As global temperature begins to rise at alarming levels, nature, humans, and animals are impacted. Climate change has many subtle factors going into multiple effects that harm the environment, and will soon become unfixable.
Climate change, also known as global warming, is the long-term rise in temperature of the Earth, which is mainly caused by humans. Greenhouse gases are used to produce energy. The heated gases, once released from factories, rise into the sky and trap heat in the atmosphere. Simply put, as heated gases rise towards space, they are trapped in Earth’s atmosphere, causing the air and environment within to heat up.
The warm atmosphere will contain more moisture, leading to an increase in water vapor, which then becomes precipitation. A bit more rain doesn’t seem terrible at first, but it impacts the environment vastly. “We’re experiencing different weather patterns as well as long term patterns in the climate,” states Dr. Sahnzi Moyers, a biology and physics teacher at Franklin High School. More rain would also affect our communities and their agricultural patterns. Planning on when to plant certain crops would have to be monitored and changed if rainfall increases enough, as well as an expected increase in heat in dry areas that could harm plants.
As sea surfaces heat up, hurricanes will become more intense than ever before. Hurricane wind speeds will increase and storms will become more wet and harsh. This harms the land with potential floods and the obvious challenges humanity will face. (Mainly the destruction of homes and agricultural damage).
Tracing back all the way to the mid 1700s during the Industrial Revolution, scientists recognized the retreat of glaciers, mainly due to the significant amount of carbon dioxide released from factories. With fossil fuels and greenhouse gases being used for energy, glaciers continue to deteriorate. The melting of these large ice sheets not only leads to a massive effect on wildlife, but a rise in sea level.
Sea Level Rise
The rise of oceans has an immense impact upon land based animals and humans. A gain in sea levels means a loss in land, which means less space for the continuous growth of the human population. On the other hand, we can see that animals are affected by this due to the human population using the animals prior homes for themselves, resulting in a loss of space for many animals to live and thrive in.
Trouble with Wildlife
Wildlife is unmistakably influenced by climate change as well. As seen throughout history and the present, the Holocene Extinction is quite noticeable. The sixth mass extinction or the “Holocene extinction” is the extermination of animals resulted from the activity of humans. Animals in the Arctic face troubling times due to the loss of their homes (from melting glaciers), which we can see with how polar bears and their increased time spent on land. This causes more conflict between those bears and mankind. As recently found on the news, there are common heat waves, sometimes resulting in forest fires, which destroy the homes of the many critters that had lived there previously.
Disasters caused by global warming, including sea level rise, forest fires, melting glaciers, and agricultural struggles affect people all over the world. Climate change causes an increase in heat, which leads to illnesses like heat exhaustion and cardiovascular diseases, as well as more emergency room visits. In places where it is uncommon to reach extreme heat, communities face harsh conditions and their health declines rapidly. “We already have environmental refugees—people who are being forced out of their homes for environmental reasons having to do with climate change,” says Dr. Moyers. Native people are forced off their land due to the erosion of coastal areas from sea level rise. With the use of industrial technologies and the release of greenhouse gasses and fossil fuels, the air we breathe is constantly coated with a thick layer of what some would call smog. With unclean air comes more hospital visits. If given the chance to visit somewhat of a remote location with clean air after being in the city for a while, take the chance, the difference in air quality is quite noticeable. Those living in poverty may not get to experience a lifestyle that includes clean air and lack of pollution, as they may often be forced to live in industrial areas.
Overall, with many environmental fears creeping in on humanity, our environment will continue to suffer along with the animals who live in it. So with everything from the past, as well as the path of the future, the effects of global warming will become even more severe thanks to mankind.