By the end of the 21st Century, scientists project that the average global temperature will rise between 3.2 and 7.2 degrees fahrenheit. This may not seem like a ton, but you will be surprised at how much a degree or two can affect our little world. It will not only affect us as humans, but it will and already has ruined the lives of some animals. Climate change is mostly caused by humans and the way that our atmosphere is designed. It is causing rising oceans, higher temperatures, and dangers for humans and animals. Climate change is the result of the greenhouse effect, which is increasing every day as we burn fossil fuels for heat, transportation, and electricity. The greenhouse effect is what happens when we burn fossil fuels and cause the levels of certain gases to rise in our atmosphere. Those gases trap heat in the atmosphere, like a blanket, or a greenhouse.
So, when the sun shoots beams of light at the earth, they bounce back off of the surface, but they can’t escape the atmosphere because of that blanket of gases surrounding the earth. The levels of those gases are rising because of humans burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil for things like transportation and electricity. It's causing drastic changes in our environment that are nearly impossible to be reversed. One huge consequence of rising temperatures is that the sea levels are rising. It’s creating a negative affect people that live along the coast. Since we live in Minnesota, this isn’t a big deal for us but you have to look at it from their point of view. The people that live along the coast in Florida are suffering the direct effects of climate change. There is still controversy in Florida whether this is actually an issue, but you can divide those people up by if they live several feet from the current high tide, or several hundred feet from the current high tide.
One man made a prediction on how quickly the sea level will rise. “The rate of sea level rise is currently doubling every seven years, and if it were to continue in this manner, Ponzi scheme style, we would have 205 feet of sea level rise by 2095” (1 Howard Goodman). It’s not just people that are in trouble, lots of other organisms are hurting from the results of climate change. Birds, sea creatures, and land animals alike are all trying to adapt to the unstable environment. But sadly, with how fast this is all happening, they aren’t always successful. Lots of birds have had to shift their migration schedule, as spring is coming earlier and earlier. Likewise, polar bears have had to deal with a change of pace because the ice that they depend on is freezing later and disappearing earlier. Coral reefs are also taking a hit because when the ocean’s temperature rises, a thing called bleaching happens. Bleaching is basically how the coral reacts to stress.
They release the algae that gives them their beautiful color. All of these animals are experiencing the negative effects of climate change. People, animals, and the oceans are all being harmed by our changing climate. This is the result of humans burning fossil fuels, which causes the impact of the greenhouse effect to increase. Even just one or two degrees can be devastating, but at the speed our climate is changing, one or two degrees won’t be the problem. Many different ecosystems are being affected by climate change, and not in a positive way. So, next time you accidentally leave on a light or drive your car instead of taking the bus, think about what YOU could do to help out our planet in the future.
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