Climate change is described as the change in weather patterns, especially when those changes last longer than the average weather conditions. Several factors such as solar radiation received by Earth, biotic processes, volcanic eruptions, and plate tectonics have been attributed to these changes. Indisputably, human activities have been as well identified as the root causes of global warming. This essay is wholly based on the message depicted and communicated by the image at https://brainstissoc.com/2013/07/04/we-need-action-on-climate-change/. The image shows fire blazing the globe (the home of the humankind) with a human hand holding it, proving that to the greatest extent, human beings are to blame for global warming, and at the same time, they too are key players to making their home a better place for habitation. The script “we need to act now” on the image is a wake-up call for all to join hands in this move. Given these facts, it, therefore, follows that human beings are to blame for the continued global warming and at the same time key (and only) players in counteracting the effects of the same.
For a simple start, the globe in the picture is burning on a human’s hand. This is a clear indication that global warming and/or climatic change is not a natural phenomenon as many would like to put it. No, it’s human caused. Human activities such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels have resulted in changes in earth’s atmosphere, greenhouse gases amounts, aerosols and cloudiness as well. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere (Solomon). Greenhouse gases and aerosols affect the amount of solar radiation received by the earth, and infrared radiation from the earth causing an energy imbalance on the planet earth. These changes in atmospheric abundance either lead to warming or cooling of the climate system. Science has proved that the overall effect of human activity since the start of industrial era has been a warming influence.
The increase in greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen (IV) oxide and halocarbons, are all attributable to human activities, of which much of the significant changes have occurred during the industrial era. Fossil fuel used in the transport sector, manufacture of cement, building heating and burning and other activities lead to increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Deforestation, another human activity influenced by agriculture, building, and ever growing energy needs for industries, and mining activities release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Trees reduce the amount of this gas in the atmosphere, and when we reduce or cut down trees, it means that we have fewer trees needing this gas, leading to high levels of the same. The decay of plant matter and compounds also play a role in heightening levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
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Natural gas distribution, agriculture, and landfills are all human activities that have seen levels of methane gas increasing, fertilizer and fossil fuel burning leading to increased nitrous oxide. Halocarbons-defined as halogens containing carbon atoms are known to cause catastrophic effects on the ozone layer. Primary halocarbons such as chlorofluorocarbons use in industries and manufacturing plants as coolants cause ozone layer depletion. Ozone is a greenhouse gas, produced and destroyed by the atmospheric chemical reactions in a continued process. While some human activities such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen released into the atmosphere react at the troposphere layer of the atmosphere to produce ozone, halocarbons released by the same humans destroy this ozone in the stratosphere. Notably, ozone depletion has led to the ozone hole over the Antarctica.
The blazing fire on the globe held by the human hand is symbolic of the catastrophic effects that climatic change has. The globe, being the natural human habitat is increasingly becoming unsafe. Human beings are at the risks of being burnt off or consumed by this fire. The increasing temperatures, scaring skin diseases, prolonged droughts, and rising ocean levels are just but a few effects of these changes. According to the World Meteorological Organization, world’s 14 of the 15 warmest years have been recorded since 2000, with 2014 being the warmest of all (Geography). Heat waves and temperatures as high as 42°C have been experienced in places like Australia and India.
From north pole to south pole, global surface temperature has increased, leading to an increased and worrying glacier and ice melting rate on the earth’s poles, causing a rise in sea level rise. It was once reported for example that the Mombasa islands on the Kenyan coast would sink in the next 50 years due to rising sea level.
The wildlife has not been left out as well by this change of events. Many species have (or are becoming) extinct while other as butterflies and foxes such are moving to cooler parts of the globe. Others which thrive under hot conditions have however thrived, but the danger they bring too is untold. Some like the spruce bark beetles have consumed a million dozen trees in Alaska for the last 20 years.
Of greater concern is the melting away of the ice cap in Peru, which scientists and researchers claim that it will be over by 2100, meaning that most people who rely on it for fresh water and electricity will have none. The spread of human disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and fungi are on the rise. The Zika virus resurgence in 2016, which is a mosquito-borne malaria is an example of what adverse climatic changes are doing to the human race.
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Other diseases like the Valley Fever, kidney stones, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever among many others have been on the rise thanks to extreme climatic changes (Hauser).Strongly unpredictable weather patterns, prolonged droughts, hurricanes, and floods have led to acute food shortages in many parts of the world.
However much climatic changes are pushing the human race to extreme ends, the world needs them if these effects are to be curbed and global warming activities controlled (Denchak). The strongest and loudest message by the picture is for actions now, yes, fighting for the globe as if it wholly depends on it. Steps ought to be taken to heal the world of this epidemic.
The good news is that world leaders have teamed up and upped up their game on the same. The record has it that 195 countries, at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit agreed to reduce their carbon emissions. It is of advice that everybody realizes that the success of this agreement depends on us wholly, from an individual level to the world as a whole. We have to curb our climatic change contribution if the world is to be healed. Shrinking of one’s carbon profile, use of fuel efficient cars, investing in renewable energy sources and increasing vegetation and tree coverage are some of the biggest and important milestones one (and the human race in general) should take towards winning this war.
In a nutshell, the image given sends a strong message to the entire world, both young and old and persons of all groups. It puts the human race at the pivot of all that which happens around the globe. It as well put him (and warns him in fact) as the one to suffer consequences of his actions, should he continue with his activities that cause climatic changes. All are therefore being called for action now before it’s too late. Global warming and climatic changes are things that can be controlled and are at the mercies of the human race.
We can do it today.
- Denchak, Melissa. “How You Can Stop Global Warming.” 11 March 2016. nrdc website. 27 June 2017.
- Geography, National. Effects of Global Warming. n.d. 27 June 2017.
- Hauser, Jeffrey Kopman and Annie. “10 Diseases Spreading Due to climate Change.” 22 September 2014. Weather website. 27 June 2017.
- Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt,. The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment . Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.