The Effects Of Climate Change On Our Generation: Is the damage beyond repair?
As raging fires envelop the forests of Australia, and oceans submerge vulnerable coastal regions, climate change is no longer a matter of debate, it’s a terrifying reality.
Global warming has become one of the most discussed topics world-wide, so much so, that many have accepted it as part of their impending future, suppressing these thoughts and continuing with their daily lives.
However, climate change does not only affect wildlife and sea-levels, its consequences could be so detrimental on human life that, teenagers like us, will be stripped of our futures.
If warming continues at the current rate, global temperatures will likely rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052.
Even though this may not sound devastating, it will magnify the catastrophic effects already seen today, causing a sharp increase in acute and life-threatening storms that will affect various regions in different ways, depending on their development, population density, geographical location and quality of infrastructure.
Overall, however, an increase of 1.5-2 degrees Celsius will not be fatal to the world’s entire population.
We will likely adapt to the changes.
Nevertheless, if we do not act against climate change now, its negative effects will intensify drastically.
This is because greenhouse gases accumulate in our atmosphere, remaining for up to a hundred years, making every molecule emitted today an unwelcomed legacy
for future generations.
In this short article I will describe how climate change, if ignored, will affect our generations’ livelihoods along with what impacts it may have on the world politically, economically and even socially.
As mentioned before, an increase of 2 degrees will not be life-changing for the majority of the world's population. However, any increase after that will cause detrimental changes.
Depending on the rate of our emissions, in 60 years’ time, the Earth could reach an increase of 3-4 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
This is when our lives will take a truly unchangeable turn for the worst.
Scarcity of necessary resources:
As expected, spontaneous weather and floods (or extreme drought) will negatively affect
Millions will be left without fresh water and sustainable nutrition and regions that depend on agriculture for the stability of their economy will be left with no reliable source of income.
In addition, ocean oxygen levels will reduce whilst acidity would increase, leading to more “dead zones” (areas that don’t support most aquatic life) and a 90% decline of coral reefs.
As a result, aquatic diversity will sharply decrease, directly impacting about half a billion people worldwide who depend on coral reefs for food, livelihoods, coastal protection and tourism.
All the points mentioned above will lead to a world-wide deficiency in many necessities, leaving struggling nations with no other option than to fight for these resources.
This may spark conflicts or full-on wars between desperate nations trying to keep their heads above water.
Unsurprisingly, the factors above will play critical roles in crashing the world-wide economy , however, the effects of climate change on jobs, businesses and industries (especially gas and oil industries) will cause a greater impact .
As the world becomes more globally aware, natural resources, such as oil and gas, will be abandoned for more sustainable sources of energy, creating less demand for these reserves, battering the industry and leaving many nations without their main source of income.
Due to income reduction (as a result of failing economies), food and water shortages, and uninhabitable environments, world-wide migration will ensue.
Climate refugees will flood into countries with stable economies and obtainable resources, creating a demand for jobs that will not be matched and a strain on the nation’s already limited supplies.
Extinction of countless species and the spread of disease:
If climate change were to continue, insects are expected to lose more than 43% of their range, reducing the rate of pollination, fertile soil, clean water and successful agriculture significantly.
Areas with increased flooding (Northern Hemisphere high altitudes) will act as optimum breeding areas for diseased mosquitoes, potentially contributing to the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
There will be an increase of water and food borne diarrhea diseases as well.
Furthermore, as world-wide supplies dwindle, many will be left without suitable healthcare, possibly leading to the eruption of fatal epidemics.
In conclusion, regardless of whether climate change will affect us in 20, 30, or even 80 years, we must realize that our actions are not only carving the destiny of our lives, but the lives of coming generations.
How dare we consider our personal gain more important than the dreams and ambitions of those coming after us? How dare we leave our future in the hands of those too blinded by their greed?
No matter where greenhouse gases are emitted, their presence will affect everyone across the world, introducing many ethical challenges.
Developed countries will likely have sufficient infrastructural resilience to withstand effects such as rising sea levels, whilst poorer regions will end up submerged under water.
Furthermore, it is our responsibility and moral obligation, regardless of our country's rate of development, to care for the world which has provided for us since the beginning of time.
We must be the action behind the words, the power behind the will and the heroes where others have fallen short.
Because we are the last line of defense, and this is the final battle.