March 11, 2019
What’s the Deal with Climate Change?
CloudsSource: Clouds 06 | Penelope Peru Photography P³
Climate change is happening all around the globe, right before our very eyes, whether you believe it’s all just a hoax or not. It is the devil’s advocate of natural disasters, as well as unstable and unpredictable weather patterns. Experts are referring to it as one of the greatest threats to humanity, even though we practically put ourselves in this position.
A Bit of Context…
Before wrapping our heads around climate change, it’s important to understand the difference between weather and climate.
Weather is the day-to-day changes we can observe simply out of our window. It is the temperature and precipitation, which are subject to change and variability throughout the entire day.
Climate is the weather pattern of an area over a long period of time.
For example: areas closer to the equator have a warmer climate (more sun, higher temperatures, no snow, etc…) than areas further away from the equator, such as Canada.
When we’re discussing climate change or global warming, we are looking at the noticeable (and often detrimental) changes in climate in comparison to previous years and decades.
Lincoln in the RainSource: Lincoln in the Rain | Penelope Peru Photography P³
When Did we Discover Climate Change?
Although it feels like the environmental movement is just now gaining traction in the mainstream, scientists caught humans red handed for increasing the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere around the 1960s, according to NASA.
What’s Causing Climate Change?
Nuclear Cooling TowersSource: Cooling Towers | Penelope Peru Photography P³
Greenhouse gas emissions are the leading cause of climate change, according to NASA.
By 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was 95-percent certain human-emitted greenhouse gases were responsible for more than half of the rise in temperature since 1951.
However, there are a few other factors that contribute to the change, as well.
Changes in the Earth’s orbit, volcanoes, and the sun also influence the global temperature of our planet, according to The Committee on Climate Change.
Historically, the Earth has also gone through natural warming and cooling cycles, resulting in ice ages as well as interglacial periods. While we can attribute a portion of climate change to Earth’s natural cycles, the rises in the global temperature are far above the natural cycles of the last 800,000 years.
How Can we Change Climate Change?
Unfortunately, many effects of climate change are irreversible. Even if carbon dioxide emission were to completely cease, the environment would not fully recover for well over 1,000 years, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
Basically? We’re fucked.
While a substantial amount of damage has already been done, that doesn’t mean we should give up on trying to prevent further devastation. An article released in the Global Environmental Change highlights how we can cope with climate change by changing our policies around natural resources and infrastructures.
How dead is the Great Barrier Reef?Source: How dead is the Great Barrier Reef? | Vox
Although the rise in global temperature has already affected the Great Barrier Reef, the amazon rainforests, arctic glaciers, and our sea-levels, former president of the United States Barack Obama optimistically put forth that he believes his work towards a greener America is a trend that will continue long after his term.
In the article, Obama demonstrates how the economic benefits alone have encouraged companies across the US to join the global race for clean energy.
America is a powerhouse society. If We the People strive for an ecologically friendly land of the brave and home of the free, other countries will follow in our footsteps.
Tide crashing on the shoreSource: [FRAMES] Waves Stop Motion 04 | Penelope Peru Photography P³
Little Steps Towards a Larger Movement
Lily PadsSource: Lily Pads | Penelope Peru Photography P³
The fate of the environment is in our hands – from our governments to our manufacturers to our very own humble abodes – it is up to us to make little steps towards the larger environmental movement.
There are many very minor adjustments you can make to your daily routine to reduce your ecological footprint, including:
- Recycling whenever possible
- Reduce your plastic usage
- Opt for reusable shopping bags and containers
- Switching to energy efficient light bulbs (not only will these save the environment, but they will save you a few bucks)
- Turning off or unplugging devices while you’re not using them
- Only turning the faucet on to rinse your teeth after brushing, instead of letting it run while you’re brushing
- Take shorter showers
- Only run the dishwasher or laundry machine when there is a full load
- Eat less meat
- Insulate your home to get the most out of your heating or cooling system
- Carpool, bike, skateboard, walk, or take public transportation over driving whenever possible
- Opt for environmentally friendly products whenever possible
- Opt for paperless billing
- Reduce waste as much as possible (for example, donating food before it expires or reusing expired food as compost)
- Pay tribute to mother nature with a little gardening
You may feel the miniscule amount of additional effort is futile in the face of climate change, but imagine if everyone you knew took these 15 little steps towards the larger movement.
Now imagine that on a global scale.
Tumalo FallsSource: [FRAMES] Splashin’ Passion | Penelope Peru Photography P³
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a laborious task and flat out naive to believe everyone is willing to participate, especially when a handful of the population so vehemently deny the legitimacy of the issue.
That’s why reducing our environmental impact, as a species, begins with you. Yes, you. We have to start small. As individuals, it is our duty to our planet to do whatever we can in our own homes to go green.
Word of mouth is incredibly strong. As we present the discussion of climate change at our dinner tables, they spread to our schools, townships, local government, and eventually, our national government. As nations begin to prioritize the environment, others will follow suit.
In essence, the survival of our Earth is gambling on the domino effect.
Hopefully the odds will be in our favor.
FoliageSource: Foliage 35 | Penelope Peru Photography P³
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