Global warming is one of the most pressing environmental issues facing the world today. The Earth’s average temperature has risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next hundred years.
This may not seem like much, but it has already begun to cause problems for the planet. For example, the Arctic is melting. The ice in the Arctic helps reflect sunlight back into space, and without it, the Earth’s average temperature will rise even faster. The melting of the Arctic also threatens the animals that live there, such as polar bears and walruses. Global warming is also causing the sea level to rise. As the ice in the Arctic melts, it adds water to the ocean, and the ocean level is rising about an inch every ten years.
These changes are affecting us all—from farmers who can no longer grow crops because there isn’t enough water available during droughts caused by increased temperatures; to coastal communities that have had houses destroyed by flood waters brought on by unusually high tides; to people who live in parts of Asia where air quality has gotten so bad that it’s hard for them breathe outside.