The Elephant in the Room

Global warming is a big problem in the world right now.  It has, and will continue to, make the world’s temperatures warmer.

By burning fossil fuels, the gases trap solar radiation (electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun) in the Earth’s atmosphere, slowly making the climate warmer.  According to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the primary greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor and methane. Without them, our planet would be too cold, and life would not exist like it does today. But too much of a good thing isn’t good.

The human contribution to global warming is a regularly debated subject, but most people agree humans have contributed to it a lot. A lot of scientists believe that it is 95-100% humans fault after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conducted a study in 2013 stating that in their report. We have definitely contributed with our burning of fossil fuels and carbon emissions.

A lot of animals are affected by global warming.  According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the animals most affected by global warming are polar bears, snow leopards, giant pandas, tigers, monarch butterflies, green sea turtles, both species of elephants, cheetahs and mountain gorillas but a lot more species are affected. They can be affected in lots of different ways, for example, loss of habitat or scarceness of food.

One of the most affected animals are polar bears as they depend almost entirely on the sea-ice, but it is melting quickly due to global warming. Right now their International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status is “vulnerable” but that could get worse.

Another animal that is highly affected is the green sea turtle, the reason being that their lifestyle depends on the temperature (for example, where they lay the eggs, the temperature of the sand effects the sex of the baby turtles). Their IUCN Red List status is “endangered” at this point in time.

The last animal I want to talk about is the giant panda. They have a diet solely consisting of bamboo, which is being wiped out by global warming. Their IUCN Red List status is “endangered” at this moment in time.

It is unfair for the animals to have to pay for a man-made problem, but there is some hope. We can’t undo the damage we have already done but we can stop releasing gases and harming the ozone layer. You can do this by using renewable energy, reducing water waste, buying energy-efficient appliances, driving a fuel-efficient vehicle, actually eating the food you buy, eating less meat and walking more.

I would recommend checking out the Committee on Climate Change website for further information and resources!

Image Credit

  1. Feature Image: kthtrnr
  2. Solve Global Warming Now: Tony Webster
  3. Ice: klem@s
  4. Polar Bear: Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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