In the current generation, various problems are seen due to the environmental changes. There are the extreme weather conditions and calamities in which hinders the development of individuals and most especially of nations. The environmental problems that are currently present are truly threatening to the lives of the people and create distress to those that are directly affected. Not only are the masses affected but also the medical and science community that research these occurrences. These communities must not only study the event but also, the science and medical community must know and resolve the problem. But one of the problems arising is also the possible resources available. Due to the degradations of biodiversities there are fewer resources which could possibly end the issue. However, it is still among the human beings to address these environmental problems. Humans made the problem therefore; they also have the ability to create a solution for it.
The planet that we live in is a place for us to create a space for our own. Living things are made for human beings to have a source of food, materials and etc. to live a prosperous life. The environment is rich with different plants, animals and organisms in which are very useful for or the daily living of human beings. However, our environment has greatly changed through the years. The perfect environment that we have is slowly degrading due to the activities done by human beings and through natural causes. The changes that the environment is currently taking does not only affect through physical means but it directly affects human beings.
The activities done in the past such that of the excessive burning of coal and their effects are now being suffered by the current generation. If examined closely, the effects of environment degradation is very much alarming to individuals. Changes in the weather convey the possibility of having diseases unknown to the medical community. It could also be assumed that the diseases are not as normal as those that been experienced in the past due to the changes of the environment. Such effects are able to happen to different people in the world and are a great threat to most human beings. It is stated in numerous news articles that various known diseases as well as the newly discovered diseases are arising and affecting the lives of more people. The worst part of the problem is that most of the known diseases are much stronger than what had been studied before.
The noted effects of environment degradation are only some of the known effects of the changes which are currently occurring. The content of this paper will include the several causes and effects of the changes in the environment which are currently experienced by every individual and the various assumed results of such occurrence. In addition, this paper would also contain various actions in which different entities perform in order to stop the continuing problem in the environment.
What is Global Environmental Change?
The changing world that we currently have, our environment is one of the most affected entity in which human beings need to protect. Due to the possible effects of having this changing environment, different international organization, states and individuals are acting up in order to solve the problem in our environment. One of the organizations that strongly promotes the action against global environmental change is the WHO or the World Health Organization in which presents the definition of the Global Environmental Change that, “Large-scale and global environmental hazards to human health include climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity, changes in hydrological systems and the supplies of freshwater, land degradation and stresses on food-producing systems” (WHO, n.d.). The definition given by the WHO clearly stated that the global environmental change is a situation in which will devastate that entire world due to the effects that it is assumed to happen. Such situation given by the WHO is very alarming for the reason that there is a great possibility that all the people and regions in the world would be affected. It is known that the environment is not just a territorial issue but an issue of the whole society.
The environment is not only located in one single region thus it encompasses all the lands available on earth. It is known that the waters that we have flow in all parts of the world therefore one single pollutant placed in the water or a simple change in the cycle and temperature in the waters will create profound changes in the environment. In the documentary and book made by Al Gore entitled “The Inconvenient Truth” presented all the possible effect of the global environmental change. Although Al Gore highlighted the issues regarding climate change, all the issues will result to the same consequences such as the melting of ice bergs in North Pole and flooding in different states in the world (Gore, 2006).
The effects of this given situation only will not be addressed by simple limitations of some activities or resolution of some problems. The whole system of the world should be modified in order for the proper solution to the issue will be attained. The IPCC or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is also very much aware in the issues which are brought by the different changes in the world. The IPCC stated that, “many parts of the planet will be warmer. Droughts, floods and other forms of extreme weather will become more frequent, threatening food supplies. Plants and animals which cannot adjust will die out. Sea levels are rising and will continue to do so, forcing hundreds of thousands of people in coastal zones to migrate” (IPCC, n.d.). The IPCC stated that the global environment is facing great challenges to which it must be directly and immediately addressed. The uncontrollable and the unpredictability of the consequences of the problem is the most feared by the organization. Thus, making individuals and communities more uncertain to how destructive the assumed problems.
In all the issues under the environment one certain problem is given more focused by the all entities in the world which is climate change. Climate change is the most prevalent and the most popular in the world. Under the climate change issue are all the most destructive and most alarming consequences that the environment could bring to us. However before focusing mainly on climate change it is best to define and scientifically view the problem of climate change. The past United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Address to the UN Climate Change Conference Nairobi he stated that,
“Climate change is not just an environmental issue, as too many people still believe. It is an all encompassing threat. It is a threat to health, since a warmer world is one in which infectious diseases such as malaria and yellow fever will spread further and faster. It could imperil the world’s food supply, as rising temperatures and prolonged drought render fertile areas unfit for grazing or crops. It could endanger the very ground on which nearly half the worlds population live. All this and more lies ahead. Billion-dollar weather-related calamities. The destruction of vital ecosystems such as forests and coral reels. Water supplies disappearing or tainted by salt-water intrusion. Climate change is also a threat to peace and security. Changing patterns of rainfall, for example, can heighten competition for resources, setting in motion potentially destabilizing tensions and migrations, especially in fragile states or volatile regions…” (Kofi Annan, 2006)
Such speech of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is one of the most evident ways to see that climate change is really a threat not only to the lives of the people but also to the political conditions of the world. Therefore, the call for action of the Secretary General were one of the ways in with the world knew the factors relating to climate change. Different organizations, most especially the United Nations had been one of the most active participants in relating to the public and to states that climate change is an issue that must be resolved.
In the definition of the United Nations Environment Programme or UNEP climate change is the “The build-up of greenhouse gases (GHGs) threatens to set the Earth inexorably on the path to a unpredictably different climate” (UNEP, n.d). Although the definition presents that the world is creating more and more GHGs which are being absorbed by the atmosphere, the actions to create a solution does not simply rely on lessening of the GHG emissions which are currently excreted by different machineries used by factories, cars, appliances and etc.
In a much scientific perspective, Le Treut and Somerville discussed that climate change and stated that, “the climate system is a complex interactive system consisting of the atmosphere, land surface, snow and ice, oceans and other bodies of water, and living things.” The climate system truly is excreting natural GHGs which are caused by natural activities such as volcanic eruptions and solar variations. The authors have identified three primary ways in order to change the radiation balance of the Earth: “1) is the change of the incoming solar radiation; one example is the change in the Earth’s orbit or the orbit of the Sun. 2.) Is by changing the portion of the solar radiation that is reflected or the albedo, an example of this phenomenon is the changing of the cloud cover. 3.) Is the change in the long wave radiation from Earth back towards space, an example given by the authors is the change of the greenhouse gas concentrations.” These 3 fundamental ways makes the climate respond directly or indirectly through a variety of response methods. (Le Treut and Somerville, 2007).
The authors explained that the earth’s surface is warm due to the green house gases (GHGs). These gases act as a partial blanket for the long wave radiation coming from the surface. The process of blanketing is mostly known as the natural green house gas effect. The most important GHGs are water vapor and carbon dioxide while the most abundant GHGs that compose the atmosphere are the nitrogen and oxygen which doesn’t have much effect to the blanketing. (Le Treut and Somerville, 2007).
In a cloudy night, the temperature is much more warmer compared to the clear clouded nights because clouds are able to radiate long wave energy back down to the surface. Human activities increase the blanketing effect through the release of greenhouse gases. For example, the amount of carbon dioxide in atmosphere has increased by 35% in the industrial times, and this increase is known to be caused to human activities, mostly because of the burning of fossil fuels and removal of forest. In conclusion, humankind has severely changed the chemical composition of the global atmosphere with great implications for climate. (Le Treut and Somerville, 2007).
The authors added that because of the wind that flows more to the east-west compared to north-south. The temperature in North America maybe colder compared to other winters because of the wind patterns. Changes in the various aspect of climate system such as the size of ice sheets, the type of distribution of vegetation or the temperature of the atmosphere or ocean will affect the large scale circulation features of the atmosphere and the oceans. There are many effects of climate change. As enumerated by Le Treut and Somerville the climate system can either amplify or diminish the effects of climate change. As defined by the authors, amplified is the positive feedback that a change in the climate system can create. Diminish on the other hand is about the negative effects that had brought by the change in the climate system. One example given is the rising concentrations of GHGs that warms the Earth’s climate where in the snow and ice begin to melt. The melting reveals darker land and water surfaces that were under the snow and ice, and these darker surfaces absorb more of the Sun’s heat, causing further warming that leads to more melting and so on. (Le Treut and Somerville, 2007).
The Anthropogenic causes of Climate Change:
It is known to many scientists that climate change is a natural occurrence in the environment which is usually caused by natural events such as volcanic eruptions earth quakes and others. However, due to the over consumption of different individuals of certain materials, the natural cycle or the release of GHGs is pressed to be more active then usual. The regular absorption of the emitted gases is exceeded with results to different situations in the environment.
There are various anthropogenic causes of climate change and basing on the studies made by Le Treut and Somerville stated that during the industrial times the GHG emissions were in their highest. During the industrial period most factories use coal as the main heating agent and the fuel to their machineries. However throughout those times, no one knew about the effects that the excessive use of these materials could bring. While in the 1950’s scientists became aware of the activities and changes in the weather and therefore they called for the attention of the states in order for them to resolve the problem. But still, no one believed in the studies made by these scientists. After such announcement of the environmental situations, there were no actions involving the resolution of the environmental issue which further damaged the atmosphere and the climate and then led to the situation we currently have. (Weart, 2003) Air pollution and the use of harmful chemicals such as fuel and coal are still being used. Cars now a day are one of the well known reasons for emission of the GHGs due to the types of fuels being used for the machine. Another are the known factor are the appliances being utilized by most of the households in different states in the world. (Gelbspan, 1998)
The Anthropogenic factor of climate change are numerous and continuously being observed by many scientists. Some of the most evident example is the change of the temperature in different parts of the world which results to different natural disasters such that of the typhoons and hurricanes which currently are attacking certain places in the world. The effects of such occurrence had been tremendous that death of many people were apparent. One of the most popular events are the Hurricane Katrina which flooded the entire state of New Orleans and wiped out almost all the individuals and establishments in the state. Another example is the tsunami which hit South East Asia, specifically Indonesia in which until this very day many victims are struggling to cope with the deaths of their family and lost of their properties. (Gerrard, 2007)
Human implications of Climate Change:
The effects of climate change are countless and are currently seen and felt in different parts of the world. Not only that the developed countries feel the effects but most especially underdeveloped ones. But whatever perspective utilized in such situations it is still the individual entities which are greatly affected by the changes and the calamities brought by such environment issue. Most of the effects of climate change had been mentioned in the earlier parts of this paper. However, another concern which alarmed the medical society is the possible threats of new deadly viruses which could probably wipe out the entire population of human beings in the world. Although there are assumptions that due to the changes in the temperature and the cycle of biodiversity will not be like it was known before. Such diseases which are feared to spread are malaria and dengue. These diseases are known to be curable and are supposed to infect any individual or cause death however, the changes makes in the temperature and in the weather makes the virus more active than usual. In addition to the studies that such diseases will appear again, new types of viruses are expected and are already known to many scientists however these are still being studied until this very day. (Peterson and Johnson, 1995)
Other than the diseases that will possibly wipe out the living individuals, the territory and the land mass which humans are currently occupying. Due to the melting ice bergs in the North Pole it is possible that many countries would be flooded or their land mass will be lessened. Some even believed that the waters will occupy more percentage compared to the current proportion. Therefore it could be easily assumed that many resources will not be as available as before. Such raw materials in which are often seen in known places will be instinct. Such situations may cause conflict for the individuals and states. Attached to this kind of problem is lessening of the food supply which is currently produced in the world. In one way or another, the food consumption must be lessened in order to pacify the needs of each state. Another problem in connection to this is the need for proper nutrition given the individuals. If the prediction of the future situation of the world will truly happen, nutrition would also be an issue. Given that there are diseases that would threaten the lives of people, it is also a need for these people to maintain good health. Moreover, having food enough food consumption and proper nutrition is an issue at hand which is also needed to be resolved. (Peterson and Johnson, 1995)
Based on the righting of Jeffrey Sachs (2005) “The End of Poverty,” more and more people in Malawi are dying of malaria (Sachs, 2005). In connection to climate change and the future, it is alarming that during this time, many individuals are currently suffering the disease which is easily curable by medicines. However if seen in the a different perspective, if now—where our world is still not feeling much of the effects of climate change, what will happen to the future generations where more resources are much scare? It is frightening that more issues will unveil and more problems will rise in the future.
Our environment is rich with all types of resources which are available for any individuals in the world. The environment is the main source of the human kind in which every individual acquire their resources for food and material needs. However because of the changes that had occurred due to the natural cycle of the earth and the anthropological factors, natural resources that individuals have the privilege of having is slowly diminishing. The past actions during the industrial period became the peak of the usage of the most chemicals and materials in which emits GHGs that damages the cycle of biodiversity. Therefore, leading to all sorts of
The effects of the climate change is very terrible that it threatens the lives and the natural resources of the future generation in which is also the worry of the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan. The resources that we currently are the only resources that most of the future generations will enjoy and nurture. Therefore, the current generation must be able to protect the environment to make the future secured to other generations. In addition, the problem of environment is not the only for a certain location in the world furthermore it is an issue that must be resolved a communicated by different entities. Such entities are the corporations, which uses the technologies which are corrupting the environment. The second are the states in which creates programs and policies to direct the problem of environment. Lastly, the individuals are that ones that should be concerned with the environment for the reason that they are directly interacting with the environment and those that truly are affected by the consequences due to environmental degradation.
The effects of the global change do not merely mean that it is a limitation of natural resources but it threatens the health of persons in the world. Diseases which are formerly known and healed by simple medicines are assumed to be much harmful than they ever were. The former actions that could immediately heal a human body will be useless if ever such disease would attack. In the end, to be able to prevent the problem of environmental changes it is precise that everyone must be aware of the mitigation process that must be done. Noting that the inability of humans to present an answer to the problem also hinders the world for future development and in addition, it is the future generations which will be suffering all the consequences due to environment degradation. Because of this, we must act and fight the threats which are ahead of us.
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