What Exactly is Climate Change?

By: Angelina Gutierrez Vasquez

OMHS students should be concerned about climate change as it affects their community.

What exactly is climate change? 

Climate change is the long-term shift of temperatures and weather patterns. Some of these shifts are natural, like the changing of the seasons. But ever since the 1800’s, the main factor for climate change has been human activities. Things like burning fossil fuels and using gasoline cause greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gasses create a blanket around the Earth which allows more heat trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than is let out. This causes our atmosphere to get warmer and warmer. These rising heat levels have dire and lasting consequences.

This is the carbon dioxide percentage from 2002 to 2016:

Carbon dioxide percentage in 2002
Carbon dioxide percentage in 2016

What impact does climate change have globally? 

The level of greenhouse gas concentration is at its highest now more than ever. Since the 1800’s, the Earth has warmed more than 33° F. This rise in temperature is linked to is often the cause of storms, droughts and heatwaves, and rising sea levels. According to NASA, the Arctic ocean is expected to become ice free during the summer by mid-century. Hurricanes will become stronger and more intense. We know this because it has already happened. Since the early 1980’s the frequency of the strongest category four and five hurricanes have increased. 

What does that mean for our community?

We are already experiencing the effects of global warming. This is a map of the global temperature during 1884:

Global temperature during 1884

And this is the global temperature in 2021:

Global temperature during 2021

If temperatures continue to rise, the northeast of the country could experience heatwaves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise which would compromise agriculture, infrastructure, fisheries, and ecosystems, according to NASA. Most of the state has warmed one to two degrees in the last century, heavy rainstorms are more frequent, and the sea is rising about one inch every seven to eight years.

What can we do to help?

There are many ways that we can help locally and in small ways like using reusable water bottles and straws instead of plastic ones. Instead of buying plastic bags we can invest in more eco-friendly reusable ones. You don’t have to do anything big to make an impact. You can make a change just by doing something as simple as recycling. You can learn more about climate action in our community at livegreenhoward.com.

A call to action

We have to care about climate change because in the end, this is the world we and our children have to live in. We should not leave things for the future generation to figure out, because that future may never come to be. Educate yourselves, your friends, and your family members. 

Protect our planet.

Sources used:

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