What is climate change?
Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Every day we hear the words climate change, but few really understand how it originates, what it implies and what are the real causes of it. In today's post, we come to give a scientific overview of what climate change is, so that we can understand in an informative way what processes alter the Earth's cycle and how it affects us, the human species.
As Jeremy Rifkin rightly introduces in his book The Global Green New Deal , climate change "alters the Earth's hydrosphere, which is essential for sustaining life on the planet. The Earth is a liquid planet. Our ecosystems have developed over time in line with water cycles and thanks to clouds. For every degree that the Earth's temperature increases due to global warming, the water holding capacity of the atmosphere increases by 7%." This results in extreme rainfall events, rising global temperatures, floods and the destruction of ecosystems; among many other catastrophes.
When we talk about the greenhouse effect, it is necessary to emphasize that this is a natural process of the planet that has allowed the development of life on Earth. The atmosphere retains part of the sun's heat and without it, the earth's temperature would be about 18º below zero. The problem comes from those activities that emit harmful substances, which cause the retention of more heat in the atmosphere. This is when global warming occurs and, consequently, climate change.
In the past, changes in the earth's temperature occurred gradually, taking millions of years to complete these cycles of warming and cooling. Nowadays, these changes occur in just a few years, reaching levels that in other times have led to the extinction of some species. Climate change is present, and therefore we must make amends if we want to ensure life on Earth as we know it.
Other factors, apart from the harmful gases emitted by vehicles, industry and chemical production, that contribute to climate change are deforestation, the destruction of marine ecosystems and the constant increase in population, with its massive production of plastics and its excessive consumption of natural resources.
"Although this is a process that takes years, our consumerist and production-oriented pace of life is leading us by leaps and bounds to our own self-destruction."
One of the most serious consequences of climate change is the appearance of violent meteorological phenomena such as hurricanes, cyclones, extreme rains and droughts or floods. Another of the main problems caused by climate change is the acidification of the oceans, desertification and the extinction of many species.
As temperatures rise, the polar ice caps begin to melt, raising sea levels and causing coastal shorelines to be affected in the form of flooding and climate disruption.
But climate change also affects society, as it changes the scenarios of economic activities such as agriculture or tourism; and human health itself, threatened by new diseases. Pollution, resource scarcity, droughts and other symptoms of climate change have deteriorated the health of a large part of society. The increase in respiratory, heart and other diseases is a reality, especially in large cities.
One of our main missions at Way To Zero Waste is to educate on how to minimize the problem on an individual scale, informing about the different possibilities to contribute on the road to a carbon-free Earth. That's why we want to remind you of the things you can do at home:
Recycle and reduce the waste we generate.
Eliminate plastics from our regular purchases. If possible, choose an alternative of another biodegradable or compostable material.
Improve the management of valuable elements such as water.
Opt for a more sustainable mobility: promote travel by bicycle, on foot or by public transport, use the carsharing service or opt for an electric car.
Climate change is already a reality that is expressed all over the planet through the rise in average temperature. Help us to fight it!