jueves, 14 de enero de 2016

Climate Change with Bill Nye

Climate Change is a real and serious issue. In this video Bill Nye, the Science Guy, explains what causes climate change, how it affects our planet, why we need to act promptly to mitigate its effects, and how each of us can contribute to a solution.

Self-study activity:
Listen to the video (don't watch it, please, as some information is shown on screen) and answer the questions below.

1. How much temperatures have risen in the last century?
2. Which have been the 10 warmest years on record?
3. Which have been the negative consequences of modern humna activities?
4. Why are oceans important?
5. How much has ocean surface acidification increased since 18th century?
6. How much have sea levels risen in the last century?
7. What's the consequence of the glaciers melting?
8. Why does eating less meat help the environment?

We hear it so much that it feels like a buzzword, but it is far from it, Climate Change is a real and serious issue. But isn’t the climate always changing? What exactly is Climate Change and why should we care? Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Most of these slight changes are caused by small variations in the earth’s orbit. But climate change as we know it today is characterized by an abrupt increase of the earth’s overall temperature, estimated at (1) 1.2 to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in just the last century. While humans have only been recording temperatures for the last 150 years, (2) the 10 warmest recorded years occurred in just 12 years through 2014. 97% of climate scientists agree that this new tendency is not caused by the variations of the earth orbit but rather very likely caused by human activities.
That means you and me….
Since the Industrial Revolution we have come a long way. Humans built airplanes, faster cars, developed incredible technology, and learned how the natural resources around us can be used for our benefit. Although this has led to many wonderful inventions and advancements, like the device you are using to watch this video, or the ability to take a plane halfway around the world, it also means we have increased our consumption of natural resources and in turn, released a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases occur naturally, but in excess can be dangerous to our planet. (3) Modern human activities have increased the release of non-naturally occurring greenhouse gases because we have stepped up our demand for burning fossil fuels. Greenhouse gases’ chemical composition trap heat radiated from the sun. The more heat they trap, the warmer our planet gets.  And as our planet gets warmer we begin to feel the effects: One of climate changes’ biggest victims, our oceans.
(4) Oceans regulate the earth’s temperature and provide 50% of the Earth’s oxygen. Climate change has increased the global temperature of oceans by more than point-3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. Although a warmer ocean might seem inviting to a beachgoer, it actually has devastating consequences for supporting life at sea. One of those consequences is ocean acidification, a direct effect of increased dissolved CO2. (5) Since the late 18th century ocean surface acidification has increased by 30%
A higher acid content means calcifying species like oysters, clams and shallow water corals are at risk, putting the entire ocean food web at risk. This is bad news for the 1 billion people relying on the ocean as its primary source of protein.
Climate change has also caused the sea level to rise. (6) Just in the last century sea levels have risen 6.7 inches. But the rate in the last decade has nearly doubled. Sea levels have risen because as world wide temperatures go up, glaciers, and ice sheets have seen their overall mass melt significantly. Antarctica lost 36 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005. And since 1994, each year on average, the earth has lost 400 billion tons from its glaciers. When all that ice melts, it fills up our oceans, and just like filling up a bathtub, the shores can’t hold all that water, and (7) coastal regions get flooded.
A troubling sign of Climate Change are increased extreme weather events. Natural disasters, like floods, tornadoes, and deadly heat waves are more obvious to humans because of their immediate impact and the sharing of their images in the media. 
Climate change, as we know it today, is change in our Earth’s overall temperature with massive and permanent ramifications. Although its consequences can be planet threatening, scientists still believe there are things we can do on a personal level to help: Recycle and reuse things. Walk or use public transportation to get to work. Turn off your electronics when you are not using them. (8) Eat less meat, roughly 18 per cent of greenhouse gases are caused by livestock farming. While you are at it eat more locally grown vegetables and foods. And last but not least, spread your knowledge and concerns about climate change with others.
When it comes to Climate Change, the main takeaway is that it's real. And although we were part of the cause, we can also be part of the solution.