“One day in the morning you’re gonna wake up and see that the half part of your country is flooded with seawater and the rest of it is burning with a temperature rise. Your family and friends are in danger and the conditions around you are so bad that the government has declared an emergency in your state. Straightaway for 5 days there will be a shortage of food because this year frequent occurrence of droughts has hit the production of crops hard.
Amid all this bad news suddenly you see the face of your child and realize that his generation will not be going to witness the beauty of this earth and its creature, and all because of our deeds & ignorance their generation will have to compromise with their future. That’s it”.
This is not a dream, This is an anticipated reality, This is climate change whose consequences will sooner or later be going to happen, and only we will be responsible, liable, and accountable for it.
So what is this climate change?
Climate change means the changes in the pattern of precipitation, temperature, seasons, tropical natural disasters, and extreme weather conditions. This phenomenon occurs when there exist an uneven presence of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor) in the atmosphere in large concentration. Due to the presence of these certain gases in the earth’s atmosphere what happens is that the heat gets trap and block from escaping, which causes a rise in temperature on the earth’s surface, this effect is also known as the greenhouse effect.
What are the consequences of climate change?
Earlier even for a few seconds we just witness and experience how terrorizing and destructive climate change could be. Now let’s discuss the consequences of climate change a little deeper.
For the sake of better understanding let’s divides the consequences of climate change into two forms, visible consequences, and future events, and let’s analyze that how visible consequences (which are happening) such as floods, drought, heavy rainfall, and rise in temperature, etc are leading and converting into future events (which are likely to happen in future) such as food crisis, health crisis, economic crisis.
Well, In agriculture we know every crop need a certain amount of air to breathe, sunlight to produce energy, soil to observe nutrition, and water to grow healthier in its environment but due to the changes in the patterns of precipitation, temperature, and tropical natural disasters these prime factors of production get affected adversely.
Like due to heavy rainfall not only the plants do not get enough sunlight to produce food but also the productivity of their soil drains away, similarly, the frequent droughts and extreme heatwaves not only affect the cleanliness of air for plants but also results in the reduction of water availability for them. These variations and inappropriate in the level of favorable factors ultimately affect the production of crops, both in terms of quantity of production and quality of production. Although some regions will have a positive impact on climate change mostly the net effect will be negative.
The fact to stress here are
1) Due to climate change, South Africa could lose more than 30% of its main crop maize by 2030, and India which is a monsoon dependent country could lose its cereal productivity by 10% to 40% by 2100 and wheat production by 4-5 million tones and similarly others quantity of production could also be affected.
2) According to Harvard University studies the extra co2 in the atmosphere enhances the speed of the photosynthesis process in plants which causes plants to grow with more sugar and less calcium, protein, zinc, and important vitamins which eventually affects the quality of production.
Climate change is not only holding the brakes on the level of production in agriculture but it’s also gearing up the speed of disasters (such as storms, hurricanes, floods, cyclones) and diseases (asthma, malnutrition, PTSD, heart diseases) in the environment which are directly affecting the lives of human beings, animals and nature. According to researchers climate change is responsible for around 150,000 deaths every year and the numbers could be double by 2030. The reasons behind it are severe diseases and disasters caused by climate change.
On human health
1) Climate change affects the physical health of the human body by giving birth to many diseases like malaria, dengue fever, diarrhea, malnutrition, asthma, lung cancer.
2) It also affects the mental health of the human body like many victims of natural disasters suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), women who had been a victim of natural disasters at the time of pregnancy give birth to the child who has the lesser cognitive capacity, smaller vocabularies and less imaginative play at the age of two. On nature and animal.
On nature and animals
Certain species of animals are also on the edge of extinction due to climate change. Their habitats are changing faster than they can adapt, for example, an elephant needs 40-80 gallons of fresh water a day, a Green sea turtle is very sensitive to the temperature, and similarly Giant Panda, snow leopard, polar bear, etc.
Those animals and plants who are flexible against climate change can survive but the ones who are inflexible are vulnerable to get extinct. Because plants and trees feed on soil seeds that get damage by visible consequences of climate. Whereas due to climate change ocean water is becoming more acidic due to increased HCO3 concentration in water, which is a result of an increase in CO2.
Climate change is not only collapsing the food system and health structure of various countries but also sabotaging their economies. And the ones who have to suffer the most are the poor countries and developing countries like in 2017 the damages of hurricanes that are faced by Texas were estimated at around $125 billion. According to a report, if no actions and policies are undertaken to mitigate the consequences of climate change then global GDP could shrink by 7 per by 2100, and according to WHO estimation, more than 100 million people could suffer from extreme poverty by 2030.
The long term damages of climate change on the economy could be costlier in terms of –
a) Huge investment in developing more effective power grids to withstand extreme weather conditions.
b) Affecting the fisheries, forestry, tourism, insurance industries, and the smallholder farmers who are dependent on climate and natural sources for food and income.
c) Rebuilding cost of the roads, buildings, railway lines, airport runways damage caused by rising sea levels and hurricanes.
Who is responsible for the consequences of climate change?
If we are talking about who is responsible for climate change then we are directly targeting those individuals and groups who are the major contributors to the emission of CO2.
Behind the consequences of climate change, there is only one aspect which is needed to blame and that is “Humanity and Modernity”
Human activities are the major concern regarding the consequences of climate change because prior being a contributor we are the one who has started it, we are the one who has with technology and for technology recklessly exploited nature. So, we are appropriately responsible, liable, and accountable for these consequences.
Under humanity and modernity, there are three major activities
Rich countries and Fossil fuel companies
There is a direct connection between wealth and carbon emissions, according to a survey richest half of countries are responsible for 86% of global carbon emissions around the world. The logic behind it is simple “the more a rich country will be, the more it will have the accessibility of electricity, heating, air conditioning, lighting, etc” which results in more emission of carbon footprints.
For example, the emission of the average Americans in just 2.3 days is as much as equal to the average of Nigerians in a year. On the other hand, if we talk about the contribution of carbon dioxide by fossil fuel companies then the fact to stress here is only the top 100 fossil fuels are responsible for 71% of the world’s global emission.
Agriculture activities and Animal husbandries
Agriculture is responsible for the emission of carbon in various forms like soil which acts as a carbon container releases more CO2 in the atmosphere when it gets disturbed by improper agricultural activities. Similarly, trees that sink the atmosphere’s carbon, release more CO2 in the atmosphere when they are cut down. Many farmers of different regions of the country also contribute to the emission of black carbon by setting fire to agriculture waste, stubble, and weeds.
Animal husbandries are another activity that is not only leading to rising carbon footprints and methane in the atmosphere but also provoking the visible consequences of climate change like droughts and intensive heat waves. What’s wrong with animal husbandries is if we calculate the aggregate amount of water required in animal husbandries then the ratio stands up to 1/3 world’s water consumption. This is a triggering fact cause, on one hand, animal husbandries are pumping huge GHG in the atmosphere through salmon, beef, pork, etc, and on the other, they are also enhancing the speed of transformation of visible consequences (drought, heat waves) into future an event (water crisis).
“India is a stunning example of this situation that how high dependency on animal-based products leads to water scarcity and depletion”.
Industrialization and urbanization
The industrialization has been started in 1750 and since then it has contributed tones of GHG in the atmosphere. Facts to stress here are
1) If we calculate total emission throughout history from industrialization till today then developed nations like the USA and EU have together emitted 47% of GHG in the atmosphere.
2) And now developing nations like India, China SA who are adopting industrialization are beating the emission levels of developed nations by emitting more.
Urbanization means an increase in the number of people living in cities and towns and the facts to stress over urbanization are
1) Urbanization is responsible for 40% of overall carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
2) Since urbanization means constructing more building which requires space hence trees (carbon sinker) are cut down in massive amount.
How can we individually mitigate the impacts of climate change?
The only way to control the impact of climate change is to control our emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Here are the measures that we can adapt and act on to reduce our impacts on the emission of greenhouse gases.
1) We can work on our daily diet by restricting the consumption of those food items which emit high carbon footprints in the atmosphere mainly like meat, pork, chicken, cheese, salmon and should consume more green vegetables, pulses, milk, tomatoes, daal, etc which emit only 0.7 to 4% of carbon in the atmosphere.
2) Since trees act as carbon sinkers hence we can also adopt the method of plantation in our vicinities individually or by joining the environmental concerned NGOs and groups.
3) We can work on our daily habits such as restricting the excessive usage of electricity, which can reduce 1/3 kg of CO2 in a day. Using a reusable shopping bag that can reduce 5kg CO2 a year, drying clothes on the rope rather than in machines can save up to 200kg CO2 a year.
4) We can also join and support the protests against climate change, share articles, websites, and current reports to aware others of the update of climate change.