The globe is warming slowly and the weather is changing as time goes by. Environmentalists argue that these changes are expected since our actions are not environmentally friendly, thus there is no need to panic because this is a crisis of our own making. Another school of thought disagrees with this proposition and they argue that global warming is caused by natural forces that are beyond our control (Driessen, 2006).
There can be no argument that climate change is real and is affecting everything on Earth in one way or another.
The issue is what is the cause of climate change and what is the impact now, and in the future, on the earth and humanity? The debate which is raging around the world is the cause of global warming. Is it more man-made (anthropogenic) than natural? Is it more natural than man-made? If it is more man-made then what do we need to do to help correct the problem as quickly as possible to reduce effects?
If it is more natural, how long can we expect this “cycle” to last and what are the short and long-term effects?
In other words, what are the sustainability issues for humanity and earth?
Global warming refers to an increase in the earth’s near-surface air temperature and the ocean when they are taken as an average and this rise is thought to have begun in the 20th century. Global warming is caused by different factors although all of them are put either under the human activities category or natural forces category. Human activities carry the lion’s share in causing global warming and there is a need to check them to reduce the pace of global warming. Global warming is a real phenomenon and it needs to be tackled without delay.
This is because it has a very serious effect on mankind as well as on earth. A further rise in temperature will result in a decline in food production (Princotta, 2008). Food production will decline because different plant species will die and disappear. It is worth noting that plants complement one another and thus if the vital one dies then food production is affected by great margins. There are also worries that more land will become dry due to increased evaporation rate as temperature rises and this is not good for plant growth. The animal is expected to migrate in large numbers from colder regions into warmer ones and vice versa and this is bound to increase competition for the available resources.
The movement of animals from one region to the other is good but it carries huge health risks. This is because these animals introduce new parasites into the virgin environment and once these parasites attack a new host they can cause very strange and dangerous diseases at the same. It takes time to find a cure for new diseases and by the time a cure is found, many people will have been lost in the process. New diseases affect the new host seriously because they have never suffered from that illness before and thus their body immune system is not prepared to tackle the causative agents of the new disease.
An increase in a very strong hurricane such as hurricane Katrina poses a major threat to the well-being of the people (“Windows”, 2009). Katrina caused heavy flooding, loss of properties, life breakdown of communication infrastructure among many other things in New Orleans. Continuous flooding especially in Asia has resulted in the outbreak of waterborne diseases which kill in days. Heavy floods can also kill people through drowning.
The earth is affected by global warming the same way human beings are affected. The sea level is expected to rise by 23 inches in this century (“Windows”, 2009). Wetlands are slowly decreasing affecting the balance that exists in the ecosystem. The thickness of the sea ice during the summer season is decreasing year in year out and such changes are bound to be witnessed through changes in ordinary ocean circulation. Accumulation of acid in the water flowing to water bodies is slowly eating the coral reef.
Since these problems are already known policies to counter-attack the effects of global warming are being made. However, it is not an easy task this is because every policy that is crafted has to tackle the problem holistically and this is not easy. For instance, climate change effects on induced on water pose a threat to human health through changes in water quality and availability (“Implications”, 2009). Additionally, although water supplies and sanitation is determined primarily by non-climate factors, in some population climate change is expected to exacerbate problems of access at the household level.
Farmers need to be provided with water for irrigation. However, this is not a permanent solution. For example, the use of recycled water for agriculture needs careful management otherwise it will cause disease that affects occupational health and food safety. Thus if a policy aims at mitigating a problem rated to global warming, accurate data has to be provided. It is widely accepted that unrepresentative data can underestimate the full extent of natural variability leading to wrong policies.
Princotta (2008) warns that a new school of thought is emerging and its theories are causing chaos as we try to tackle global warming. This new school of thought thinks that global warming is a good thing altogether. This is because the increase in temperature results in increased photosynthesis leading to an increase in food production. Although no quantifiable data is available to refute these claims we need to be careful while dealing with global warming. Furthermore, technological development offers new challenges as we try to work out with the available data. This is because the introduction of new scientific tools always questions the accuracy of data that was derived earlier on. Therefore we need to agree on the way forward on this one.
In conclusion, global warming is a real threat to our survival. To tackle the problem effectively we need to collect all the available data which will in turn aid our decisions making and policy formulation. All opinions that are raised concerning global warming should not be quashed for the sake of it, instead, we should look into their details to discover the missing link in the knowledge that we have. New technology should also be integrated into our fight against global warming and our policies should be holistic.
Driessen, P.K.(2006): The real climate change catastrophe; Misguided energy policies are harming the world’s poor. Web.
Gaps In Knowledge And Suggestions For Further Work. Web.
Godish, T. (2004): Air quality. New York: Lewis Publishers Implications For Policy And Sustainable Development. Web.
Princotta, F. (2008): Global Climate Change and the Mitigation Challenge. New York: National Risk Management Research Laboratory.
Windows to the universe: Effects of Climate Change Today. Web.