by Liam Meadows
What is climate change?
Climate change refers to changes in temperatures and weather patterns of the earth. For the past century humans have been the main reason behind significant climate change. This is primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas which generate greenhouse gas emissions .
The process of burning fossil fuels and releasing harmful gasses into the atmosphere is commonly referred to as the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is when the Sun’s rays enter the Earth’s atmosphere but cannot escape back into space due to the layer of harmful gasses preventing them. The incoming radiation from the sun warms the Earth and is referred to as the greenhouse effect because an agricultural greenhouse works in a very similar way. The effect of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere has caused the earth’s temperature to rise quickly over time which is also referred to as global warming .
What are the greenhouse gases?
The greenhouse gasses are carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide . The key causes of man-made greenhouse gasses include:
- The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.
- Agriculture (especially livestock and rice fields)
- fossil fuel extraction and the decay of organic waste in landfill sites.
- Vapor trails from planes, soot from fires and local pollution all tend to increase global warming.
Global warming and how it affects us
To put it simply, Global warming is the increase in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. As this article has already covered, the greenhouse effect and increased levels of harmful gasses are largely to blame for this. While we all know the earth is getting hotter it’s important to know why this is and how global warming can affect life on earth.
The increased temperature on earth is causing our Ice to melt worldwide. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice. .
Melting ice also heavily contributes to increased sea levels. Global sea levels are rising approximately 0.13 inches a year. This rise is occurring at a faster rate than predicted and means floods are more likely to occur in the flatter areas of earth .
Rising temperatures affect the majority of wildlife and their habitats, not just those who live in the sea. Rapidly vanishing ice caps and increasing temperatures has led to butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants migrating up north towards cooler temperatures.
The average frequency of rain and snow has also continued to increase across the world. Yet some areas in the hotter parts of the world are going through harsh droughts, increasing the risk of wildfires, dying crops, and water shortages in the regions .
What can we do about it?
Now we’ve learnt about the damaging effects global warming can cause, the next step is to think how we can do our bit to stop it or slow it down.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple or quick fix to reverse climate change or global warming. Every person, business, government and country has to do what they can based on their own circumstances .
But here’s a few suggestions we can all do to help do our bit today:
- Cycle or walk short distances instead of driving to reduce Co2 emissions.
- Where possible, switch to renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind.
- Support local businesses using more sustainable and climate-smart practices.
- Reduce waste, donate unwanted or unused goods and recycle more.
- Reduce energy consumption, use more energy efficient appliances such as energy saver light bulbs.
- Plant trees or shrubs in your garden that convert Co2 to oxygen to help offset carbon.
Upon the completion of this article, hopefully you might have learned a little something about the climate crisis, global warming or the impact of greenhouse gasses on the environment. If not, then hopefully you’ve still learnt a new way to help do your bit for climate change!
Just remember, simple lifestyle changes can have a massive impact and help protect our planet from dangerous levels of heat and radiation. It’s not too late to save the earth and protect it for future generations.
We can all play our part and while a simple walk to the shops instead of driving might not seem like a big deal, if a million other people did the same it would make a world of difference.
Thanks for reading!
 United Nations, What Is Climate Change?, https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-climate-change, accessed on 01/08/22.
 The Guardian, What are the main man-made greenhouse gasses?, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/04/man-made-greenhouse-gases, accessed on 01/08/2022.
 United Nations, Effects of global warming, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/global-warming-effects, accessed on 03/08/22.
 Climate.gov, What can we do to slow or stop global warming?, https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-qa/what-can-we-do-slow-or-stop-global-warming, accessed 03/08/22.