Climate Change, and How it Affects You

You’re probably all tired of hearing about climate change and are wishing I’d just shut up about it… but I can’t and I won’t. If we stop talking about it, the problem isn’t just going to go away; it’s going to get worse and worse until we’ll have to swim to the local shops. Let me give you a telescopic view of the planet’s climate situation. Don’t believe the people who claim climate change is all hype and exaggeration; it’s not, and we can help slow it down.

Planet Earth

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Right, it’s statistic time. If these don’t inspire you to make a change, I don’t know what will.

Carbon Dioxide Levels

At this very moment our planet’s carbon dioxide level is at 398.5 parts per million. What does that mean? Well, we can tell from air trapped in Antarctic ice cores three quarters of a million years ago that this is the highest it has been for 650,000 years.

Global Temperature

Global temperature is up by 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Now, that may not seem like a lot, however when you consider that 9 out of 10 of the hottest years on record have occurred in the past 14 years, it gets a little bit scary.

Arctic Ice Levels

The arctic ice levels (situated right beneath that gaping hole in the ozone layer) have fallen by nearly 14% per decade. If they continue at this rate, soon they won’t be here and a lot of coastal areas will be under water. Sea levels have already risen 7 inches in the past century. If we continue on this path, low-lying island nations could be completely wiped out.

Europe

Let’s narrow our focus. I’ve picked out Europe as it has a very varied continental climate and geography, from the hot, subtropical Mediterranean to the icy cold of Scandinavia, via many islands and bodies of water. Residents of Europe are already noticing their weather becoming erratic and it’s going to get worse: we’re talking frequent, prolonged heat waves; dangerous river droughts; rising sea levels causing flooding in coastal areas during storms; the extinction of local flora and fauna; a failing in agriculture due to a lack of water.

Britain

Britain, as an island nation, is more at risk from rising sea levels, and, like Europe as a whole, has a colder, icier north and hotter more temperate south. The immediate effect of global warming on Britain is a change to its winters and summers. The winters will be wetter, but milder and the summers will hotter and drier. This leads to better summer holidays; however species that hibernate – like hedgehogs – are being wiped out because of the confusion to their routine.

Your House

This all sounds pretty grim, but we can all help to prevent further damage to the climate, just by making small changes in our own homes. There are obvious steps, like turning lights off when you leave a room or setting a schedule for your central heating, but there are other things you can do, like installing more efficient light bulbs or using appliances, like your dishwasher, more effectively. Here are some more really helpful tips for cutting down your carbon footprint and making a change for future generations of humans and animals on our planet.

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September 2014 Monthly Review

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