Climate Change elizabeth schuetz

What can be done to mitigate climate change?

It is very clear that humans play a big part in climate change. There are definitely ways for people to slow it down and/or end it completely. Individuals can contribute by reducing their energy usage. This can be done by things as simple as changing lightbulbs, setting a thermostat, recycling, using water efficiently, or purchasing a more fuel efficient car. Another thing that can be done is reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. The article 10 Solutions for Climate Change, states, “Transportation is the second leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. (burning a single gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of CO2).” Because transportation is the second leading cause, it is very beneficial to the environment if people buy cars that are better for the environment, or even better- move closer to their work. Moving closer to work would dramatically help, especially if the person could begin to walk, bike, or ride the bus. Another statement this article made was, “Believe it or not, U.S. citizens spend more money on electricity to power devices when off than when on. Televisions, stereo equipment, computers, battery chargers and a host of other gadgets and appliances consume more energy when seemingly switched off, so unplug them instead.” This is another example of how an individual can help prevent global warming. If everyone could just simply unplug devices using electricity when they’re not being used, this would begin a huge step towards a beneficial change to the earth. Stopping climate change isn’t only affecting the people, but the economy as well.

What does climate change do to the economy?

Global warming has a big influence on the economy today. In the article, Global Warming Could Be More Devastating for the Economy Than We Thought, “The study finds that if we continue on a business-as-usual path of high fossil fuel consumption and carbon pollution, 77% of countries will be poorer in 2100 than they would be in a world in which we curb global warming. Some countries (5–43% of the world’s nations) might even be poorer in 2100 than they are today as a result.” The global economy has a serious threat from climate change if humans don't become more efficient. A country that is already poor, such as Africa, could be at an even higher risk of this. The same article stated from earlier says, “This reinforces the unfortunate reality that poorer countries, which contribute the least to the problem, are the most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.” The countries who barely contribute to the problem of climate change will be the one’s to suffer the most which is hardly fair. Humans need to fix this problem as soon as possible. Not only can it affect our economy, but global health as well.

What does climate change do to global health?

Climate change can cause extreme weather such as, hurricanes, tornados, heavy rains, bad air quality, heatwaves, etc. This is a huge threat to human health. These natural disasters or extreme weather cases can cause the spread of certain diseases to increase, drinking water to become unsafe, or even deaths. One extreme weather case in the past was Hurricane Katrina. As said in an article from United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating hurricanes in the United States, responsible for an estimated 971 to 1,300 deaths.” Extreme weather will become a very serious problem because it will be very hard to tell when it will occur. Another reason climate change will harm global health is because “Climate change can affect human health in two main ways: first, by changing the severity or frequency of health problems that are already affected by climate or weather factors; and second, by creating unprecedented or unanticipated health problems or health threats in places or times of the year where they have not previously occurred”, as stated in an article from United States Environmental Protection Agency. If the Earth continues to warm up, the temperatures will cause different diseases during different seasons that we aren’t used to. It will be very unpredictable, causing more people to be prone to illnesses. Along with affecting global health, climate change also affects habitats.

an image showing air pollution
air pollution in China

How does climate change affect habitats?

The rising temperatures due to global warming will greatly affect the habitats and species that we know today. If the temperatures don’t stop rising, there could be many species going extinct. In an article from GreenPeace.org, states, “Some studies have indicated that with a mid-range temperature rise of 1.8-2° C (3.2-3.6°F), a million species would be threatened with extinction over the next fifty years. This can only be avoided by rapid emissions reductions in the next few decades. There is still time to save many species, but it is fast running out. If temperatures go even higher, more species will be lost.” In order to save the species from extinction, the world needs to slow down and prevent the emissions and try to slow down the temperature increase. One habitat being affected are the civilizations that live close to sea level. The hot temperatures are causing the oceans to rise from the melting of ice and this could wipe out entire island civilizations, or any civilization closer to sea level. A lot of habitats are being affected by this temperature increase, but especially the arctic sea ice. If the arctic sea ice all melts, the polar bears will be gone too, and any other species that lives within. One other example of a habitat being ruined by climate change is our coral reefs. In the article, Climate Change Causes Habitat Loss and Species Extinction, it says, “in 2002, the reef experienced its worst-ever case of coral bleaching, with over 60% of the reef affected. Unless projected levels of climate change are slowed, much of the reef will be dead in decades. Deprived of their living homes, hundreds of species relying on the reef will also die out.” The article is talking about the world's largest reef, the Great Barrier Reef. Over half of the reef was affected by coral bleaching, which is when rising ocean temperatures cause the coral to expel their “food” (algae) and turn white. It kills the coral reefs. If climate change isn’t stopped, the future of the earth could be much less lively and colorful.

a polar bear on a melting ice cap
walruses laying on melting ice, with nowhere to go
the dying Great Barrier Reef

What does the future look like?

In the near future, the warming of the earth will directly affect many people in many different ways. According to NASA Earth Observatory, “Hardest hit will be those living in low-lying coastal areas, and residents of poorer countries who do not have the resources to adapt to changes in temperature extremes and water resources.” The people who will be most at risk for being affected are the people who don't have the resources to adapt. The increased flooding from climate change will wipe out property and possibly life. “Hotter summers and more frequent fires will lead to more cases of heat stroke and deaths, and to higher levels of near-surface ozone and smoke, which would cause more ‘code red’ air quality days” (NASA Earth Observatory). A ‘code red’ air quality day is the air is unhealthy, many people may experience health effects. There are many other risks and effects of global warming. The people in today’s society are the one’s creating this climate change, so the people need to be the one’s to put an end to it.

graphs showing air quality
polluted air
a protest against fracking

Glossary

Emission: the product or discharge of something

Efficient: achieving the best/fastest productivity with no wasted effort

Threat: a statement of an intention of harm

Heatwave: a long lasting wave of high temperatures

Adapt: to change to become comfortable with surroundings

Extinction: when all of a certain species dies

Credits:

Created with images by Tony Webster - "Solve Global Warming Now" • ItzaFineDay - "Financing Climate Change" • Possible Health - "Tante Health Post Delivery Room" • USFWS Endangered Species - "Threatened polar bear (Ursus maritimus)" • Monado - "LOLbear-global-warming-nogo" • Christopher.Michel - "Walrus" • torbakhopper - "STOP global warming : san francisco (2013)" • NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "U.S. Air Quality Improvement - Philadelphia" • TryJimmy - "smoke white wood" • greensefa - "Ban Fracking and shale gas in Europe before it is too late!" • PeteLinforth - "global warming ecology nature"

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