Imagine seeing a polar bear walking along an iceless land. The bear is skinny, frail, and cannot walk more than two steps before collapsing from exhaustion. On the verge of death, the polar bear fails to find food and moans in despair. Sadly, this is the unfortunate reality we must face, and it is caused by climate change. Climate change is a term used to describe a shift in global or regional climate patterns that are mainly connected to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels. This is a serious issue that is deemed to be permanently changing the Earth’s environment and affecting those living in it. According to the Conservation International Organization, “Some 800 million people are currently vulnerable to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, heat waves, extreme weather events and sea-level rise” (Climate Change 1). For this reason, we need to acknowledge that our human activities have detrimental effects on this planet. Above all, climate change is a significant environmental crisis that is negatively impacting every aspect of our lives and our world. It is a real occurrence due to the increase of extreme weather events, the decline of animal species, and the impact it has on people’s health. The human-induced warming of the planet is causing severe weather events that are affecting this According to Kelly Levin, “More than 40 million people affected by massive floods across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, with 1,300 killed and at least 1.5 million homes destroyed or damaged” (Levin 1). The rising temperatures caused by excessive CO2 emissions cause the large amounts of rainfall during the heavy precipitation events. This puts people’s lives in danger and causes seasons to arrive earlier and earlier. Having that said, “Scientists have found that human-caused climate change is increasing the frequency and size of wildfires and much of the United States, particularly in forested areas like those that burned in Montana in September and in Northern California in October” (Umair 1). Wildfires are posing a risk to life, property and public health. Smoke reduces air quality and can cause eye and respiratory illness, especially among children and the elderly. Wildfires can also threaten ecosystem changes and release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere contributing to further climate change. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “there will likely be more intense hurricanes that carry higher wind speeds and more precipitation as a result of global warming. The impacts of this trend are likely to be exacerbated by sea level rise and a growing population along coastlines” (Hurricanes 1). The probability of huge storms like Hurricane Harvey was higher in 2017 than it was at the end of the twentieth century. Because of climate change, storms like these used to occur every 100 years event, but have evolved to happen once every 16 years. Above all, extreme weather events are significant signs that climate change is posing a huge problem for countries and ecosystems around the world. Climate change is negatively impacting ecosystems, which in turn is causing a decline in many important animal species. As stated by Professor Hughes “Two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the reef’s worst-ever bleaching event” (Hughes 1). Even though coral reefs only occupy only .2% of the ocean, they serve as a home to a quarter of all marine species including, crustaceans, reptiles, seaweeds, bacteria, fungi, and over 4000 species of fish. For this reason, they play an important role in keeping the ocean in balance. According to Aaron Sidder,” a United States research hub in northern Antarctica, saw declines of over 80 percent in Penguins” (Sidder 2). Penguins play important roles in ecosystems both in the ocean and on land. By chasing after fish, squid, and krill, they affect prey populations wherever they hunt. They carry nutrients and modify the landscape as they dig nests into the ground. Furthermore, “Climate Change leaves the animals at risk of drought, disease, and death as the heat causes freshwater supplies to dwindle, infectious diseases to spread faster and brings with it one of the biggest killers of elephants” (Jarlett 1). Elephants are extremely important because they are the most intelligent of all creatures whom we share the planet with. Elephants are tourism magnets, which aids in funding organizations that help protect wilderness areas. Above all, we need to begin protecting animal species, which play a big part in the biodiversity of ecosystems. As climate change is progressing, the health of people is declining. Harmful pollutants in the atmosphere are jeopardizing the well being of innocent people. According to the University of the British Columbia, ” 5.5 million people die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution” (Out of the Fog 19). Greenhouse gases that are emitted from, cars, coal plants, and industrial factories create smog in the air. This causes deadly respiratory diseases like bronchitis, asthma and lung cancer linked to bad air quality. As stated in ‘Climate Impacts on Human Health,” “Older adults are particularly sensitive to short-term particle exposure, with a higher risk of hospitalization and death. Outdoor workers like firefighters can also have high exposure” (Climate impacts 19). It is very important that as a society we advocate the dangers of pollution and the individuals who are affected by it. Workers like firefighters are vital for our country’s safety, but they will be compromised if the government does not take action. The Environmental Agency expressed, “Climate change will increase the geographical distribution of Lyme disease. A survey conducted from 1992 to 2006 indicates that the incidence of Lyme disease is increasing and rates are highest among children age 5–14 years” (Climate Change 2). Essentially, the number of reported cases of Lyme disease has more than doubled during this time period. This is because children are more vulnerable to tick bites because they tend to play outside and close to the ground. Above all, it is evident that climate change has taken a significant toll on the health of children and adults. For this reason, we need to express the importance of advocating the negative effects global shifts could have on people’s wellness. In this way, individuals could be informed of these serious issues to instill change. Some may believe that temperature shifts and changing climates are a completely normal part of how our world works. According to Michael Baggs, “climate change deniers, have said that colder winters are a sign that there is no environmental threat” (Baggs 1). In actuality, colder winters are a major sign of climate change because the melting polar ice caps causes cold air to move southwards. Additionally, global warming is increasing precipitation causing severe winter storms and freezing temperatures. Having that said, there are individuals who state that that “humans cannot change the climate” (The Climate 1). However, It can be proven that human activities have changed the climate because CO2 concentrations have been increasing ever since the industrial revolution. In addition, CO2 is higher than at any time in the past three million years. In addition, some may believe that “a steady increase in the numbers of sunspots can be connected to raised temperatures” (Climate Science 1). That is to say, sunspot records go back to the 17th century, but sunspots actually block the Sun’s radiation. It is the smaller bright spots that increase the Sun’s output and these were not recorded until more recently.
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