We’ve had a lot of questions from cadets about Climate Change recently, and more and more young people are concerned about what’s happening to our planet and the life on it. So we thought we’d cover off one or two of our most common queries, and offer up some ideas on how you can help!
Are climate change and global warming the same thing?
They’re not, but they are connected which is why it can get a little confusing. Global warming is how we describe the gradual increase in the temperature of the Earth. Climate Change is the name for the large-scale, long-term change in the planet’s weather patterns.
How has climate change become such a big problem so quickly?
In its 4.5 billion lifetime, our planet’s overall climate has shifted from tropical to ice age and back again many times. The problem scientists have discovered is that the current rate of global warming is much faster than ever before. The biggest reason for this is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that’s being released into the atmosphere. CO2 traps the heat, which means the planet can’t cool itself as well as it used to. The weather patterns are now changing more quickly than ever in Earth’s history, and the effects could be devastating. For plants, animals and us. Want to know more? Check out the Met Office Climate Change guide for more info.
What effects are you talking about? Things look OK to me.
We know what you mean! The sun’s out, skies are blue (until recently) and pretty flowers are everywhere. What’s worrying, is that it’s February! Animals wake up far too soon, while the days are still short which means there may not be enough plant growth to provide sufficient food. The increase in temperature has also caused trees to become dehydrated which can lead to forest fires, which in turn leads to birds and insects losing their homes. And that’s just the tip of the (rapidly melting) iceberg! Take a look at NASA’s Climate Change time machine to see how things were and what might happen in the future.
Yikes! This is scary stuff! Can we do anything?
It is scary. But the great thing is that more and more people are becoming aware of what a big problem it is and how it affects us all. And yes there are things we can do to slow the effect down while we find ways to deal with Climate Change as a whole…
?Get digging! Plants are nature’s CO2 scrubbing brushes, so the more we can plant, the more scrubbing power we’ll have. You don’t need a garden either. Window boxes and hanging baskets can all make a difference.
? Get on your bike! The less we use our cars the less CO2 gets pumped into the atmosphere. You can’t always avoid jumping in the car, but if you can hop on your bike or walk those smaller journeys, the planet will thank you.
? Play Fortnite! Seriously. Continuing education is really important, so a group of scientists know as the Climate Gamers have taken to Fortnite to help spread the word. Take a look at their YouTube channel!