countries!
Global Warming is the backbone to the absence of water! Fresh water is needed not only for drinking but also for other purposes like farming, washing, cooking and several other activities.
The melting of polar ice into the sea turns fresh water to salty seawater. When you consider that only 2% of the water available on this earth is fresh and approximately 98% is salty, you can start to understand the seriousness of the situation
17 The World's Ice Is Melting
Glaciers are formed when snow accumulates for multiple decades and transforms into ice. Interestingly, nearly 10% of the earth is covered with glaciers and forms the largest reservoir of fresh water.
In recent past, glaciers have been melting at a faster pace than usual as a result of global warming. The rise in temperature causes contributes to a rise in sea level, which will put people living in lowland areas in danger. It’s heart-wrenching to see polar bears starving, as their main diet of seal on ice is reduced. Penguins are also affected as they need cold water to survive. Glaciers are disappearing at a much faster rate than forming and soon there will be no more glaciers to replace the existing ones.
16 Farmers Are In Stress
Global warming threatens the socio-economic sector of agriculture. The climate change has affected farming practices and crop growth. The frequency of rainfall is decreasing, resulting in extremely dry weather between monsoons. Apart from lack of water, the hot climate is not favourable for growth of crops.
Crop yields are affected in addition to the level of soil fertility, making it difficult for farmers to adapt. In addition to this, the increased levels of carbon dioxide further reduce yields of crops by 3-5%.
Irregular climate patterns may even contribute to droughts and floods which are likely to increase food production variability. The farmers should be assisted to adapt to such changing situations.
15 We're Depleting our Ozone layer
The Ozone is a multi-layer shield that prevents the earth from exposure to dangerous solar radiation. The layer absorbs dangerous ultraviolet rays.
A rise in air pollutants, especially chlorofluorocarbons used in refrigerants, caused by human actions, thins the ozone layer.
The depletion has caused holes in the ozone at various spots, and in the past few decades, the size of the hole has been increased up to 70% in some areas. The depleted layers cannot be replaced.
The harmful solar radiation enters in to the earth’s atmosphere from the holes and other thinner areas. These radiations are responsible for reduction in crop productivity and various skin diseases in humans and animals.
14 Is Our Earth Drying Out?
It is now a known fact that global warming poses threat to the environment and its inhabitants. Research reveals that global warming has direct impact on biological, ecological, and geological systems. Rise in temperatures melts the ice caps, and a lack of ice affects all the species that call that environment home. Seals, penguins and polar bears, just to name a few.
Uptake of CO2 in oceans also affects aquatic animals. Trees are doing their best to help out, as they are able to absorb carbon dioxide, the major source of pollution. Forests are also home to various endangered wildlife. However, deforestation is happening at a rapid pace, which is a threat to wildlife habitat and a means that less CO2 is being absorbed.
13 Felling Trees Take the color out of our world
Deforestation disrupts the water cycle and disturbs the equilibrium of ecosystem. Clearing forests and other vegetation for urbanisation is detrimental to the environment. Trees hold the soil, draw water from it and releases to the atmosphere, which causes rain.
Excessive clearing of trees means less rain, thereby making the weather hotter. Additionally, burning of forests emits carbon dioxide to atmosphere which also contributes to increase in temperature.
Moreover, lack of trees result in low absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.. Planting more trees and preserving tropical forests can halt the dangerous consequences of global warming.
12 We're creating a Blanket Of Industrial Waste
Industrial pollutants are getting collected inside the atmosphere in the form of a thickening blanket, trapping the heat and causing the planet to heat up.
Dumping of different industrial waste products on land damages the nearby environment as this automatically disturbs the level of oxygen. The proportion of oxygen decreases and so the amount of other harmful gases comparatively increases.
This, in turn, facilitates the heating of the environment, leading to global warming. The released industrial waste releases CO2 which is a major cause behind the increase of global warming.
11 Why Are We Burning Our Greatest Defense Mechanism?
Clearing and burning trees adds more to global warming. Urbanisation and need of agricultural land leads to deforestation. When trees are cut, they emit carbon dioxide that they have absorbed from the air.
Deforestation is as serious a contributor as air pollutants. Natural deforestation like forest fires, not only destroy trees, but the smoke also increases the temperature.
Felling of trees also deprives a major population of the world’s plants and animals of its natural habitat. Deforestation can be further prevented by planting trees, cutting down paper usage and recycling items.
10 More extreme weather is on the way - Think 'The Day After Tomorrow'
The lower atmosphere of Earth is getting warmer and moister due to human-emitted greenhouse gases. The situation provides a probability for more storms as well as several severe weather calamities.
Consistent with a theoretical prospect, it is known that heavy rainfall, snowfall events, and heat waves are occurring more often. The constant rise in temperature is assured to cause more natural calamities as the years pass. Moreover, we're already seeing powerful rain, snow storms, and extreme drought periods as examples of natural disruptions due to global warming.
Trends in extreme rainfall usually differ from region to region and the notable changes are perceptible in North America and regions of Europe, particularly in winter.
9 Our Rivers Are Evaporating before our eyes
Climate change has already started to have an impact on freshwater reservoirs. As atmospheric temperature rises, the shallow rivers and lakes also become warmer and displacement of water occurs.
Continuous evaporation and lack of precipitation results in drying up of rivers. This evapotranspiration can cause droughts for longer durations. The droughts will contribute to the expansion of dry areas and the scarcity of water will directly affect habitats of aquatic animals.
Low precipitation will see plantations disappearing. There becomes overuse and over-reliance of limited water reservoirs, which also leads to diminishing quality of water. The situation can be handled by reforestation and reduced use of gases causing global warming.
8 We're over-filling the roads with gas-emitting metal boxes
Vehicles burn fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel in order to run. The burning releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The collection of carbon dioxide, as well as many other greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), makes Earth’s atmosphere warmer, resulting in major modifications to the climate that we are already starting to notice.
Due to burning additional amounts of fossil fuels to keep our cars running, like diesel and gasoline, we've seen an increment of 0.6 degrees Celsius in global temperatures. Vehicle emissions are a contributing factor to global warming. Thankfully, the popularity and reputation of Electric vehicles has started to rise (good job Elon Musk!)
7 Our Earth Is Turning Into Plastic
The production procedure of plastic raises the global emission of CO2 gas. It does not matter much whether your plastic ends up inside the landfill, at the recycling facility, or gets drained into the ocean. The fact is, it still damages plants on land and under the sea.
Moreover, plastic waste also destroys coral reefs, torments wildlife and marine life. Even when you go for the ‘green’ choice and recycle your plastic, facilities often still burn fossil fuels in order to prepare new products. Reuse those shopping bags and stop buying plastic water bottles!
6 The Effects Of Mining Are A Vicious Cycle
Mines are usually located in a certain region for a long time due to the lifecycle of the mine: exploration, design and permitting, production, construction, closure, and post-closure.
Due to this, any significant weather changes caused by global warming can affect the productivity of the mines. Starting from things like stormwater, wastewater treatment, and collection mechanisms, and can impact buildings and infrastructure. By extending the process of mining, it means that more gases are produced and extracted as well. Change in temperate and weather conditions causes change in mining routine, which causes change in temperature - it's a vicious cycle.
It is true that important minerals are extracted through mining, but it also extracts harmful gases leading to global warming.
5 Why are we using so many Dangerous Fertilizers?
Fertilizers typically consist of risky chemicals like ammonia, methane, nitrogen and Carbon dioxide, which lead to the increase in the proportion of greenhouse gases.
It is a fact that greenhouse gases are a major component in increasing the effect of global warming. The plants which are fed fertilizers usually do not live for a very long time as compared to those plants that grow naturally. Therefore, if large plantations are being cultivated with fertilizers, they would survive for less time when compared to the naturally grown plants. Buy organic food to support the elimination of harmful chemicals.
4 Population Growth Is The Biggest Scare
There is no doubt that human population growth is a key contributor to global warming because mankind uses fossil fuels to power our advanced mechanized lifestyles. More people implies more demand for gas, oil, coal and other fuels either mined or drilled from below the surface of Earth. These fuels, when burned, discharge carbon dioxide.
Also, more people implies more waste whether industrial waste, plastic waste, household waste, etc., which contributes to harmful gases when recycled. If all these continue then population size and growth rates will become noteworthy factors in enlarging the effects of global warming.
3 Fish Are Struggling to breath in our oceans of waste
The climate change happening is shrinking the world's fish! Yes, you read that right!
Global warming has reduced the oxygen level in the deep oceans, threatening the marine life all over the planet. The body of fishes usually grows faster than the the other sea creatures and hence they will require more oxygen from the ocean0 (which is getting scarce - remember). From sharks to tuna, to groups of salmon, the marine life is in danger. For humans, it would be like having to breath through a straw. Just Imagine.
In the coming future, our beloved almost-600 ocean species could shrink by 14-25 percent. That's a colossal amount!
2 The rising sea level is an imminent threat
According to the scientists, several places like Miami could be flooded by the end of the century because the Arctic ice is melting and causing is the sea levels to raise. How? Well, that's due to Global Warming!
If this is true, what happens? Think of how many major cities around the world are built next to an ocean. Sydney, New York, Miama, New Orleans, Rio, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Venice! The list goes on. Well, it threatens 40% of the world's population. Just let that sink in.
This sea level rise that will intrude the ground water has potential to ultimately contaminate the fresh water supplies.
1 The effects of acid rain take their toll
This is a form of precipitation with high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. It can also take the form of snow or fog. The burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, erupting volcanoes and other environmental issues can create 'acid rain'.
When acid rain reaches the earth, it sinks into the water system and enters the soil. Acid rain has several ecological effects, especially on the marine life. It makes water acidic and makes it absorb the aluminum that flows into the lakes. This in turn makes water toxic for the aquatic animals. Acid rain damages forests, plants and buildings as well. Nobody on this earth would give a thumbs up to such rain.
References: Wikipedia, Weather