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Planet in peril: The climate crisis

“Three things exercise a constant influence over the minds of men: climate, government and religion”. – Voltaire

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns on earth. Such shifts can be natural occurrences due to changes in the Sun’s activity but since 1800s, human interference and activities are mainly responsible for the accelerated climate crisis that we face today.
Climate change is no longer a distant threat but a phenomenal reality that requires immediate attention and action. With constant rise in temperature, we are witnessing some massive weather shifts across the globe. The glaciers are melting at a much faster pace, unusual rainfall in deserts often leading to hailstorms and flooding which resultantly leads to human displacements and crop destruction. Floods, droughts, rising sea levels, heat waves, wildfires and super storms are becoming the new norm in today’s climate crisis.
Climate change is the long-term shift in Earth’s average temperature and weather conditions. Over the last decade, the world was on average around 1.2oC warmer than during the late nineteenth century. It is on record that global warming exceeded 1.5oC between 2023 to early 2024. That caused 2023 to be declared the warmest year on record.
The need to identify the reason, to understand and to address the causes of climate change has never been so urgent. Currently, climate change is primarily driven by human interventions and activities. Fossil fuel burning, deforestation, including disruptions of eco marine systems and industrial emissions are major contributors for releasing green house gases into atmosphere. These gases comprise mainly of carbon dioxide and methane that traps extra heat energy over the Earth’s surface resulting the planet to heat up.
The effects of climate change are far reaching. We are already witnessing the extreme weather conditions which are affecting eco systems, world economies and human survival.
Underdeveloped countries are facing the worst impacts because of lack of resources and awareness about how to tackle this threat. Climate changes are affecting the food and water resources while increasing the natural disasters, which bring along significant health care challenges to inhabitants of these underdeveloped countries. Other than the internal challenges faced by underdeveloped countries, the developed countries are now putting external pressures through climate change regulations to deter these underdeveloped countries to fully exploit their natural resources to grow in the same manner as the now developed countries. Thus, the developed countries are using this global legislation to stop the underdeveloped countries from doing what they themselves did a few decades ago; all in the name of development, industrialization and advancement.
Additionally, common dilemma faced both by countries that have efficiently managed the greenhouse gas emissions and also by such underdeveloped countries that do not have the level of industrialization which is present in the developed countries. The industrial giants in resourceful developed countries can carry on their blatant exploitation of natural resources and continue harming the climate by buying Carbon Credits from companies in underdeveloped countries, A standard that they have come-up with on their own and seems to have been forced down upon nations globally.
Among the most effective ways to address climate change is to transition away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower. Global powers need to come together and invest massively in clean energy infrastructures to reduce greenhouse emissions and create models for viable economic growth to enhance energy security.
“Huaman kind can no longer afford to ignore the repeated warnings of Nature” – Xi Jinping
Deforestation is another disaster that is contributing to our current climate crisis. Forests, wetlands, and coral reefs play a pivotal role in regulating and balancing Earth’s temperature. Protecting and restoring these ecosystems is essential for preserving biodiversity. Conservation efforts, reforestations, and sustainable energy management can collectively contribute to deter the monster that we have unleashed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that in the near future, between 2030 to 2050, climate change will be directly responsible for two hundred and fifty thousand deaths per year due to malnutrition, insect borne diseases and heat strokes. In another study, The World Bank predicted that climate change can displace one hundred and forty million people from their home countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America by 2050.
Addressing climate change requires collective global, national, and individual efforts. Identifying and realizing the threat is one thing but working collectively on addressing the threat is the only way forward. Earth is the only home to humankind, and we have abused its bounties by taking them for granted. The threat of climate change is no longer a threat but a global emergency which is resulting in countless catastrophes. Through serious and genuine efforts, together we can work in saving our planet by creating and adapting sustainable solutions for ourselves and our generations to come.
“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” – Guy McPherson.