We happy to share an article about global warming and climate change written by our Grade 7&8 students as part of their service learning program. Service learning is a form of education where students take practical action stemming from their classroom study in order to benefit the wider community. It may take the form of direct service, indirect service, research, or advocacy.
Global warming or climate change has become an increasingly concerning issue to humans, as it is one of the most serious and dangerous problems in the world. This major issue, scientifically, is defined as the steady rise of the Earth’s temperature from an excess of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. It is changing the environment of the Earth on a global scale, which causes many species to lose their habitat, or to adapt to a new warmer environment. Many scientists have researched and have advocated raising awareness of global warming, because the problem is mainly caused by human activities, and everyone will need to contribute and be involved in order to solve it. A big concern right now is the lack of knowledge people have on global warming, which also leads to inefficient support from governments and people overall. As difficult as it may be to accept the truth, people are slowly making their home an “oven,” therefore, leading to the extinction of many species, fluctuations in the weather patterns, melting of large glaciers, drastically rising sea levels, and an overabundance of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The gradual increase in temperature of the world due to global warming is caused mostly by the overwhelming amount of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, which includes carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and ozone. Normally, these gases are essential in the process of the greenhouse effect, which keeps the Earth’s temperature in balance. The amount of these gases in the atmosphere has increased due to human activities, and in turn, is causing the planet to become warmer over time. One major human activity that contributes to global warming is the use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Humans rely heavily on them to generate electricity and heat, fuel cars, and for many other industrial purposes. The problem is that fossil fuels release huge amounts of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Although the temperature increase is slight, it disrupts the balance of nature. Other human activities such as manufacturing goods, cutting down forests (Deforestation), transportation, producing food (Requires energy, land, and water), powering buildings, and overconsumption (Wastes and the manufacturing process produce greenhouse gases) also produce global emissions, as they are all mainly powered by fossil fuels.
The consequences of global warming and climate change can be serious. Based on scientific research, the Earth’s atmosphere is constituted to allow sunlight to stream in uninterrupted. After striking the Earth’s surface, this solar energy is reflected as thermal radiation. Then at a place above Antarctica, there is a hole in the ozone layer. The ozone layer is a layer of the stratosphere on Earth, which is a mass of protective gases that cling to our planet. The hole is primarily caused by greenhouse gases and pollution in the air, which is the result of burning fossil fuels, however, it also could have also been caused by sun rays that constantly strike Antarctica. Since there is a hole in the ozone layer, the radiation, and heat from which the ozone layer would have protected Earth are let in and cause the Earth to warm. Some of this radiation is also trapped in the atmosphere by clouds after it is reflected off the Earth’s surface. As a result, the polar ice caps and glaciers of Antarctica have started melting.
Although the weather is constantly changing, the climate should always stay about the same. In other words, the climate is the average weather for a particular region over a long period of time. Patterns of temperature, humidity, and wind are all components of climate. Global warming is affecting climate in the aspects of temperature, patterns of rainfall, the acidity of oceans, sea level, storms, and drought. This puts the animals living in habitats globally at risk of drastically changing natural disaster patterns and frequencies. Although many people believe that climate change isn’t important or relevant to their lives, we are all affected already in a variety of ways. From more extreme weather to increasing food prices, to decreased opportunities to appreciate the natural world, people everywhere are feeling its effects. Our future generations might not even see the same planet as we do. Even a small increase in global temperatures will destabilize the water cycle and could make water scarcity much worse. On top of increasing carbon emissions, it stands to reason that we face another problem with air quality. Air pollution and bad air quality affect human health, especially in children.
We still have the capability to change the fate of the Earth. It is not too late yet to slow down global warming, or even reverse it to cool the Earth down. There are several feasible solutions to it. While the most effective one would be reducing the usage of fossil fuels, and to find other sources of clean, renewable energy. Then carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will not rise as quickly, giving Earth time to re-radiate heat energy. This means disposing of the heat and radiation being trapped in the atmosphere. Some things we could do is to reconsider more eco-friendly transportation methods such as walking, cycling, taking public transport, or switching to driving an electric vehicle. Other ways to reduce carbon emissions are to eat more vegetables (Producing them generally results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and requires less energy) and to throw away less food (So less can be produced). Reducing, reusing, repairing, and recycling your garbage and then sorting it into the correct garbage bins is also a way to help. Some things are as simple as saving energy at home, and when done by many, can make a great impact. We must all take part in preserving our planet, as the future of the Earth may be determined by what we do in this generation.
If you would like to get involved, here are some organizations fighting climate change:
Written by: Alvin Xie
Edited by: Aletheia Chiu
Special thanks to Deva Eveland
Represented by the Grade 7 and 8 Service Learning Global Warming group