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  • Dora Ollivier Alarcon

Save our planet or burn it?

Global warming is occurring now and is one of the most serious threats to life on our planet.

Long-term heating of the earth’s surface observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) is called Global warming. Over the last 800 000 years, the climate has changed by natural causes, but in our era of global warming, the climate has primarily been defined by human activity. The main influence is the burning of fossil fuels, for example coal, oil gasoline and natural gas.


Global warming takes place, when carbon dioxide (Co2) and other pollutants remain in the atmosphere and captivate sunlight and solar radiation. Usually these pollutants (greenhouse gases) would bounce off into space, but they stay caught in the atmosphere and can remain there for many years, trapping the heat and causing our planet to get hotter. The impact this has on earth is called the Greenhouse Effect.



Since the pre-industrial period, temperatures have risen by 1 degree Celsius. This number is thought to be increasing by 0.2 degrees Celsius every decade.


In most cases, global warming is connected to extreme weather conditions, like the melting of glaciers, longer and hotter heatwaves, more frequent droughts, heavier rainfall and more powerful hurricanes and storms. In 2015, the longest drought in 1,200 years took place in California. Scientists suggest global warming affected the intensity of this drought.

Climate scientists discover more about the consequences of global warming every day and therefore gather more evidence of the disastrous influence it has on our planet. A goal was set to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040 if we do not want to face the menacing future that awaits us. It is thought that if we do not manage to reduce our emissions significantly by 2030 it will have disastrous effects on people’s lives and force 100 million people into poverty.


Although everyone will be affected by global warming not everyone will be affected equally. More vulnerable communities will be impacted harder. Global warming is a key driver to poverty, displacement, hunger, and social unrest. Droughts and floods will make it harder to farm, which will lead to hunger and eventually social unrest. A large part of the population will also have to change their places of residence, hence the rising sea levels in coastal areas.

Even though this often seems like a hopeless situation, it has not yet reached that point and if we act quickly, it might still be possible to change something. Many projects with exactly that goal have begun to act but are still not enough. Everyone can contribute to the restoration of our planet. Fossil fuels should be kept in the ground. That can only happen if all countries move their economies away from fossil fuels as soon as possible and invest more in renewable energy. Changing our main energy sources can help to reduce the use of fossil fuels. This includes switching to sustainable transportation. Improving farming and encouraging more vegetarian diets also makes a difference. Though the most important action we need to take is the protection of our forests and our oceans.


There are two paths we can take: saving the planet or destroying it. Which one should we take?...


Image source: https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/nature/climate-change-causes.htm

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