Today is World Environment Day and the main message is that Climate Change is not a theory or an opinion. It is happening already today. Eleven of the last twelve years were the hottest on record. The ice caps are melting, the ice shelf is breaking up and the glaciers are retreating. Sea levels are already on the rise and Indonesia reported last month that up to 200 of its islands is in danger of disappearing. Violent storms are becoming more frequent and at the same time, other parts of the world face severe drought. The effects of Climate Change are numerous and life changing if not life threatening in some parts of the world. I will just make a quick list here but encouracge you to read more on the topic yourself.
TOP TEN CLIMATE CHANGE EFFECTS
1) Loss of ecosystems – many ecosystems from the sensitive Artic tundra, Antartica, alpine and coral reef ecosystems will be affected. Corals may bleach with rising sea temperatures and all life on coral reefs may be affected.
2) Loss of species – already the extinction rate of plants and animals is the highest since the disappearance of the dinosaurs but climate cjange is likely to affect many plant and animal species and push them off the edge of extinction.
3) Water shortages. Severe drought is occuring in parts of USA as well as in parts of Africa. Australia’s long drought may mean the loss of billions in agriculture as no water is available for farms in Southern Australia this year. Glacial fed rivers like the Mekong have more waters in Spring from melting glaciers, causing flooding but the water is insufficient for the rest of the year.
4) Agriculture crop failure.
This would range from food staples, fruits and animal products. Food shortage and food security are important issues.
5) Severe storms like the ones that hit Stanley Park in Vancouver last winter become more frequent and severe, causing a lot of damage.
6) Rising sea levels would put many coastal areas under threat of disappearance or erosion. This would also project saline intrusion and loss of major agricultural lands.
7) Diseases will spread out of their normal ranges. Hence the appearance of Western Nile Virus in New York. Vector borne disease may increase.
8) Insurance rates will skyrocket as damage from rising seas, violent storms as well and agricultural losses.
9) Housing developments near the coastline will be endangered resulting in large financial losses.
10) Combined effects may lead to the largest number of refugees (e.g. residents of islands under threat, Bangladesh, Netherlands and even Louisiana.
The warning is over. We are now in the midst of a Red Alert – disaster pending. We must act to prevent further global warming or else we will be faced with catastrophic and non-reversible Climate Change scenario.