The biggest crisis we are going through right now is the undermining and flat out denying of global climate change and global warming. A consensus shift in the mindset of people, consequence of the rise of right-wing politics in the west has left us in a comprising position with our ecosystem today. For a majority, this issue has become a partisan political issue with their views backed up by their elected representatives.
In the last 50 years, the average temperature of the earth has risen at a faster rate than any other time in recorded history. Earth has cooled down and heated up a number of times throughout its long history, due to reasons ranging from subtle shifts in the orbit, changes in the atmosphere or surface to even changes in the sun’s energy, but the current climate warming is occurring much more rapidly than the other past events. Before the industrial revolution the climate of the earth changed due to natural causes and although these natural causes are still into play today, they occur too slowly or their influence is too minimal to explain the rapid increase in earths overall temperature. The consumption of greenhouses gases and fossil fuels has reached an astronomical value today because of which the earth’s surface temperature is predicted to rise by 2-5 degree Celsius by the end of the 20th century. This rise is inevitable regardless if we slow down on our fossil fuel and greenhouse consumption in the present today as the earth has still not been accustomed to the environmental changes which have taken place until now.
The impact of global warming is far ranging and goes way beyond increasing temperatures. It causes the melting of ice caps, leads to higher coastal erosion, alters rainfall patterns, lengthens the growing season in several areas as well as increases the range of some infectious diseases, with many of these already occurring in the present. Global warming can also be linked to extreme weather changes. Scientists agree that the rising temperature of the earth is giving rise to longer and hotter heat waves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall, and more powerful hurricanes. in 2016, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine announced that it’s now possible to confidently attribute certain weather events, like some heat waves, directly to climate change.
In a time where the cultural and political landscape is gravitating towards distrust in science and big companies and industries continue to corrode our earth, we should think about reducing our own carbon footprint by subsuming a few simple steps in our life. We should make conserving energy a part of our daily routine and our decisions as a modern-day consumer. When we shop for new appliances like refrigerators, washers, and dryers, we need to look for products with the government’s Energy Star label; they meet a higher standard for energy efficiency than the minimum requirements. When we buy a car, we can look for one with the highest gas mileage and lowest emissions. We can also reduce your emissions by taking public transportation or carpooling when possible.
And while these individual actions are vital towards building a healthier, more sustainable future, it’s also very important that we push our elected leaders to take the right decisions through our collective community efforts. We need to voice our support for climate-friendly and climate change preparedness policies, and tell our representatives that transitioning from dirty fossil fuels to clean power should be a top priority because it’s vital to building healthy, more secure communities.