With reference to the growing echelons of global warming and catastrophic natural events in the realm of climate change, the future of mankind depends upon the associated choices we make on an individual and collective level. The Maldives, Miami (USA), and Osaka (Japan) can disappear from the map of the earth, owing to the rising sea levels till the year 2100; as the real-time threat ranges to such a huge scale and scope, it is of utmost importance to comprehend the climate change alongside its root causes and act accordingly for ensuring a safer and livable planet for the coming generations.
What is Climate Change?
“Climate” denotes the average weather conditions which persist in habitat over many years. Referred to as “crisis of the present times”, “climate change” can be defined as significant variations of average weather conditions over several decades; weather might become drier, wetter, or warmer, causing deadly heatwaves, raging storms, and record floods. The factor distinguishing natural weather variability and climate change is the long-term trend, as far as the vicissitudes in the environment are concerned. It primarily entails global warming and the after-effects of that; when the surface of earth absorbs the heat from the sun or the carbon dioxide and methane i.e., greenhouse gasses – GHGs trap that heat into the earth’s stratosphere, it gets warmer and thus resulting in far-reaching negative implications for all the living organisms.
What causes Climate Change?
The causes can be bifurcated into the following:
Natural causes, including volcanic eruption, sun’s intensity, and variations in naturally occurring greenhouse gases (GHGs) contribute little to the process of climate change. GHGs released as a consequence of human activities i.e., fossil fuels extraction and burning and deforestation, etc. are the major cause of the climate change phenomenon on Earth. More so, the global population has tripled in the last 70 years; it has led to more consumption requirements from animals, who release methane (a GHG) as part of their digestion process, thus further deteriorating the situation. More alarming is the rate at which global warming is increasing, thus enabling multiple manifestations of climate change on planet earth.
Manifestations of Climate Change
Climate change is manifested in multiple dimensions, the most prominent of which is extreme weather conditions; with the surface heating up, the earth’s atmosphere collects, retains, and drops more water. It not only modifies the weather patterns but also makes dry areas dryer and wet areas wetter. It leads to an increased frequency of disasters i.e., storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves. The air quality is also deteriorated due to climate change as smog and soot levels rise, resulting in increased precipitation of allergic pollutants in the atmosphere. As ice sheets melt due to global warming, it is causing an increase in sea levels across the globe thus threatening the existence of low-lying cities and islands. Not only this, oceans are getting warmer and acidic, thus menacing the existence of marine life and the associated ecosystems. These occurrences can have distressing and costly outcomes e.g., risking access to clean drinking water, powering out-of-control wildfires, destructing property, enabling hazardous-material spills, and leading to loss of life.
How can the threat of Climate Change be mitigated?
A multi-faceted approach needs to be adopted to cater to the negative consequences of climate change. The acknowledgment of climate change as the biggest threat to humankind will serve as the prerequisite for the formation of a unified strategy to curb global warming. In addition to the realm shift in the individual consumption patterns, the focus should be directed towards renewable sources of energy to foster sustainable development. 3Rs i.e., reduce, re-use, and recycle should be the building blocks of all the development and social strategies on macro and micro scales.
So where does climate change leave humankind? There’s a lot much talk about how to counter the daunting threats of climate change, even all the nations agreed to curb the rise in global warming via Paris Agreement 2016 but then again, the issue was ignored due to international politics. The expert advice reaches the crux that it is down to all of the people to change the ways of living and shake things up, or climate change is going to do that.