Climate Change and Why It Matters


In an earlier post this week I discussed briefly the difference between climate and weather. Weather patterns are becoming increasingly more violent in threatening ways. Natural disasters are on the climb from flooding to earthquakes. It is foolish to not believe in the smallest of possibilities that the world is experiencing natural or unnatural climate change. Some people think climate change and global warming are all a hoax, and truthfully so because we do not take a strong enough stance to educate people about these topics. Scientists are still arguing over these questions, so it is not unusual for civilians do not seem concerned yet.

As the global average temperature rises, it poses threats to some of the most delicate ecosystems on the planet. Our oceans are suffering, our rainforests are disappearing, and our oxygen is continuously being polluted with toxins. Buzzwords that are heard on mainstream media about global warming and climate change are words like carbon footprint, emissions, greenhouse gasses, fossil fuels, and renewable energy. While we are making great strides into renewable energy sources, we are lacking experience and knowledge to clean up what messes we have already made. For many years people have powered homes and buildings either partially or completely using solar energy. Wind power has risen in popularity, but hydropower is where the history is. People have used water to create currents of energy for decades but never completely explored the possibility of converting to hydropower as a permanent and total source of energy just like wind and solar.  

Emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and industrial agriculture are now becoming visible. We are seeing a rise in deadly storms, hotter and longer dry season accompanied by freezing and more rigid cold seasons. Emissions become trapped within the protective bubble formed around the planet known as the atmosphere and due to the energy of the sun, these gasses are heating and have no place to escape. This rise in temperatures way up in the atmosphere is causing the global average temperature to rise above average recorded temperatures. Permafrost is one of the more significant losses we have experienced. As the sea ice continues to melt with rising temperatures, it is not able to reflect as much of the sun’s energy, or heat back into space. This is problematic because our ice caps protect Earth from about eighty to ninety percent of the sun’s heat by being able to properly reflect most of that energy back into space.

The melting of the ice and rise in temperatures only just scrapes the surface though. Let’s investigate the depths of the blue oceans. We hardly know a fraction of what dwells below the surface due to funding for science programs allocated to other prioritized programs (such as Space). This leaves us vulnerable to the unknown effects of the rising temperatures across the globe on our oceans as a system. We know that to raise the temperature of all the water of the seas is unbelievably difficult to comprehend. Coral reefs are great, or not so great depending on your approach, to observe in this time of scientific doubt. The planet has experienced rises and falls of temperatures for millions of years which is why coral reefs are such an arguably solid fact of global warming proof. The reefs are dying. There is no hibernation period or a possibility of returning to life. This time, once the coral reef has bleached there is no turning back.

Did you know a huge portion of our underwater friends survive on the thriving ecosystem of plants, algae, and fish that a coral reef provides? Losing a reef could mean the displacement of thousands of creatures. This upset could determine which species will fight to survive and which will disappear alongside the coral. Already we have seen the extinction of several frog species once found in the Amazon. Let’s help avoid the destruction of more precious animals and plant species by doing out parts to take control of our own carbon footprints.