So today is blog action day, and this year the big drive is to get everyone talking about climate change.
Now this is quite a big topic and one that I feel quite strongly about, among many other things. It’s just unfortunate that I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to really work on putting this post together with lots of interesting (and quite scary) facts and figures like I had originally planned. So instead you’ll have to put up with just a brief ramble from me that may or may not go some way towards encouraging you to think about the state that the world is currently in.
Pretty much everyday there’s some story in the newspaper about climate change or the causes and outcomes of climate change. Be it global warming, deforestation, you carbon footprint – all sorts of things. For example I came into work this morning and the first article that appeared on my google reader was this from the bbc:
I guess many people might think that this is not relevant to them as really, when are they ever going to go to the Arctic?
But just think about it. All the ice in the arctic holds an incredibly large amount of water, and a whole set of ecosystems have developed and become established in this enviroment. With such a change to the area some creatures may find it very hard to survive and could become virtually extinct. Also the effect of all the previously frozen water becoming part of the general ocean system will lead to increased sea levels that will in term lead to flooding of low lying areas, potentially displacing thousands of people and compromising further environments and ecosystems.
And this is just one element of all the effects that results from climate change.
Take one of the main issues, the increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Not only is this causing the temperatures to rise, resulting in many environmental changes including desert expansion, but also the carbon dioxide levels in the sea are also rising (as the levels between the water and the air are in equilibrium). The effect of this may not be immediately obvious, but the main problem is that the changes in CO2 levels can have a dramatic effect on the state of the world’s coral reefs.
I should make the point here that while I am a scuba diver and so would really appreciate there to still be coral reefs for me to dive on in 30 years, the impact of the decline in coral reefs goes way beyond my personal enjoyment.
The distribution in the amount of life present in the ocean is heavily biased towards the coastal areas, in particular the coral reefs. The light and the nutrients present here provide the ideal breeding ground for many species, and this abundance of life encourages predators to also frequent these areas. Whereas far out at sea the nutrient levels are far lower so apart from a small amount of pelargic animals the main body of the ocean is relatively deserted.
If you then consider the human population, the vast majority of communities throughout the world are based on or very near the coast, and an extremely large amount of these rely on fish as their main source of protein and it is the backbone of many peoples diets. Where does this fish come from? Well from the shoals that live in and around the reefs to sruvive of course.
And so the cycle begins. If the coral reefs are in decline, then fewer organisms will be able to survive in the declining ecosystem including fewer fish, so there will be less fish to feed the ever growing number of people that need food. When you combine this with then general world food shortage where not enough crops are grown then we really are building up a very bleak picture indeed.
Now the idea of this blog post is not to make you all thoroughly depressed. Rather to get you thinking about the implications of how you live your life. Here are a few of my suggestions as to what you can do:
- be aware of the issues out there, and spread the word so that we can get this message out to everyone. There are some very good organisations and resources linked to from the blog action day website so you can find out more information
- petition any organisations or governments that are setting up or continuing schemes that contribute to climate change
- support one or a few environmental charities, such as WWF or Project Aware. Even just a pound a month will help.
- recycle as much as possible and encourage your neighbours to do the same
- do not litter. It may well end up trapping or choking an animal, or could end up in the sea contributing to the quite frightening levels of plastic currently swirling around the pacific ocean, as illustrated here
- be aware of just how many resources you use each day – try and limit your fuel, water, electricity etc to only what is strictly necessary
The main thing to remember is just be aware and try and live your life accordingly.
Make lifestyle changes in small steps so that they become habit, no one is expecting a miracle.
And try and encourage others to do the same. The small steps we each take may seem fairly inconsequential but together it will add up to a big change.
And if you’ve got all the way to the end of this rambling post then contragulations! You’re probably in need of a beer right now…
(* Images taken from stock.xchng)