With sea levels on the rise, oceans becoming warmer, and longer, more intense droughts threatening crops, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate. The increase in the Earth’s temperature is significantly changing our planet’s climate, resulting in more extreme and unpredictable weather. Mark Fischetti, senior editor at Scientific American Blog Network, says “Sandy” is the perfect example; the hurricane became large because it drifted along the U.S. coast where the ocean water was still warm, pumping energy into the swirling storm. Clearly, the current climate change presents severe challenges for the survival of humans and wild animals. Although these challenges cannot be stopped completely, the effects that the extreme weather may have on Earth, can be reduced.
It is believed that many variables go into creating a big storm, not just climate change. However, this does not mean that climate change isn’t making storms bigger. With the Earth’s temperature rising and considerably changing the climate, this causes more extreme and erratic weather all around the world. For example World Wildlife affirms, “heat waves are happening more often and many places are suffering from record droughts followed by intense rainfalls.” Forests cover 31% of the land area on the planet and produce vital oxygen while also providing homes for people and wildlife. But these precious forests all around the world are under threat from deforestation, putting these benefits at risk. WWF affirms, “scientists estimate up to 20% of global carbon emissions come from deforestation – greater than emissions from every car, truck and plane on the planet combined.” In a recent piece in the Washington Post, James Hansen at NASA’s Goddard Institution for Space Studies in New York blamed climate change for excessive drought, based on six decades of measurements, not computer models: “Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.”
Humans and wild animals have to deal with new challenges for survival because of climate change. Intense drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans can directly harm animals and humans. These extreme weather events destroy the places animals live and wreak havoc on people’s livelihoods and communities, according to WWF. As climate change gets worse, dangerous weather events are happening more often and becoming more dangerous. People in cities and towns around the United States are facing the consequences, from wildfires to costal storms and flooding. One challenge, the Earth’s oceans face is the absorbance of the extra carbon dioxide that makes the water more acidic and less hospitable for sea life (WWF). The sea level rise and acidification puts marine animals in danger, negatively impacting fishing and tourism, and threatens a critical supply of protein for more than one hundred million people. Reef-building corals simply cannot survive if the water keeps warming. In addition to warming, oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 changes the ocean’s pH balance making it more acidic and toxic to some marine organisms that have favorably lived there for years.
So the question is evident, what can be done to stop these effects from happening? As said by Al Gore from Prevention Magazine and EPA, individual efforts on slowing global warming really have an impact. Individuals can and should get educated and inform others to make a difference as well. A few ways to conserve energy at home would be to choose energy efficient lighting and appliances. These appliances use electricity even if turned off. In fact,