By Shinsaku Takakawa
There exists many political controversies regarding climate change, false information being a notorious component of the discussion around climate change. It’s important to clear the debris surrounding it so that we can get a better understanding of why we should care about climate change so much. Let's jump in to some of many myths.
According to the History Channel, the idea that humans could cause climate change was hard to grasp for a long time. In the 1800’s, scientists yielded results that suggested human produced carbon dioxide could collect in the atmosphere and insulate the Earth. The Greenhouse Effect was introduced by Joseph Fourier in 1820, who compared the atmosphere’s trapped heat to a greenhouse. In 1958, theKeeling Curve was built on a monitoring station in Hawaii during 1958, Charles Keeling and his colleagues started recording Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
How to read this graph:
On the x axis we have years compared to the Carbon Dioxide Concentration measured in parts per million (ppm). A concentration of 310 ppm means that one of every one million molecules in the atmosphere, 310 are carbon dioxide. The black line represents the monthly average of carbon dioxide concentration. The jagged effect is caused by the seasons. In spring and summer, more plants are alive and absorb more carbon dioxide. In the fall and winter, plants die which leads to an increased average of carbon dioxide in the air.
We can see from over the years (1958-2014) that the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere rises and shows no sign of stopping. The Keeling Curve is one of the most famous pieces of evidence of climate change being real.
According to the National Public Radio writer Alina Selyukh, by 2030 ‘most jobs will change; some will decline’. She pulls information from a McKinsey Global Institute report published in 2019. From this we can determine whether we act on climate change or not, jobs will come and go.
Regarding how climate change will affect career opportunities, a report from the International Labor Organization states that increasing heat will erase jobs in agricultural and construction fields. The chief of ILO’s research department Catherine Saget tells us that less developed countries in southern Asia and west Africa will be hit the hardest. Of course first-world countries will be affected too but not as drastically as workers in third-world countries.
For those that are looking for a job, National Geographic has an article on 11 fast growing job outlooks. Some of these careers include water technicians, car engineers, recyclers, and solar technicians. To learn more about job growth and decline, you can visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the end of 2019, and the beginning month of 2020 many writers published articles on what they predict will be the biggest global issues this year. The most mentioned topics were political protests, climate change, the economy, and human rights. All global issues hold importance, the goal for environmentalists isn’t to minimize other issues, rather to inspire others to act.
Here’s what we would be sacrificing according to the World Wildlife Organization:
Rising sea levels by 1-2 feet. It doesn’t sound like much, but islands such as the Maldives will disappear, leaving the people with no home. Already in the Maldives are people going homeless because of tsunamis and erosion. Agriculture is also destroyed and sea water contaminates their fresh water sources which will spread disease. Climate change would also be killing the fish and coral reefs around these islands, which would leave them without food and reliant on the already declining local agriculture or imports from other countries.
Coral reefs will die if the sea temperature rises by two degrees. We learned about coral bleaching in a previous article, and if the algae in the coral’s polyps leave the coral the coral will then turn white and die. Coral bleaching will then cause fish populations to lose their homes and be forced to migrate to look for a new one.
Icebergs melting contributes to the rising sea levels. When icebergs form in the winter, they are taking away sea level and storing it in the ice. The opposite is true in the summer. The ice also protects the Arctic from the Sun by reflecting heat. When this ice melts, the Arctic becomes warmer in both sea and air temperatures which then changes weather patterns worldwide.
Heatwaves will become more frequent globally, which will cause heat-related deaths and will affect many sources of food. People will suffer from heat exhaustion, heat strokes, swelling, heat rashes and overall weakness according to the World Health Organization. People that are already suffering from illness, the elderly and children have a greater risk of sickness from heat waves.
Wildlife will lose their habitats, which may cause extinction of these plants and animals. Between rising sea levels, heat waves and many other factors the wildlife will either have to adapt, move or die off.
According to the United Nations, climate change cannot be ‘reversed’ but it can be weakened. In order to address climate change we need to acknowledge that it exists, that it’s a problem and then start investing in the future.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has come up with a plan on how governments can ‘rebuild’ themselves after the coronavirus pandemic. This six step program includes investing, creating jobs, and cooperation with other countries.
The average person cannot do much about climate change. If we really want to fight it we must get politicians and country leaders to invest in our futures.
The only way that we can fight climate change is together. If only one person does a task, it will go unnoticed. But if one hundred people do a task together, they will make a bigger impact. The real solution to whether climate change is real or not is that it doesn’t matter which it is. What we should be doing instead is encouraging politicians to invest into green deals and take care of our planet.
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