Why should we care?
Are people taking climate change seriously? There is enough scientific evidence to support that climate change is happening and the future looks bleak. The human population is increasing and sea levels are rising, due to the melting of our very important ice caps. Our north and south poles are hugely important in regulating our climate and are vulnerable to the effects of global warming. An increase in the human population brings along with it, sad to say, more destruction. This might sound bleak, but it is the unfortunate truth; humans are a virus to this planet. For example, we have caused mass extinction of numerous different species across the centuries.
Yuval noah harari, author of the book, ‘Sapiens: A brief history of humankind’ said, “mass extinctions akin to the archetypal Australian decimation occurred again and again in the ensuing millennia – whenever people settled another part of the Outer World. In these cases Sapiens guilt is irrefutable. For example, the megafauna of New Zealand – which had weathered the alleged ‘climate change’ of c.45,000 years ago without a scratch – suffered devastating blows immediately after the first humans set foot on the islands. The Maoris, New Zealand’s first Sapiens colonisers, reached the islands about 800 years ago. Within a couple of centuries, the majority of the local megafauna was extinct, along with 60 percent of all bird species.”
“In these cases Sapiens guilt is irrefutable”
This isn’t even half of the destruction we have plagued our beautiful home with. So, as the human race, do we not have an obligation to amend all the cruelty and suffering we have inflicted upon our planet? Do we need to put aside our ego, pride and arrogance for a moment and think about the drastic changes we need to implement now to make positive change?
The WWF have said that the polar regions are most susceptible to the effects of global warming. From the WWF website they have said that, “Average air temperatures in the region have increased by about 5°C over the last 100 years.” In the most recent data, it shows that in the next few decades there will be no sea covered ice in the summer in the north hemisphere. That is terrifying. Terrifying for the animals that inhabit the Arctic and generally for the entire northern hemisphere.
“We need to think of the bigger picture more often. This might just save our planet.”
The Antarctic ice sheet is approximately 14 million sq km and makes up 90% of our fresh water. The WWF have said that this ice sheet influences our climate, so what will happen when the ice sheet completely melts? What happens to our oceans, our atmosphere, our land mass, all the biodiversity… us? The ice sheet is important in reflecting the Sun’s radiation back into space. This stops our planet from heating up too much. This, combined with Homo Sapiens pumping tons of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, cannot lead to a healthy future at all. It is ashame because our planet is incredibly beautiful, yet we cannot come together and realise how destructive we are. Is it really that hard to just stop a moment and realise the momentous chaos we are inflicting on our planet? Not to just stop, however to take action.
As a race, if we are not experiencing the tragedy of climate change ourselves then it simply is not happening, right? This couldn’t be more far from the truth. Just because you can go on for years and years of heavy smoking and not feel any immediate negative effects, does not mean you won’t develop lung cancer in the future. We need to think of the bigger picture more often. This might just save our planet.
Our beautiful, big blue oceans are suffering. Our oceans are natural carbon sinks, which means they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The increase in carbon dioxide and temperature makes our oceans incredibly acidic. This in turn will harm the coral reefs, along with the aquatic biodiversity that resides in this habitat.
According to the WWF, “Oceans are already experiencing large-scale changes at a warming of 1°C, with critical thresholds expected to be reached at 1.5°C and above.”
“Coral reefs are projected to decline by a further 70-90% at 1.5°C. At a warming of 2°C virtually all coral reefs will be lost. It’s not only a tragedy for wildlife: around half a billion people rely on fish from coral reefs as their main source of protein.”
Lastly, the WWF stress the importance of keeping our trees. However, as an ever-increasing population we have a dilemma at our hands. We need more space for more people. As the population increases so does our understanding of medicines. This means, not only are more humans being birthed but people are living much longer. Is this something we also need to take a step back and seriously think about?
Our planet needs trees. Simple. Without trees, then no life. Our magnificent trees need to remain rooted into the ground. Just like the oceans, they are natural carbon sinks which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via the chemical reaction photosynthesis; which in turn produces glucose and oxygen. Yes, oxygen. All living things on this planet, including you, require oxygen for survival. Without our trees, our supply of oxygen drastically decreases.
Deforestation happens for many reasons, such as our need for paper, palm oil, space for growing crops, space for animal agriculture and human housing. By removing trees, not only are we taking away our natural carbon sinks, but we also take away the homes of the wildlife that initially inhabit the forests. What right do we have to destroy their homes and threaten their lives? Again, as Yuval noah harari put it, we are irrefutably guilty.
With all this scientific knowledge at the tips of our fingers, shouldn’t we actually listen to what we have discovered and join the dots to solve the problems we started?