Why should you take action against climate change?
Our earth’s climate is changing rapidly. We are already facing the impacts in Nigeria. Droughts in the north due to increased temperature, desert encroachment on arable lands leading to low crop yields or no harvest at all causing a growing threat of famine. Flooding in the south and coastal areas due to extreme events such as extremely unstable rainfall patterns leading to infrastructure damage, loss of lives and properties, unpredictable weather patterns which affects farmers dependent on weather to grow food. etc. These changes will affect our entire ecosystem.
The major cause of climate change is due to the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, natural gas etc. When we use products such as diesel, petrol, kerosene, natural gas, we add more carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere. Now carbon dioxide existent in the atmosphere traps heat therein just the way a typical greenhouse gas traps heat on the inside. This is why carbon dioxide is known as a “greenhouse gas.” Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around the planet, keeping heat from leaving the atmosphere. Thereby making the earth warm. This phenomena also known as the greenhouse effect causes global warming which is now making our climate to change.
As a result of this new shared reality of ours, experts, scientists, governments and world leaders came together in 2015 to launch the Paris Agreement and join forces to take action against climate change. The goal is to make joint efforts and reduce global temperature at 2 degrees celcius. Unfortunately, climate change impacts will be felt mostly by poor nations who are already grappling with problems around poverty and unemployment and some ravaged by dieseases and war. It is important to recognize that the exacerbation of each of these issues negatively affects the health, development and protection of the citezens. For example:
Fresh water is an important part of life. Climate change will cause more droughts, floods and rising sea levels which will contaminate water sources and make it difficult to find fresh water. Floods and drought will affect water quality by damaging drainage and poorly constructed sewage pipes causing human waste to seek into water supply. When less clean water is available people will begin to save it, use less to keep themselves clean thereby promoting poor hygiene leading to diseases. The unavailability of clean water can also cause conflict amongst neighbourhoods and societies.
Climate change will affect the foodchain or food security because the increased temperature or its unstable variations, floods will damage farms and food plantations. Increased temperature will favour pests and crop diseases causing them to attack plants and food crop. Leading to low yields and malnutrition affecting thousands of dependent population.
Due to these, people will begin to migrate to places they deem less threatening. Migration is a resultant effect of climate change. When families from poor countries migrate, there is an increased chance of abuse or trafficking for children and young women due to uncertain conditions.
As earlier stipulated, climate change will cause diseases such as malaria, cholera, dengue fever which are carried by insects affected by changing temperatures to thrive. These insects will now be able to breed in areas where they couldn’t before due to favourable weather causing a widespread of these diseases.
Extreme events (also known as extreme weather events) such as droughts, floods, cyclones and tornadoes will put people in danger, rendering them hopeless by destroying their homes or places of work. It will cause economies to take a nose dive due to loss and infrastructure damage which take millions to re-construct. There will be inflation as the government tries to recover and this greatly affects the people leading to increase in poverty and crime.
All hope is not lost. Our efforts may not be able to completely stop the changes in our climate, but there are actions we can take to reduce its current and future impacts by preparing ourselves and communities to adapt and mitigate climate change. For instance, we can take individual and collective action to reduce the amount of energy we use. We can make a decision to switch to clean energy sources like solar energy. We can make a decision to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we are responsible for releasing into the atmosphere which is known as our carbon footprint. Read my article on Carbon Footprints to understand it more and learn steps you can take to combat climate change.