Two thousand and sixteen was the warmest year on record according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). With an average temperature of 61.5 degrees Fahrenheit, weather and climate disasters caused a total of 53 deaths and $18.3 billion dollars in damages. California concurrently endured a three-year drought beginning January 17, 2014.
In April 2017, Governor Jerry Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17 ending the state of emergency in every California County except Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne. Since then, many people have drawn their attention to the topic of climate change.
The study of climate change began in 1896 when Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius observed the effect of infrared radiation proving that the heat-felt waves formed a gaseous compound in the atmosphere known as greenhouse gases. This resulted in an overall increase in the Earth’s temperature tremendously impacting the four biospherical regions of Earth including land, water, air and human life.
While carbon dioxide is the leading gas increasing Earth’s temperature, several factors such as fossil fuel, electricity and deforestation have accelerated the concentration of other gaseous compounds such as methane and nitrous oxide in the air.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center stated that within approximately 200 years, “human activity has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40 percent, and other gases, such as methane (natural gas) by a factor of 2 to 3 or more.”
Ocean life is also in a state of crisis due to non-point land pollution such as washed up soda cans, fishing nets and plastic bags. Oil spills and chemical discharge also known as point source pollution are also toxic contributors to water pollution. Ocean debris ultimately causes many previous bio-filled marine areas to become what is known as “dead zones.”
Many fish consume these harmful contaminants affecting the food that humans eat. Among many other elements, plastic, styrofoam and heavy metals are largely incorporated into water pollution.
“Approximately 1.4 billion pounds of trash per year enters the ocean,” according to the NOAA. “No matter whether students live near the coasts or far inland, they are a part of the problem and the solution to ocean pollution. Through education, students can be informed of the types of pollution and actions that they can do to prevent further pollution of the ocean.”
With a population of nearly 7.5 billion people, human effort is crucial. There are several ways in which each individual can contribute to the overall quality of the planet, beginning with education. Several recent inventions have also been brought forth promoting less air pollution and biodegradable products. Wind and solar panels have been added to many school and business facilities promoting renewable energy.