These five facts will force you to realise that future generations will not see the world the way you have
If that doesn’t worry you, what will?
Sure, we could start with how big global warming is. Sure, we could tell you that every puff of your cigarette or every air conditioner you pass makes it worse. But we’ve already done that. So let us put things into perspective for you.
And no, we are not trying to scare you.
We’re past that now, it is already time to realise that we’ve been pushed over the edge and it demands nothing but action.
These five facts will force you to realize that future generations will not see the world the way you have.
1. Rise in temperatures: In January this year, Donald Trump felt cold when he saw a lot of snowfall around. He did what he does the best, railed against global warming. If it snows, how can the planet be getting warmer? Trump can get away with this absurdity, but the human kind cannot.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – an organisation which has been tracking planetary warmth for the past 139 years – 2018 was the fourth warmest year on earth, in recorded history. The trend is scary and continuous; 2016 was the hottest, 2015 was the second warmest and 2017 came third.
Moreover, climate change is not restricted to high temperatures but includes changing weather patterns like erratic rainfalls and extreme cold. These changes are a part of a chain reaction – all that end up unsettling the delicate natural cycle of climate and weather.
(2016 was the warmest year ever recorded)
2. The melting Himalayas: Undoubtedly, the gigantic Himalayas are the world’s most precious treasure in terms of the biodiversity they have. Though many people are yet to explore these mountains, their activities seem to have already made an imprint.
The rise in temperature has wreaked havoc on the glaciers, making them melt at an unimaginable pace.
Millions of people in the South Asian region depend on the rivers that emanate from the Himalayas and a comprehensive study of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region suggests that the Himalayas could lose two-thirds of its glaciers by 2100 if global warming continues at its current rate.
The same report which has taken inputs from more than 350 researchers said that the Himalayas could heat up by (4.4 degrees Celsius) by the year 2100. The impact of this change is immense – on the people living in the surrounding area, and the biodiversity present there, and the millions who derive their livelihood on Himalayan produce.
(Millions depend on the Himalayas directly or indirectly for their livlihood)
3. Bleaching of The Great Barrier Reef: Remember those beautiful and colorful pictures of The Great Barrier Reef in Australia which is home to millions of species? Well, they might disappear soon. In fact, over half of it has already disappeared in the past three decades because of ‘coral bleaching’.
A coral reef lives in a symbiotic relationship with algae (zooxanthellae). This algae serves as a great source of nutrients and gives the coral its unique color. Because of an increase in the temperature of the water, the algae are expelled out of the coral, which essentially means that the coral loses its source of nutrients. As a result, the corals become highly susceptible to disease and they die.
According to a report published in the journal Nature, by The ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australia, ocean heat waves in 2016 and 2017 have resulted in the mass bleaching of the coral reefs. Worst of all, they are losing their ability to regenerate.
To understand the extent of this damage, have a look at this fact: The Great Barrier Reef consists of a 2300 kilometer long ecosystem, is home to innumerable species of marine animals. It is considered to be the largest living organism on the planet and can even be seen from the outer space.
(The Great Barrier Reef the Marine Biodiversity Hotspot)
4. The disappearing Amazon forests: 390 billion trees and an unimaginable number of species spread over nine countries, spanning an area of 7,000,000 km – that is the size of Amazon forests, or as many call them – the lungs of the planet. But these lungs are in bad health and there is no improvement in sight. The forests have suffered and continue to suffer in the last century.
According to one estimate, around nine percent of the Amazon rainforests have disappeared since 1985, which has severely impacted its ability to control carbon emissions. Let’s say the world is able to cap the average temperature rise to 2%, as compared to the pre-industrial levels. Even in this best-case scenario, Amazon could shrink by at least 20-40%. Imagine the loss of endemic flora and fauna that thrive in these forests!
These forests act as a wall between the carbon dioxide levels and the natural environment of the earth but this wall is collapsing.
(The Amazon Forests are called as the lungs of the planet)
5. The water crisis: Remember when the famous hill station of India – Shimla, situated at the foothills of Himalayas had to ask the tourists to go back because of acute water shortage? Or when the parched Indian city of Latur was forced to get water supply from a place which was 342-km away via a train? Well, thanks to our activities, this soon could be a reality for many more cities.
Let’s have a look at some facts: Only 2% of earth’s water is fresh, the rest is salty. Out of this around 70% is restricted in the form of ice, the rest 30% is underground and the rivers and lakes have just 0.5% of it.
(844 million people lack basic drinking-water service)
The change in the weather pattern and water pollution has had a devastating impact on this meager amount of water available.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 844 million people lack basic drinking-water service and around 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces! And the situation is only deteriorating. If that doesn’t worry you, what will?