SGO: An introduction to climate change

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscars speech got the world talking about climate change, environment, pollution and what we can do to stop it. It is amazing when celebrities talk about how important sustainability is because they are very influential and their word is taken seriously. So, I would like to use this opportunity and talk a bit more about climate change and more exactly to clarify what it is and what causes it.

Climate Change CC US Geological Survey

Climate change represents the changes in temperature which occur across vast territories and which persist over a long period of time (more than a few decades). The causes of climate change can broadly be understood as the balance between how much heat the earth gets from the sun and how much heat it loses. Therefore, if the earth traps more heat than usual, the balance is broken and the temperature on earth rises.

The causes of climate change can be put into two categories: natural causes (processes which naturally occur on earth without human influence) and anthropogenic causes (those caused by humans, such as pollution). All these causes form the green house effect, which is what scientists from around the world agree to cause climate change. According to NASA, the main gases which block the heat escaping earth and therefore contributing to the green house effect are:

  • Carbon dioxide, which is released through natural processes but also through human intervention such as deforestation and the use of fossil fuel.
  • Methane, a gas which again is released through natural processes but also as an effect to human activity: waste, agriculture and domestic livestock.
  • Nitrous oxide, a gas which is released because of the use of chemical fertilizers, combustion of fossil fuel and biomass burning.
  • Chlorofluorocarbons, a gas released exclusively from human activity.

This is why it is important to recycle, upcycle and to use renewable energy sources!

If you want to find out more about renewable energy sources we’ve blogged on that topic before, or the World Wildlife Foundation has information on the impact of climate change on wildlife around the world, and if you haven’t already, check out the information NASA has published on climate change!

Let’s take care of Planet Earth, our home!

by student blogger, Irina Cristache

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