John Oliver, Bill Nye and friends share the truth on climate change
“1 in 4 Americans are skeptical on climate change. Who gives a shit? That doesn’t matter. You don’t need people’s opinions on a fact. You might as well have a poll asking: Which is bigger 5 or 15? Do owls exist? Are there hats?” -John Oliver
But SERIOUSLY. Thanks for speaking the truth, John Oliver. (I know I keep claiming heroes on here, but in the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, you sir, are also my hero). I have to say, it kind of blows my mind to learn that there are still climate change skeptics and deniers out there. It’s 2015 people. Get with it.
What is especially insane to me is that individuals in positions of power are claiming that climate change isn’t happening, like the new Senate Environment Chair who is a notorious climate change denier... but that’s a rant for another time. As NDT has so eloquently said, “The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” PREACH! (insert two hands up, emoji here).
So, what is climate change?
In simple terms, climate change is defined as a change in long-term weather patterns.
Here’s a super quick science lesson: Our atmosphere is composed of several layers and many gases, including carbon dioxide (remember that one). A variety of human actions that take place on a daily basis, all over the world, contribute to carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. These activities include things like driving, manufacturing, and the cutting down of forests.
As the concentration of carbon dioxide and other gases increase (these are known as greenhouse gases), the atmosphere begins to store more and more heat from the sun. These rising temperatures result in global warming. (This process is also known as the greenhouse gas effect).
The occurrence of global warming is significant because it is harmful to the environment. Plain and simple. The temperature in the atmosphere largely dictates what the weather and climate patterns will be like, and the changes in the levels of carbon dioxide can, and have, lead to unexpected changes in our weather and the earth’s climate patterns.
For further explanation, here’s Bill Nye the Science Guy with some Climate Change 101.
Okay.. but why does any of this matter?
Why? Because, eventually, as the temperature continues to rise, the weather conditions on earth will become ever more severe. Spoiler alert! THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING.
The effects of climate change are already impacting communities around the world. Regrettably, it will disproportionately affect people living in poverty and people living in the developing world. This is especially troubling because the developing world hasn’t contributed nearly as much to greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to the global north.
So what can we do? Al Gore, former Vice President and climate change activist, warned us in a speech following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina that “we are facing a global climate crisis, and as it is deepening, we are entering a period of consequences.” The key takeaway here is that the time to act is NOW! We don’t have the luxury of wasting any more time. As we sit here debating whether this is happening or not and who or how we should solve the problem, the ice caps are melting, plant and animal ranges are shifting, and weather patterns are becoming more and more severe. That speech was given nearly ten years ago, and already the signs of climate change have increased significantly.
But I have some good news. Climate change is finally coming to the forefront of global discourse, and people are starting to realize how critical climate change mitigation is. This past September we saw the biggest climate march to date. And, coming up in 2015, we will see climate change discussed in a huge way. The UN will be hosting a climate summit in Paris to set new decisive climate action targets. If we’re ambitious enough, these targets will create a future free from the dangerous effects of climate change. We can't half-ass this- the future of our planet LITERALLY hangs in the balance.
Luckily, while the powers that be have taken their sweet time to address this issue, there are hundreds of organizations and activists out there taking this seriously and wasting no time to make a difference. The first step, global citizens, is to separate fact from fiction. Climate science is not a matter of opinion, politics or dogma. This is real and it is happening and the consequences are going to be catastrophic if we don’t do something about this now.
Stay tuned for some exciting events coming up in the next few months and tangible ways that you can get involved and fight for the future of our planet. Nothing matters more.