‘If you really think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while counting your money.’ – I don’t know who said this but that person said it right.
‘Climate Change’ is probably one of the few phrases along with ‘Global Warming’ that is thrown around on a daily basis and it’s rightly so, because every action of ours has a direct or an indirect effect on the environment around us. This reminds me of a certain Butterfly Effect which goes like this – Everything matters, simple. That even a flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. A single occurrence, no matter how small can change the course of the world forever. The worst part? It’s irreversible.
The role of human activity In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there’s a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet. The panel also concluded there’s a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years. (NASA, 2017)
Still, some people don’t believe it unless they see it with their own eyes. ‘Seeing is believing.’ Well, for special snowflakes like that, NASA has dedicated a database of images of before and after climate change called ‘Images of Change.’ Here’s the link to that – https://climate.nasa.gov/images-of-change
The consequences of climate change Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.
A degree of difference So, the Earth’s average temperature has increased about 1 degree Fahrenheit during the 20th century. What’s the big deal? One degree may sound like a small amount, but it’s an unusual event in our planet’s recent history. Earth’s climate record, preserved in tree rings, ice cores, and coral reefs, shows that the global average temperature is stable over long periods of time. Furthermore, small changes in temperature correspond to enormous changes in the environment.
For example, at the end of the last ice age, when the Northeast United States was covered by more than 3,000 feet of ice, average temperatures were only 5 to 9 degrees cooler than today. (NASA, 2017)
Climate change impact on Latin America Latin America’s climate is changing. Precipitation patterns are shifting, temperatures are rising, and some areas are experiencing changes in the frequency and severity of weather extremes such as heavy rains. The impacts range from melting Andean glaciers to devastating floods and droughts.
The two great oceans that flank the continent—the Pacific and the Atlantic—are warming and becoming more acidic while sea level also rises.
Unfortunately, greater impact is in store for the region as both the atmosphere and oceans continue to rapidly change. Food and water supplies will be disrupted. Towns and cities and the infrastructure required to sustain them will be increasingly at risk. Human health and welfare will be adversely affected, along with natural ecosystems.
Researchers are moderately confident that Amazonia, northeastern Brazil, Central America, the Caribbean, and some parts of Mexico will see increased drought conditions. Of particular concern is the prospect of more frequent extreme droughts in the Amazon, which could push the region to a “tipping point,” increasing the likelihood of a large-scale dieback of the Amazon forest.
After four years of below normal rainfall São Paulo, Brazil was experiencing its worst drought in over 80 years by mid-2015. The city’s main water system, the Cantareira reservoir, supports the water needs of 5.3 million people, but by August 2015 it was at record low levels with less than 17% of its normal water capacitydown from the 9 million before the drought. Officials in August 2015 declared the city’s water situation “critical,” and Moody’s Investors Service in early September estimated that the Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de São Paulo had roughly five months of stored water supply remaining. (World Wide Life, 2017)
But, it’s not too late. From Elon Musk’s efforts to decreasing the usage of fossil fuels to afforestation in Africa, positive initiatives are being taken by the people all around the world.
Here are some of the best initiatives taken.
But what do we do, as AIESEC? – as a Youth Leadership Movement? Remember that everything matters? The Butterfly Effect? Well, we are doing our best to partner with organisations that care for #ClimateAction and enable us to create relevant projects to at least raise awareness.
If you feel strongly for the cause of protecting the environment and making a much needed difference in Latin America, it’s your chance to make a change and volunteer for this cause, all costs on us, thanks to one of our partner – Iberdrola 🌳. To find out more and register click here