Climate change has been a topic of heated discussion over the last few decades or so and is often attributed to “global warming”, caused by human beings. However, while global warming is certainly a major cause of climate changes, these changes have been occurring since the dawn of time.
Some other reasons we can attribute to climate changes are biotic processes, in other words, caused by living organisms, changes in shortwave radiation and other natural phenomena such as movement in tectonic plates, which may cause volcanic eruption, earthquakes and tsunamis, among other natural disasters.
While we have little control over natural processes, we definitely can play a key role in reducing the rate of climate change and amount of change in the climate. The majority of scientists concur that the significant increase in greenhouse gases is caused by human activities such as the growing number of industries since the Industrial Revolution, the increase in the number of automobiles, as well as the burning and clearing of tracts of land, among other human activities.
As result, certain gases get trapped and form a layer around Earth, absorbing heat and warming the Earth’s atmosphere. This phenomenon is referred to as the greenhouse effect.
Many of these gases interact with each other in a complex manner to effect the climate changes that we are experiencing in worldwide. For instance water vapor, a seemingly harmless component of the Earth’s environment reacts as a feedback mechanism when the Earth’s atmospheric layer gets heated up by other gases, causing the formation of clouds and eventually rain. This explains why tropical countries recently have been experiencing rainy spells even when it is not the typical season for monsoons and rains. Similarly, other gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide react with other atmospheric elements to cause anomalies in the weather globally.
Measures to Reduce Major Shifts in Climatic Changes
So far, some steps towards progress have already been made. For instance international agreements and regulations have been put in place to reduce the emission of CFCs, entirely man-made byproducts released into the atmosphere by various industries. CFCs are a source of major concern due to their ability to destroy the ozone layer.
Beside regional and international agreements, organizations and retailers are in a position to promote practices that will further reduce endangerment to the environment or cause massive climate changes. To place pressure on companies to adopt “greener” practices, consumers themselves are in a position to boycott companies or retailers that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Up to date, corporations such as Starbucks, Safeway, Tesco and Kingfisher have committed to making changes in their production and sales processes.
Individuals themselves often dismiss the impact they can have collectively as a society on climate changes. For instance, small changes like making our homes more energy efficient, living a greener lifestyle, for example walking or cycling to nearby destinations, educating future generations both through formal education and leading by example as a parent, can collectively reduce the greenhouse impact.
Past research shows that human activities are almost 90% likely to have been the cause of climate change over the last 250 years and if serious measures are not taken on an individual, regional and global scale, global warming and climate changes are likely to occur at rates never experienced before for every year to come in the future.
WRITTEN BY DIANE TIWANA