As I was rushing about last week, trying to complete my holiday shopping, I broke out in a sweat – temperatures were comfortably resting in the mid-60s with less than a week until Christmas. While I’m not necessarily complaining, it brings to mind the meme circulating on social media of a man sporting an uncomfortable facial expression which states – “When you’re enjoying the warm weather in December, but deep down you know it’s because of global warming.” Reports show that temperatures have not been this warm since the 1930’s- and it’s apparent this is not a fluke.
Climate change has been a hot topic of discussion – and debate – for years now, but many are still uneducated about what it actually is, and the effects on our world. Merriam Webster defines global warming as “an increase in the earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect, resulting especially from pollution.” Polar bears and other animals struggle to survive as climate change threatens their habitat and even their species; environments and landscapes are being rapidly affected on a mass global level.
While recently perusing my Instagram feed, I came upon a sobering post from (mic_news) titled “ 10 Absolutely True Facts About Global Warming”
Top 5 included:
1. The decade of 2000 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record.
2. Over the past century, global average temperatures have risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. For every two degrees Fahrenheit of warming, the areas destroyed by wildfires increase by 200% to 400%.
4. The global sea level has risen by an average of nine inches over the past 140 years, with up to three more feet expected by 2100.
5. By 2050, up to 35% of earth’s species will be at risk of extinction.
Given these sobering facts, we must face this important issue and take immediate action. So, what can the average person do to help?
NRDC.org suggests that energy conservation is one way that we can do our part; implement these helpful tips on a daily basis:
• Turn off your electronics when you’re not using them, such as computers, TVs, and game consoles.
• Shut off the lights when you’re not in the room.
• Use LED lightbulbs, which use up to 85% less energy than regular lightbulbs.
• Unplug rarely used appliances.
• Enable the “sleep mode” feature on your computer, allowing it to use much lower power during periods of inactivity.
• Configure your computer to “hibernate” automatically after 30 minutes or so of inactivity. This mode turns the computer off in a way that doesn’t require you to reload everything when you switch it back on. Screensavers actually use more power; they do not conserve energy.
• Only purchase desktops, laptops, printers, and scanners (and other appliances) that bear the Energy Star logo.
Zaria Forman is a forward-thinking artist from Brooklyn who uses her artwork to challenge your knowledge and perception of climate change. Forman was a featured keynote speaker at November’s TEDTalk in New York City; she explained that people often become immune to the negative reports they hear on the news, but visual images cannot be denied – they have the power to alter their opinion and realize the urgency of the issue at hand. Visual images of landscapes affected by climate change convey Forman’s message and urge a call to action; while the images show the beauty of the land, they simultaneously illustrate the threat that climate change imposes. Zaria has participated in numerous expeditions and continues her mission to raise awareness for this important cause; follow her journey at zariaforman.com, Instagram: @zarialynn, Twitter: @ZariaForman.
With undeniable evidence surrounding many of the causes of global warming have occurred from human influence and actions, we must all take action to try to slow – and stop – the damage which has already been done. Education is key; utilize your voice and do your part to help preserve the world we live in. Climate change may remain a matter of debate for some, but it is unfortunately not a topic that will disappear anytime soon.
For additional information and tips on how you can help, please visit the National Resources Defense Council’s website at http://www.nrdc.org/action/