How Will Climate Change Continue to Affect Us?: Crash Course Climate & Energy #8 - YouTube

Alfred Tang

Alfred Tang

Oct 17, 20234 min read

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How Will Climate Change Continue to Affect Us?: Crash Course Climate & Energy #8 - YouTube

So far, average global temperatures have already risen a full degree Celsius since before the Industrial Revolution, about 260 years ago. This may not seem like a significant change on a personal level, but when the entire planet warms by one degree on average, it has far-reaching consequences. The additional energy added to the system brings about a lot of change.

One of the most startling effects of climate change is the displacement of people due to sudden, extreme weather events. The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that more than 20 million people are displaced every year as a result of events like flooding, fire, and storms. These events are becoming more frequent and severe as the planet continues to warm. The impact on communities and individuals is devastating, as they lose their homes, livelihoods, and often their loved ones.

Another consequence of climate change is the rising sea levels. As glaciers and ice sheets melt, the average global sea level has already risen by around 20 centimeters in the last 150 years. While 20 centimeters may not sound like much, it has already been enough to drown low-lying areas. The threat of coastal flooding and erosion is becoming increasingly urgent, especially for communities living in vulnerable regions.

Essentially, climate change takes the local weather we are familiar with and amplifies it. Whatever weather we are experiencing, be it droughts, rain events, or cold snaps, it becomes bigger and more extreme. This heightened variability makes it even more difficult for communities to adapt and cope with the changing climate.

Plastics by the Numbers

On a different note, let's discuss the impact of plastics on our environment. Plastics have become an integral part of our lives, but their disposal and recycling have become major concerns. The numbers associated with plastics, often marked with the "chasing arrows" symbol, are meant to identify the type of plastic used for a product. However, it is important to note that this symbol does not necessarily mean the product is recyclable.

Plastic pollution is a significant environmental issue that is contributing to the degradation of ecosystems and the well-being of living organisms. Plastics take hundreds of years to decompose, and as they break down into smaller pieces, they can release harmful chemicals into the environment. Marine life, in particular, is severely affected by plastic pollution. Countless marine animals, from whales to turtles to seabirds, are ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic waste, leading to devastating consequences for their health and survival.

It is vital for us to rethink our consumption and disposal of plastics. We must prioritize reducing our usage of single-use plastics and opt for more sustainable alternatives. Recycling is also crucial, but it is essential to understand the recycling capabilities of different types of plastics. By familiarizing ourselves with the numbers and symbols associated with plastics, we can make informed choices and contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.

Connecting the Dots

While seemingly unrelated, both climate change and plastic pollution have significant implications for our planet and our future. They are both products of our unsustainable practices and consumption patterns.

The increasing temperatures caused by climate change contribute to the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, which in turn leads to rising sea levels. This poses a threat to coastal communities and ecosystems. Plastic pollution exacerbates these issues by contaminating our oceans and harming marine life. The production and disposal of plastics also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, further exacerbating climate change.

To address these interconnected challenges, we must adopt a holistic approach. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to consider:

  • 1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" holds true for both climate change and plastic pollution. By reducing our consumption, reusing materials whenever possible, and recycling responsibly, we can minimize our impact on the environment.
  • 2. Support Sustainable Practices: Choose products and companies that prioritize sustainability. Look for eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics and support initiatives that promote the circular economy, where materials are reused and recycled instead of discarded.
  • 3. Raise Awareness and Advocate for Change: Spread the word about the impact of climate change and plastic pollution. Encourage others to take action and advocate for policies that support renewable energy, waste reduction, and responsible plastic management.

In conclusion, climate change and plastic pollution are two pressing issues that require urgent attention. They are interconnected and share common roots in our unsustainable practices. By understanding their consequences and taking action, we can work towards a more sustainable and resilient future for ourselves and future generations.

Resource:

  1. "How Will Climate Change Continue to Affect Us?: Crash Course Climate & Energy #8 - YouTube", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVUuwHGLIYo (Glasp)
  2. "Plastics by the Numbers", https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/plastics-by-the-numbers/ (Glasp)

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