Earth is home to millions of species but our cleverness, our inventiveness, and our activities are now the drivers of every single global problem that we are facing and every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow in terms of our population.
There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.David Attenborough
Climate Change is the long term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place. The change causes weather patterns to be less predictable which makes it onerous to grow crops in regions that rely on farming. Climate Change has also been connected with other devastating events like more frequent and acute hurricanes, floods downpours and winter storms. The increase of temperature and climate upheaval also disturbs the ecosystem. We are already witnessing species disappearing. According to the IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change), the average rise might put 20-30% of the species at risk. The acidification of the oceans is also of great concern, permafrost and ice are melting massively at the poles, increasing the sea level at a rate never known before. The scarcity of resources and energy is already giving rise to conflicts among humans.
Needless to say, there are numerous natural factors causing climate change but there is substantial evidence that human activity has been the dominant cause of warming since the mid 20th century. The largest known contribution comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 412 parts per million in the last 150 years. There is a probability of 95 percent that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperature over the past 50 years.
With the government officials apathetic to climate change or flat out in denial, it is imperative that people take a stand and speak out. The masses have a different outlook towards this hurdle. Over the past two decades, Leonardo DiCaprio has lent his voice to our planet through his foundation- The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to raise awareness about environmental issues. 17-year-old Swedish Environmentalist Greta Thunberg has tried to awaken the world to the urgency of climate change with her protests. Another great example is Ridhima Pandey, an 11-year-old Activist from Uttarakhand who was among the 16 children, including Thunberg, who filed a complaint to protest the lack of government action on the climate crisis at the United Nations Climate Action Summit Field. She also filed a complaint against the Indian Government in 2017 because of its inaction against climate change highlighting the growing concern over pollution and environmental degradation in the country. Her first brush with activism began after she was moved by the devastating Uttarakhand floods in 2013 that claimed more than 5000 lives.
Amongst us, we have the savvy mortals who are aware of the extremity of the situation but somehow manage to overlook it and hide under their blankets of drudgery or leisure. Fortunately, myriads of people have realized the intensity and believe in “little drops make the mighty ocean”, They try to do their bit by planting trees around them, avoiding plastics and taking other measures that are effective. The worst that humans can do is turn a blind eye on the fact that the planet is in danger.
Fortunately, there are always things that we can do to fight against climate change and because it is us who has brought the planet to a level where it needs saving, it is our responsibility to get things right and preserve the planet for future generations. Simple things like saving energy, optimizing diets, avoiding plastics, using public transport and planting trees can make noticeable progress in this fight against climate change.
Malaika Mumtaz Khan is a student pursuing English Honors from Jamia Millia Islamia.