It is easy to speak about an issue that seems worlds away. You can’t always see it or feel it, but it feels explainable and fixable when you do.
“Climate change” was a phrase that was popularized in the 1980s. Decade after decade, a little patch here and there has left this planet looking like a machine that needs to be torn down and built again.
With all of the information gathered about climate change, it feels like the human race is tearing the Earth down, but there is no way to build it back up.
Irreversible damage has been done. The IPCC claims that life on Earth is being pushed beyond their ability to adapt, with 40 percent of the population vulnerable to climate.
Fifteen times more people have died from floods, droughts, and storms within the last ten years. Most of these victims are from vulnerable parts, such as Central America and Africa.
Climate change also triggers heatwaves and fires, causing death and destruction. Furthermore, those affected by wildfires can develop health issues from smoke inhalation.
Rising sea levels are significant in their negative impact. The ocean absorbed 93 percent of the extra energy that greenhouse gasses emitted.
Atmospheric warming leads to the melting of glaciers and ice, which impacts shorelines through coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, and habitat destruction.
The IPCC projects the global mean sea level to increase by 0.40 [0.26–0.55] m for 2081–2100 compared with 1986–2005 for a low emission scenario and by 0.63 [0.45–0.82] m for a high emission scenario.
The acidity of the ocean also increases due to climate change. This makes it difficult for marine life to survive, as it causes them physiological stress and impedes certain organisms physically.
Ecosystems in the ocean are critical because they provide carbon storage, oxygen generation, food, and income generation. Furthermore, all other ecosystems are essential to maintaining the function of life on the planet.
Plants and animals tend to migrate when there are shifting climates. The rate at which this is happening will, in turn, impact the world's biodiversity.
As warming increases, animals can’t move as quickly as the change in the climate. Therefore, this leads to a likelihood of extinction and dying habitats.
Vulnerable communities, who heavily rely on natural resources, are feeling the effects of climate change the most. Many people groups use the ocean and freshwater to feed their families.
Furthermore, businesses and whole industries, such as tourism, rely heavily on natural resources to provide a good quality of life. When sea levels rise, natural disasters occur, and different species migrate elsewhere, people who need the Earth to survive will struggle.
Many of these people live in developing nations. Those with the means and ability to change what has been happening for years did nothing to help them.
Since the human race started it, we have to finish it. Some do not even believe there is hope. There may be a way out of this, but any further delay will mean otherwise.
Sustainable options are present. It is a question of what people are willing to do. It is helpful not to support fast fashion or to reduce your plastic waste, but unfortunately, the issue is on a macro level.
We need to urge policymakers and big corporations to look inward and make decisions that will keep us on this planet a little longer.
Rising temperatures will continue to tip the scale of nature, and there is a chance it will forever be off-balance unless those in power realize the severity of their crimes against Earth.
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Thank you and take care!
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Callie McNorton is a Journalism (Media and Society) student at Georgia State University and a Content Writer at the International Youths Organization for Peace and Sustainability.
Inputs and Edits by Sovena Ngeth.