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Humans and Climate Change

Calvin Penaco

Caring for the environment has always been a major concern of nations around the world.
As much as possible, we want to make sure that we incur minimal environmental damages as we
pursue commercial and industrial development. This is apparently in light of the fact that whatever
happens to the environment necessarily affects individuals on the ground, not just in terms of
individual health but in terms of sustaining the entire earth's life as well.

Climate change is clearly a major concern that the world should focus much attention on.
Not only does it play a major role in the lives of the present generation, but it also plays a great role
in the lives of the future generation.

It is the phenomenon where the earth's temperature intensely increases to an extent that the
world becomes hotter than normal. This is mainly caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases,
particularly carbon dioxide, in the lower atmosphere mainly due to human activities such as
combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation, etc. Over the years, the average atmospheric concentration
of carbon dioxide has increased by 30% since preindustrial times. Due to these conditions, it is very
likely to affect the frequency and magnitude of weather events, like storms and floods, around the
world. For instance, this will cause sea level rise of oceans and melting of glaciers due to thermal
expansion. Climatic zones, ecosystems, and agricultural zones, for example, could start shifting
toward the poles. Many ecosystems may decline or fragment and individual species might become
extinct. These are glaring indications that climate change has already begun. The faster the rate of
climate change, the greater the risk of damage to the environment will be.

Now, what are the imminent dangers that the world is facing because of climate change?

It was foreshadowed earlier that climate change is likely to cause natural disasters, like
storms and floods. Because of the rising sea level brought about by melting glaciers and thermal
expansion, terrible disasters such as tsunamis and storms, are likely to occur. Take for example the
tsunami incident in Sri Lanka which caused the devastation of several landmasses and
infrastructures. There were around 478,000 casualties, 35,000 of which were dead and 443,000
were displaced, or the storm Ondoy that struck the Philippines with dread and fear because of the
devastation it caused to its people, homes, and businesses. These catastrophes, which bring about
incalculable amounts of risks, are largely attributed to the fact that climate change is existing and is
continuing to occur. Not only does it threaten the individual, it threatens the entire world as well. It
hampers the development of nations and their people.

However, as much as we want to hate disasters, we also have to realize that we are the ones
who gave way to climate change. Humans and their activities are the main causes of it. Activities
such as burning of fossil fuels, which releases lots of carbon dioxide into the air, or deforestation,
which removes thousands of trees which absorb and lessen carbon dioxide, are crucial factors that
contribute to the continuing existence of climate change. Big businesses, factories, and
establishments that release too much carbon dioxide and individuals burning products that release
carbon such as plastics, are also prime contributors to the development of climate change.

Since we, humans, are the ones responsible for bringing about climate change, then it is we,
who can end it. If all of this started because of us, then all of this can end, or at least be minimized
because of us. Yes, we've gone so far. We've done humongous bad things. But it's never too late for
us to change our ways. It's never too late for us to realize that we've been careless and unmindful of

the harmful consequences of our actions.

There are several ways for us to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. As citizens,
let us help our governments in our own little ways in doing this. Since climate change emerges from
little things that humans do, we can also start the mitigation in our own little ways. People in the
household can try recycling products, for instance, instead of burning them. Drivers can simply tune
up their cars to make sure that their engines don't give off harmful smoke, or they can try getting
hybrid cars or fuel-efficient cars instead of those that have internal combustion engines. Some can
simply plant more and more trees, for plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide in the air, to reduce
carbon emissions.

In a macro level, however, governments around the world can have actions that seek to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as shifting to other energy sources like wind and solar power
instead of burning fossil fuels, giving financial incentives for households or commercial
establishments that recycle products, imposing carbon taxes for companies to discourage them from
emitting too much carbon, or participating in different global climate change commitments like the
Kyoto Protocol, and other things.

Clearly, climate change is a very urgent concern which needs urgent actions both in micro
and macro levels. As individuals, let us help minimize its bad effects in our own little ways. As
countries, let us have policies and projects that will discourage further carbon emissions.

Let us save the world we live in. Let us save it for ourselves and our children.