Recently, the UK experienced its most drastic heat wave. For the first time, the UK has recorded a temperature of over 40 C. Reports of fire incidents surged during the heatwave.
Rail services got canceled after the tracks were overheated, and corporations like Google and Oracle suffered because their cooling systems did not work well with power outages. Google had to power down some parts of its cloud servicing to prevent “damages to machines”.
Hundreds of firefighters tackled fires across London and residents had to be evacuated. Some of the other locations to experience fire were Leicestershire, East, South, and North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk, and Norfolk.
This makes me wonder how global warming is threatening our lives and we need to rise to the challenge. But what are we going to do to deal with the climate crisis?
Burgeoning human populations and the resulting impact on the environment have given rise to global temperatures. Scientists tell us we must keep the rise to 1.5 degrees to avoid catastrophic consequences.
Recent events are nothing but a dire warning staring at us in the face. But not all is lost yet. The situation is dismal; however, it may be possible to turn the tide with collective action.
The effects of global warming are more than just hot summers. Besides soaring temperatures and viral videos of popsicles melting in the open sun, there are some real changes in sea levels, weather patterns, droughts, and floods. Our entire civilization, along with the flora and fauna, is experiencing waves of intense suffering.
Different societies and sectors are being affected differently. For example- droughts cause stress on food security and human health. Nevertheless, many leading scholars believe that there is still time to limit the effects of warming by reducing our emissions to zero as quickly as possible.
But reducing our emissions of carbon, greenhouse gases, and industrial waste will require a great deal of investment and ideological change in technology and infrastructure.
If seeing is the only way to believe, then here is a list of the deeply disturbing signs of this change from around the globe.
Our glaciers are shrinking: In the 2020 Global Glacier Change Bulletin, it has been reported that glaciers lost more than 1.2 meters of water equivalent to water equivalence.
Global temperature: From the year 1901 to 2020, the world’s global temperature rose about 1 degree.
Carbon dioxide rise: The CO2 level has risen by 25% since 1958, and by 40% since the Industrial Revolution.
Arctic Ice: Since 1979, the Arctic Sea ice has shrunk by about 40%.
Rising sea levels: Since 1993, the average sea level has risen at a rate of 0.12 to 0.14 inches per year.
Severe storms: Due to rising temperatures, the world is experiencing extreme rainfalls and flooding, causing more destructive storms. Besides, the warming of oceans is increasing the frequency and extent of tropical storms.
The rise in sea level: Burning fossil fuels is causing global warming due to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The ocean water gets warmer as it absorbs most of the heat in the atmosphere.
Some of the ways we should adopt to reduce the effects of climate change:
Renewable Energy: Also known as clean energy, comes from the sun, water, and wind. Initially, our apprehension about switching to renewable resources was cost-effectiveness and storage. But with increasing technology and innovation there are more ways to harness as well as utilize renewable sources of energy.
In April, Britain recorded its greenest day. The wind, solar and nuclear accounted for Easter’s energy consumption. The wind contributed 39% of this mix followed by solar at 21% and nuclear at 16%.
There are various other types of renewable energy like biomass, hydroelectric power, and geothermal energy which can also be harnessed as renewable sources of energy in different conditions.
Electric Transports: Electrifying our transport system is another powerful move towards controlling carbon emissions, air pollution, and “dirty” non-renewable resources such as coal, petroleum, etc.
The batteries of electric cars, bikes, etc will play a key role in acting as small power plants when the batteries are not in use. The EV revolution will increase the power of mobility without disrupting fossil fuels. Reports predict that this should be able to stabilize prices and foster national security as nations would be independent.
Reduce waste: Recycling, reducing, and reusing waste is one of the few ways of reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions in the environment. Waste reduction helps in the following ways:
Help conserve energy in material production and reduce the effects of consumerism on the environment.
Reducing material flow-food and organic waste- into landfills where high methane production is causing harm to the environment.
Designing city infrastructure for walking and cycling rather than the usage of high emission vehicles to curb carbon emissions. This will lead to healthier streets, more tree plantations, and more vibrant neighborhoods with less noise pollution.
Restore carbon sinks: A carbon sink is a natural capacity of our ecosystem to offset carbon emissions. It is a natural cycle in the environment where soil, water, and forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Another quicker way to mitigate the effects of global warming and resulting devastation s is to boost nature’s capacity to absorb carbon naturally.
One of the simpler ways of doing this is -mass afforestation. Forests absorb 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. But there are other means to restore our carbon sinks.
The earth’s soil absorbs a quarter of all human emissions, but the soil is under threat due to increasing demand for food production, and chemical pollution while dealing with the effects of climate change.
Phytoplankton, an algae found on the surface of oceans, is one of the biggest carbon sinks. These microscopic creatures absorb an equivalent amount of carbon as plants, soil, and trees combined. Sadly, the growth of these oceanic climate protectors is being affected by the plastic that is dumped into our oceans. So, you see it all comes back to us.
Shifting the system: All our ideas and innovations will fail if everybody does not come together to take the issue seriously. Many companies and countries are moving towards “net-zero” emissions within their systems. This means that we need to make a concerted effort as a race to improve our systems and manage our burden on the planet with love and care.
Let us come together and protect our environment.
That’s all I have for now,
I will write to you soon.