Earth’s climate is in a constant state of change. Day to day we witness the weather change, but rarely notice the long term changes of our climate that are taking place. The climate is what the weather is like overall in a certain area. Climate change can have different effects on the environment and the way we live. Some of these effects may be negative. Different factors affect how the climate changes. The most important factor to consider is the one we have the most control over, which is ourselves.
What may seem like simple choices that humans make can have very large consequences for the climate and environment. For example, it seems the obvious choice for transportation for most people is to drive a car, or ride the bus or a subway, rather than take the time to walk or ride a bike, however, it appears that this can contribute to climate change. It does so by releasing CO2, a greenhouse gas, into the air. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere cause the earth to retain heat. An excess in greenhouse gases can cause the earth to trap too much heat, changing the climate to be too warm. However, this is not the only affect human’s have on the climate. Our diet has a large impact as well. Animal agriculture appears to be the leading cause of climate change:
- Farm animals release methane gas, which is twenty times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping methane gas in our atmosphere.
- Animal agriculture accounts for 65% of nitrous oxide emissions which is three hundred times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere
Humans can also alter the climate through deforestation and growing large amounts of crops for long periods of time. Without trees and other plants to absorb the CO2 in the atmosphere this leads to a concentration of greenhouse gases, shifting the climate to be warmer in that area. Connections have also been found between deforestation and drought, since clouds require moisture and forests store moisture that, when evaporated, aids in the formation of clouds. Another deliberate human effect is solar radiation management, which is an attempt to “cool” the planet. Different methods are used to reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of C02 in the air. Some examples of this are using plastic polymers to pull gas from the air and stratospheric sulfate aerosols to reflect sunlight. These methods meant to aid in maintaining our planet’s climate seem to be taking a turn for the worst and creating more problems with the climate such as imploding arctic ice and methane eruptions.
It is not only due to humans that the climate changes. Earth’s climate has always shifted over the course of it’s lifetime. For example, it was once covered with ice. This is due to natural events that have taken place. An example of a natural event that could shift earth’s climate is a volcanic eruption. The dust and ash from these eruptions reflect solar radiation, which cools the earth. This also changes the land that surrounds where the eruption occurred including the soil and plant growth, which also affects the climate of an area. Another common thing that affects climate is water vapor, an abundant greenhouse gas, in the Earth’s atmosphere. Water vapor works with temperature basically in a cycle. An increase in temperature triggers an increase in water vapor, and when there is more water vapor the air in turn is warmer. When water vapor concentration increases, it condenses into clouds, which reflects solar radiation, helping to cool the planet. Water vapor and volcanic eruption are only a couple, amongst many, nonhuman factors that help shift climate. Both of these factors contribute to the cooling of the planet. It is important to have knowledge of earth’s ever-changing climate, because it is going to affect us in the long run.
To reduce the negative impacts of climate change, we may begin to create and drive more fuel efficient eco-friendly cars or seek other modes of transportation. We may also incorporate things into ours household that are eco-friendly, such as solar panels and fluorescent light bulbs. Industries can begin to use renewable energy sources such as wind energy. Another, more obvious but important way we can help earth’s climate is to recycle. Double checking to see what is recyclable and taking the extra time to do so can really help. But, something that is essential to preserving our environment and controlling the climate, is to change the way we view food and how we eat. It is important for us as well, so we may fully function and contribute to society to take care of ourselves. What we put into our bodies ultimately affects every aspect of our lives. This is our vessel for getting around and we must not take that for granted. We must not take our environment for granted as well. Lastly, we may petition and protest against geoengineering and deforestation, so that the planet may naturally resolve its issues, without human interference. Here is more on the corrupt science behind geoengineering programs: