Increasing global temperatures, changing precipitation levels, and shrinking glaciers; these are just some of the many effects of climate change. Climate change can be defined as a change in weather in a particular place or a change in the climate of Earth. It is caused by the greenhouse effect which occurs when gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, trap heat radiating from Earth toward space. Burning fossil fuels and deforestation contribute to the greenhouse effect. Along with the previously stated effects, climate change causes sea levels to rise, warmer oceans, and intense heat waves and droughts. These effects are happening right now worldwide and are only expected to get worse.
According to NASA, sea levels will rise one to four feet by 2100 and the Arctic Ocean is expected to become essentially ice free in the summer before 2050. The effects of climate change do not only affect the planet, they affect its inhabitants. That’s why climate change is the most important social issue. It affects everyone and everything.
From a potato farmer in Idaho to a sea turtle in the Great Barrier Reef, no one and nothing is safe from the wrath of climate change. Those especially susceptible are countries lacking economic and social advancements, people living on small islands or in coastal regions, people living in mountainous or polar regions, people with pre-existing medical conditions, the elderly, and children. The solutions to decreasing climate change are countless. These solutions include using renewable energy, driving electric or hybrid cars, decreasing deforestation, and taking one to two fewer airplane flights a year.
I can personally limit my carbon footprint by turning off unused lights in my home, using power efficient light bulbs in my room, carpooling, wasting less food, minimizing my meat consumption and spreading awareness of the issue.