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Photo by Patrick Hendry

Photo by Patrick Hendry

We increasingly see signs that our planet is asking for help. The forest fires in Siberia, ocean pollution, Australia wildfires, disappearing glaciers, heavy rains and floods, abnormally high temperatures, tornadoes, and many other natural disasters are happening to the earth right now.

Can we help, or do we wait for the Apocalypse?

How Many Years Does The World Have Left?

Stephen Hawking called on humankind to populate other planets to save the Earth. Hawking justified this by the fact that humanity will eventually fall victim to a catastrophe to the level of extinction. Maybe sooner than later. Hawking perceived many potential threats: artificial intelligence, climate change, GM viruses, and nuclear war, to name just a few.

In 2016, Hawkings told the BBC: "Although the probability of catastrophe on planet Earth may be quite low this year, it will eventually sum up and become almost certain within the next thousand or ten thousand years.

Hawking's views coincide with those of entrepreneur Alon Mask, another science superstar whose thinking is attracting much attention. In 2013, Musk said at the conference, "Either we spread the Earth to other planets, or we risk extinction. The event of extinction is inevitable, and we are doing more and more of it ourselves."

While this sounds reasonable, many of us cannot now assemble a spaceship and fly to another planet. However, we can now take care of our home planet, Earth.

For all our successes, humanity remains vulnerable to natural disasters. Hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, fires, floods, and other natural disasters can be caused by global warming.

What Is Global Warming?

British scientists say that global warming can have catastrophic consequences for the planet.

Human activity has increased carbon dioxide emissions, leading to higher temperatures. Extreme weather conditions and melting polar ice are among the possible consequences.

  • The average temperature on Earth is about 15 degrees Celsius, but in the past, it was much higher.
  • There are natural variations in the climate, but scientists say temperatures are rising faster now than in many other cases.
  • It is due to the greenhouse effect, which describes how the Earth's atmosphere captures some of the Sun's energy.
  • Solar energy radiated back into space from the surface of the Earth is absorbed by greenhouse gases and emitted again in all directions.
  • It heats both the lower atmosphere and the planet's surface. Without this effect, the Earth would be about 30 degrees colder and more hostile to life.
  • Scientists believe that we are increasing the natural greenhouse effect, as gases emitted by industry and agriculture store more energy and raise the temperature.
Photo by Bianca Benini

Photo by Bianca Benini

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What Is The Evidence of Warming?

  • The world is about a degree Celsius warmer than before industrialization, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says.
  • Over the past 22 years, 20 of the warmest years have been recorded, and the years 2015-2018 are among the top four.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, the global average sea-level has increased by 3.6 mm per year.
  • Most of this change is due to an increase in water volume as it heats up.
  • Currently, ice melting is considered the leading cause of the sea-level rise. Many glaciers in temperate regions of the world are deteriorating.
  • The effects of climate change are also evident in vegetation and land animals. These include earlier flowering and fruiting plants, as well as changes in animal areas.
  • Changes in global surface temperature between 1850 and the end of the 21st century are likely to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to most simulations.
  • WMO claims that if the current warming trend continues, temperatures could rise by 3-5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

How Will Climate Change Affect Us?

There is uncertainty about how strong the impact of climate change will be.

It could lead to a shortage of freshwater, dramatically alter our ability to produce food, and increase the death toll from floods, storms, and heat. It is because climate change will probably increase as often as extreme weather events occur, although the link of any single event to global warming is complicated.

Photo by Ronan Furuta

Photo by Ronan Furuta

We should care about climate change

When the world gets warmer, more water will evaporate, resulting in more humidity. It means that in many areas, there will be more intense rainfall and, in some places, even snowfall.

However, the risk of drought in the interior will increase during hot summers. Storm flooding and sea-level rise are expected to increase. Developing countries, which are least equipped for rapid change, will be most affected.

The extinction of plants and animals is predicted as habitats change more rapidly than species can adapt. The World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned people that the health of millions of people could be at risk from increased malaria, waterborne diseases, and malnutrition.

As more CO2 is released into the atmosphere, the absorption of gas by the oceans increases, making water more acidic. It can create severe problems for coral reefs.

Global warming will cause further changes that are likely to lead to further warming. It includes the release of large amounts of methane in the form of permafrost, a frozen soil found mainly at high latitudes, which is melting.

Responding to climate change will be one of the biggest challenges we will face in this century.

How Can You Help The Earth To Survive?

  • Change the light. Replacing one ordinary light bulb with a compact fluorescent lamp will save you 150 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Follow the three "Rs" to conserve natural resources and landfill space.
  • Drive less. Walk, ride your bike, car, or take public transportation more. You should save one pound of carbon dioxide for every mile you do not drive!
  • Volunteer. You can volunteer to clean up in your area. You can also be involved in protecting your watershed.
  • Recycle more. You could save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling only half your household waste.
  • Buy natural, reusable, eco-friendly, recycled items.
  • Enlightenment. By promoting your education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources.
  • Check your tires. Keeping your tires well inflated can increase your gas mileage by more than 3 percent.
  • Each gallon of gasoline you save prevents 20 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
  • Save water. The less water you use, the less wastewater and runoff you put into the ocean.
  • Make sure you use less hot water. Hot water takes a lot of energy to heat the water. Use less hot water by taking a shorter, more lukewarm shower and washing your clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot water (carbon dioxide savings of more than 500 pounds per year).
  • Avoid products with large quantities of packaging. You could save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide by reducing waste by 10 percent.
  • Do your shopping wisely. Buy less plastic and take a reusable shopping bag with you.
  • Adjust the thermostat. When you move your thermostat down by 2 degrees in winter and up to 2 degrees in summer, you can save around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Use incandescent bulbs with a long life. Energy-efficient lamps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, flip the light switch when you leave the room!
  • Plant a tree. One tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.
  • Do not send chemicals into our waterways. Pick non-toxic chemicals at home and at the office.
  • Turn off your electronic devices. Simply turning off your TV, DVD player, computer, and your stereo system when you're not using them will save you over thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide per year.

To Sum Up

By communicating with officials about this issue, by learning about global warming, and by making energy-conscious decisions, people can play a meaningful role in what should be a worldwide effort to respond to global warming.