The world has seen several tumultuous events affecting nature in recent times. Indeed the climate changes observed prompted the official signing of the international climate agreement, a climate deal that saw countries accept their contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and pledge to take the recommended measures to reduce these emissions and the effect that they have on climate. Other deals aimed at protecting the environment and reducing climate change include the UN’s International Civil Aviation Org deal that in 2016 pledged to curb emissions produced by international flights. A marine reserve was created in Antarctica’s Ross Sea, and the amendment of the Montreal Protocol, a climate deal that was also put in place to protect the ozone layer through reduction of greenhouse gases and use of hydro fluorocarbons. These are all great efforts but, on yesterday President Donald Trump, the leader of the free world signed an executive order to cancel all of President's Obama's renewable energy initiatives. This was a major setback for the entire world because the United States usually sets the precedent for other nations. We must be hopeful that the other countries remain committed to the COP21 agreement and that businesses and organizations will increase their sustainability initiatives. We must remain hopeful.
However, despite the deals, 2017 continues to experience warmer winter. Other adverse environmental effects that have been on the minds of the global environmentally-conscious minds include the continued fog of air pollution that hangs over London like a measure of darkness. The city’s air pollution is associated with cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases. However, there seems to be a silver lining through the cloud of smog. The government has recently issued a July deadline to come up with a clean and legal way to reduce this air pollution.
Apart from such cases of excess air pollution in cities such as London and Beijing, another worrying effect of climate change is the scarcity of water in various parts of the world. According to a UNICEF report (https://www.unicef.org/publications/), the climate change plaguing the earth will result in one out of four children living in an area of extreme water scarcity by the year 2040. Water crisis is already being sharply felt in Iran and is said to affect countries in Middle East, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in the near future. If that’s not enough, the heat that made 2016 the hottest year in recorded history seems to be continuing its ravage in 2017 according to the World Meteorological Organization. The heat in 2016 was made worse by the El-Niño and human activities that made changes in the earth’s atmosphere.
But It Starts with You...
These effects of climate change are worrying as the increase in temperatures, air pollution, melting ice caps, ice bags and shifts in precipitation patterns will have adverse effects on human livelihoods, economies, human health and will affect entire ecosystems, agricultural yields and society. Climate change affects everyone and the effect of human-based activities that contribute to these changes is felt by everyone eventually. Hence, we must start by embracing green living and reducing our carbon footprint and have a more involved approach in joining groups that lobby for change.