WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE
The phrase ’climate change’ is being hurled around at every green peace and energy conservation conference these days. Its being talked about in schools and large scale business gatherings. But do we really know the difference between climate change and weather?
Weather can be described as what occurs on a daily basis in our atmosphere in a particular area. Influencing factors include the likes of humidity, rainfall and temperature. Weather changes on a frequent basis and is measured and delivered daily. It may be dry and sunny in your area and rainy in a neighbouring town.
Climate is dependent on your global location. It is the average weather for a much larger region, measured over a much longer period of time, usually over many years. Antarctica, for example, has a very different climate to that of Brazil, two very different regions on the globe.
Climate change is simply the variations of predictable weather patterns in large regions, or the globe as a whole, over a period of a few years, especially towards the end of the 20th century. The way we experience climate change is largely attributed to the use of fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
The clear difference between weather and climate change would simply be the time they are measured over, meaning, indirectly, that climate controls the weather. So todays blazing hot weather may not necessarily be as a result of climate change, but rather a simple temporary change in the atmosphere.
EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Very loosely used terms in modern times is ‘climate change’ and ‘the effects of climate change’. But climate change goes a little deeper than the earth just becoming a little bithotter. The knock on effect is far more severe than a few warmer-than-average summer days.
The biggest and most obvious effect of climate change is global warming. Global warming is the gradual increase of the Earth’s temperature; oceans and atmosphere alike. This is permanently changing the Earth’s climate. Bu this subtle, yet blatant escalation of the Earth’s temperature is having a devastating effect on our world.
Our globe has a carefully balanced climate, with temperatures just right to support us and everything we see. Climate change is disrupting that. Ocean and atmosphere temperature rises are causing lakes to disappear, glaciers to melt, gargantuan pieces of ice break to off from the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ocean levels to rise, coral reefs to die and much, much more. Although the changes appear to be rather small, the effects are mortifying.
Natural disasters and storms, flooding, drought, wildfires and more… all ripple effects of climate change.
The effects of climate change are far reaching. Permanent effects including the expansion of desert in the subtropics, extinction of species threats to food security. But sentiment and nostalgia aside, the monetary cost of climate change is crippling. Said to be on the rise, so far it’s costing trillions of dollars every year across the globe.
It’s high time the world works together to stop and, hopefully, reverse the negative effects of climate change.
CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is a very present issue in our lives, one that cannot be ignored. The effects of climate change are manifesting themselves more and more with every passing day and only seem to be growing in intensity. Although climate change has very complicated effects, the causes are, for the most part, rather simple.
The primary cause of global warming is the build-up of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, predominantly consisting of carbon dioxide. These gasses are released into the atmosphere and trap the heat radiating from the earth back into space. Think of it as a giant two-way mirror. Heat is pumped into our atmosphere by the sun, but that heat hasn’t got the chance to escape again, slowly heating the world up.
Two of the largest contributing factors to the increase of greenhouse gasses is the burning of fossil fuels and CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbon). When fossil fuel is burnt, it releases carbon into the atmosphere, which bonds with the oxygen molecules, forming carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide acts as a massive blanket on the earth, keeping in an increasing amount of heat.
CFC’s, another detrimental contributing factor, work in an entirely different way. When these molecules, contained in _______ , reach the upper atmosphere, they are exposed to UV rays which causes them to break down into their root substances, including chlorine. The chlorine reacts with the Ozone molecules and tears them apart. Ozone is responsible for keeping out the harmful UV rays and heat from the sun, without it, we start to suffer more severe effects of climate change.
We, as humans, are responsible for the decay of our worlds condition and climate change. Its now up to us to find alternative ways to do generate power and accomplish that which we need to, in a green and energy efficient way.
SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change and global warming are worldwide problems brought on primarily by large corporations and power utilities. But it’s also an issue that each one of us contributes towards, and can only be effectively dealt with if each one of us makes a collective effort to minimize our contributions towards this destructive phenomenon.
There are a few simple and practical ways to help reduce your personal contribution towards climate change and restore what we’ve taken from the world; a few things to keep in mind and actual ways to lower your contribution.
Washing clothes in cold water. Warm water uses 5x the amount of power and emissions. Modern detergents clean just as well in cold water.
Lower your geysers temperature. Water is often set too hot unnecessarily; lowering it will still give you hot water and save you money on your electricity bill.
Upgrade your fridge and aircon units. Modern appliances are far more energy efficient.
Get an electricity monitor. We often use electricity on things we don’t even know are drawing a lot of power. A power monitor will show you where the power hogs are.
Install LED lighting. New LED lights can deliver the same level of light using as little as 15% of the amount of energy needed by a conventional globe.
Get a ‘better’ car. The car you drive is probably the largest factor in your contributions. A car that has better fuel consumption will not only will not only save you money on fuel, but also help reduce your emissions into the atmosphere, reducing your impact on climate change.
Reducing your personal emissions is no massive task, but it is an important one. It’s only through combined effort that we can make lasting changes in our world. Every little change helps, no matter how small.