Reign Stefany Gabrielle Rosales 

How hard can it be to rapidly transform our societies to keep all that is precious to our world? It is still blurry for all to see the importance of every action we may do but even the simplest understanding can set the limits for the better.  

Photo Courtesy of United Nations/European Commission

Climate change is the long-term adjustment of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place. It could refer to a particular location or the planet as a whole. Climate change may cause weather patterns to be less predictable. These unexpected weather patterns can make it hard to maintain different natural environmental processes. 

We are on the way to exceeding 3°C of global warming by 2030 or double the 1.5°C limit agreed in 2015 at COP21 in Paris. This phenomenon represents further threats to the entire properties of Earth. Changes and evolution will evolve more which will negatively impact all. 

The Environment Response

There are inevitable changes in the ocean, forests, and simply the environment in everyone’s places. One of these is the rise of sea levels from ocean thermal expansion and ocean mass increase because of the melting glaciers converting to water. They have been the dominant contributors to 20th-century global mean sea level rise. If we don’t initiate actions to stop this phenomenon or slow it down, global sea levels will rise 14-32 feet by 2100 putting places at risk of permanent flooding. The buildings and infrastructure of cities located along coastlines, as well as coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests and coral reefs, are threatened by the Rising sea level. An example is the Paleo sea level records from warm periods during the last 3 million years which indicates that the global mean sea level has increased by 5 m above present when the calculated mean temperature reached up to 2°C warmer. 

Meanwhile, Droughts often have knock-on effects, for example on transport infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, water, and biodiversity. They reduce water levels in rivers and groundwater, stunt tree and crop growth, increase pest attacks, and fuel wildfires. Increasing heat and drought due to climate change can trigger wildfires. Hotter temperatures evaporate more moisture from soil and vegetation, drying out the trees, shrubs, and grasses. It also turns leaf litter and fallen branches into kindling. This can spread out easily affecting different places, spreading a lot of air pollution.

Climate change and Life of all forms 

Climate change is already impacting human health. Changes in weather and climate patterns can put lives at risk. As Heat is one of the most deadly weather and as ocean temperatures rise, hurricanes are getting stronger and wetter, which can cause direct and indirect deaths. Meanwhile, dry conditions lead to more wildfires, which bring many health risks to humans, animals, and nature itself. Additionally, Higher incidences of flooding can lead to the spread of waterborne diseases, injuries, and chemical hazards. As mosquitoes from different geographic ranges and ticks expand, they can carry diseases to new locations.

The first creatures to be dramatically and visibly affected by climate change are those in the Arctic, where the impacts of rising temperatures have been felt earlier and more intensely than anywhere else. As warmer air melts the vast expanses of sea ice that help define the Far North, all the animals depending on that ice for hunting, resting, reproducing, and other key life activities lose the platform on which their existence depends.

Polar Bears are losing the sea-ice habitat beneath their designated feet, and have become a recognized symbol of the dangers climate change is causing in the fragile Arctic — other Arctic species — including the Pacific walrus; bearded, ringed, spotted, and ribbon seals; Cook Inlet beluga whale; and yellow-billed loon are being snuffed out by climate change.

At the other end of the Earth, around the South Pole, the emperor penguin is also facing enormous threats from climate change, which causes profound changes in the Antarctic ecosystem and hurts penguins in diverse ways, from reducing prey species to causing ice shelves to collapse. 

Furthermore, Insects are ubiquitous disturbance agents that have important roles in the long-term process of forest ecosystems and are affected by this issue as well. It’s the latest in some recent studies that warn insects are declining at alarming rates around the world. Deforestation and expanding agricultural land use lead to degrading insect habitats, while global warming is altering the climate conditions that many species require to survive. That’s part of other threats, like pollution and the spread of invasive species. 

Scientists speculated that if we keep the current greenhouse gas emissions trajectory, climate change will cause more than a third of the Earth’s animal and plant species to face extinction by 2050 – and up to 70 percent by the end of the century. This would irreversibly diminish biodiversity, disrupt ecosystems, and cause immense hardship for all human societies worldwide.

Climate scientists showed that humans are responsible for virtually all global heating over the last 200 years. If we don't take a step further in limiting the warming to 1.5°C, climate change is more likely to become the leading cause of biodiversity loss as time passes by. As the interlinkages between the climate system and nature on land, in freshwater systems, and the oceans become ever clearer, it does too to the urgent need to bring together our efforts to stop and reverse nature loss and even decarbonize the global economy. Our nature is slowly drowning out of our actions, let us all take a glimpse at the importance of every fraction of a degree.