“We are the last generation that can fight climate change. We have a duty to act.”
-Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary General
Over the past century, the average temperature of the Earth has risen by 1.5°F. Over the next one hundred years, scientists are projecting another 0.5 to 8.6°F rise in the temperature.
The cause of this temperature change is human activities that have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (such as methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases) into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy.
Results of this global warming include:
- rising ocean temperatures,
- a more acidic the ocean,
- melting ice caps, and
- rising sea levels.
The IUCN has predicted that 20-30% of plant and animal species are likely to be at an increased risk of extinction due to climate change.
Climate change will also impact humans and especially the world’s 2.6 billion poorest people. “Receding forests, changing rainfall patterns and rising sea levels will exacerbate existing economic, political and humanitarian stresses and affect human development in all parts of the world.” (United Nations Development Program)
Everyone can take simple actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate for our personal contribution to the problem, and build greater community resiliency.