The recent and tragic event of hurricane Harvey in Houston Texas, USA, have caused a rise in the topic of climate change and its impacts on our earth. According to NASA, climate change refers to a change in the usual weather found in a place: for example, changes in typical annual rainfall, which places on earth have snow, or even a shift in the average temperature of a location.
What are the possible causes to climate change?
There are many causes to climate change which are natural. For example, the sun could emit less or more energy, the oceans may change, or even natural disasters such as volcano eruptions. However, the causes to climate change aren't always natural as they can be caused by humans. How? Well many things that we do every day affect the climate; driving our cars, heating and cooling our houses as well as cooking food. These simple, daily tasks that seem harmless can affect our climate as it uses energy, which is produced from burning coal, oil and gas, hence emitting gases into the air and polluting our atmosphere.
Effects of climate change on the earth’s environment
One of the main, and well-known effect of climate change is global warming. Global warming is the increase of the temperature over the years, which has had severe impacts on our environments over the years.
Our environment is affected in many ways such as by melting of the arctic ice cap leading rise in the sea level which could possibly cause tsunamis and hurricanes such as the recent one in Texas. Hurricanes for example are caused when the temperature rises in the ocean, the hurricanes will draw heat from the ocean and turn into powerful and destructive storms. For further information on Hurricane Harvey, previous hurricanes and possible future ones click here. Other impacts that global warming has on our environment includes the extinction of some of our favourite animals such as polar bears, as well as causing droughts that could kill our crops- which is leading to a food crisis in the near future. However, global warming is a major effect of climate change; consistent drops in temperature in some areas can also cause stronger and longer snowstorms.
Climate change is affecting many countries and its people
Some amazing female activists you should know are Yin Yu, Zarna Joshi, Sarra Tekola and Afrin Sopariwala. They have formed Women of Color Speak Out, to try and discuss these issues in depth, and try provide solutions.
“So much of what we do in the climate movement is not just about the science, it’s about the people” - Zarna Joshi
Both Joshi and Sopariwala have discussed in an interview, that this issue, climate change, is having big effects on people living within poverty. An example is the heat stroke that has hit India (in 2015), which according to Joshi, killed 2,330 people, mainly those who were vulnerable due to poverty.
“For me, as a person of colour and as a woman, because my people have been oppressed by the system, it helps me more readily reject these false solutions,” - Sarra Tekola
What can you do to help?
These are a few tips that you probably have already heard off, but if more people follow these, it could truly make the smallest difference. Use the least energy possible by not wasting water (e.g. turn off water when brushing teeth, shower instead of taking baths), using heaters and air conditioners only when needed, as well as turning the light off and TV when not in use. Additionally, planting more trees would also be greatly helpful as it would increase the oxygen in our air, and reduce the carbon dioxide (main cause of global warming).
Lastly and most importantly, educate yourself about our earth, our environment and climate change, because the more you know, the more you will understand, and can help.
This is an issue that needs all of us to mitigate it.
For John Oliver's hilarious and informative video on the Paris Agreement and why it matters- click here
For Boey Kim Cheng's startling and moving poem- click here
Written by Priyanka Chandra & Noor Al Hamadani