Sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, and forests are being torn down at an alarming rate. Our wonderful world and its beautiful wildlife is being betrayed by the human race, but there is still time to save our planet and all of its beauty.
Climate change is real, and it is having a truly damaging effect on the earth, particularly animals across the globe.
While global warming poses a huge, growing threat to the homes, habitats and the health of our wildlife (including ourselves!), the knowledge of climate change and its effects are perhaps not as common knowledge as they ought to be.
With this in mind, we have put together a guide on how global warming, pollution and climate change is currently affecting our wildlife.
The world’s seas are absorbing over 90% of the greenhouse gases we are pouring into the atmosphere. These harmful gases are heating the seas, and when water gets hot, it expands. Half of the rise over the last 25 years can actually be attributed to the heatrise caused by climate change.
The alarmingly rapid melting of the ice caps, high-intensity winds and the aforementioned ocean warming is causing tides to rise and oceans to expand at a rapid rate.
Average sea levels have swelled over 8 inches since 1880, and every year the oceans rise 0.13 inches. A recent discovery actually found that global sea level rise began accelerating as early as in the 1960s, 30 years prior to previous assessments.
As well as mass flooding, rising sea levels can also cause hurricanes, typhoons, erosion and powerful storm surges.
Species affected: Experts state that rising sea levels threaten 233 endangered species. Some of the animals most at threat are:
Temperatures in the Arctic are warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world as a result of the release of greenhouse gases. 95% of the thickest ice in the Arctic has actually already melted thanks to excessive carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.
A recent study has predicted that the decaying of the Greenland ice sheets “threatens coastal cities around the world.”
Glaciers are important for animal habitats, but also for the planet as a whole, with bright white ice spots reflecting excess heat in order to keep Earth cool.
To put the alarming rate of the melting ice caps in perspective: Montana’s Glacier National Park was once home to 150 glaciers in 1910. It now has fewer than 30.
Species affected: Many animals rely on ice for hunting, as well as to live on. With so much of the ice across the planet melting, there is less and less room for species to survive.
The rise in temperature caused by climate change is causing detrimental changes to our ice caps and seas, but the increasingly hot temperatures are also damaging the environment and air our wildlife depends upon.
Scientists predict more droughts and heatwaves in the near future, while the temperature increases are massively unpredictable and far from smooth.
Human activity is the main cause of climate change, with our levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide causing trapped heat to change our climate in many ways.
Most common causes of these harmful gases come in the form of fossil fuels in cars, factories and power plants.
Trees trap the harmful greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide etc) and prevent them from spreading around our planet. When trees are torn down for agriculture, those gases are being released into the atmosphere.
The Rainforest Alliance claim that deforestation actually accounts for 10% of worldwide emissions, while agriculture/farming is responsible for roughly 13% of total emissions.
Climate change is also causing a huge reduction in plants, particularly in tropical areas. This means that animals have less and less food and resources to build their homes.
The IPCC report that as little as a 1.5 degree-celsius average rise would put 20-30% of our planet’s species at serious risk of extinction. This has to stop. We have to do more, and continue to do more.
Whether it’s reducing your carbon footprint, switching to green energy, or avoiding single-use plastics, we all need to pull together and be the solution to the problem that we, as a race, have created.
From creating educational children’s books to partnering and combining with other green enthusiasts, we will never stop our mission, but we need your help!