What is climate change? Is it real? Are we really moving towards an earth that will become inhabitable?
By definition, climate change is a change in the usual weather at a place (NASA). This could be a change in how much rain a place usually gets in a year or the usual temperature for a month in that area. On a large scale, climate change could mean an alteration in weather and climate across the planet.
Is the climate of the earth changing? Continuously… there have even been periods when the earth was much hotter than it is now. But during these periods, humans did not exist.
Over the last 100 years, the temperature of the earth has increased by 1 degree Fahrenheit. That may not seem much, but a change of just this much can have large scale impact. This impact extends beyond just changes in temperature (NOAA), affecting ecosystems and communities around the world. Things that we depend upon and value, like water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems and human health- all will be affected.
Drought is an important factor affecting communities; melting of snow on ice caps, change in frequency of rain, floods and problem of water quality are the real issues facing us because of climate change.
Food supply is fully dependent on climate and weather. Although our agriculture has become adaptable, changes like increased temperatures, water stress and weather extremes do cause distress for farmers.
Humans need an ambient range of temperature and specific weather conditions to survive and thrive. If this narrow range is not maintained, our health can start getting affected- and we are seeing this around the world.
Habitats are getting seriously affected by climate change. Habitats are being modified, flowering is changing, egg laying is shifting and homes of many species are getting altering. And we still haven’t spoken about oceans. Oceans absorb around 30% of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. With more carbon dioxide, and more absorption, oceans are becoming acidic and heated. This is seriously affecting marine life and underwater ecosystems.
All these effects of climate change are real, palpable and affect our every day living. So what can be done? What can you do as an individual? Our consumption patterns and how much waste we generate is a key factor that impacts the environment and climate change. Hence modifying our consumption patterns by switching to more sustainable everyday items, organic products and even things like clothes can make a small but significant impact.