World Issues 120
Changes in the distribution of plants and animals in response to climate change
Changes in the distribution of plants and animals in response to climate change is something we live with every single day and not many people know the massive effects it has on our plants and animals. Climate change is not a hoax, it is real and very serious and if we do not do something about it now then it will ruin our planet and destroy our future. Climate change is more than deforestation and extinction, it is the releasing of carbon into our atmosphere causing our biosphere to become hotter year after year. Water is continuing to rise each day due to climate change and most fresh water sources are drying up or are already gone. Deforestation is the clearing of trees, transforming a forest into cleared land. “From temperate forest to tropical rain forests, deforestation continues to be an urgent environmental issue that jeopardizes people’s livelihoods, threatens species, and intensifies global warming.”1 According to the World Wildlife Foundation, worldwide, some of twenty-six hectares of forest (the equivalent of thirty-seven football fields) are being lost every minute. One of the reasons as to why deforestation is happening is because of the demand for paper has increased substantially over the past 50 years. Conversion of forests: for other land uses including pulp, palm, and soy plantations, road and other infrastructure. Forest degradation: from fires, illegal and unsustainable logging, fuel wood harvesting, and climate change. If a tree takes one hundred years to grow up and let’s say that they have all grown up; if we cut all these down and plant new ones in their place, we will have to wait one hundred years for those new ones to be ready for logging, paper, etc. This is called renewable resources and right now there is a problem with renewable and non-renewable resources, we are using up all our resources too quickly for them to replenish. The same thing is happening with deforestation, when we wipe out an entire forest we are also reducing biodiversity.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, between 200 and 2000 species go extinct each year. Right now in China, the panda is much endangered; it is the most endangered animal in China. The extinction of pandas is not necessarily due to climate change but it is a major contributing factor. In the journal Nature Climate Change, they predict that increasing temperatures in the panda’s natural habitats will likely cause a shortage of bamboo, its main food source. In Beijing, pollution has risen to hazardous levels reaching twenty times the limit recommended by the World Health Organization. The United States embassy cautions that at this level of pollution, “Everyone may experience more serious health effects.”2 I bet that when the U.S embassy said everyone, they were not including the animals. Every day, animals are fighting to survive, even the human race is fighting to survive. If we want to save our planet, we have to not only save ourselves but we need to save the animals too. Every time an animal species goes extinct, the food chain changes, every species has to adapt to this new change and other species might die due to this drastic change in the food chain.
Lake levels are expected to decline in both inland lake and Ontario’s four Great Lakes, as more moisture evaporates due to warmer temperature and less ice cover. Reduced summer water levels are likely to diminish the recharge of groundwater, it will cause small streams to dry up, and reduce the area of wetland, resulting in poorer water quality and less wildlife habitat. Climate change will also mean an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts and flooding. Scientists estimate that globally, glaciers are losing ninety-two cubic kilometers of ice per year: that is as much water used by Canada’s homes, farms, and factories