Facts About Climate Change
2 Important Words!
Don't get these 2 mixed up!
Climate: the average weather over the course of many years. Scientists usually measure a place's climate over 30 years by looking at what kind of weather the place has been having!
- For example: During the summer, the climate of Mexico is warm and humid. In the winter, the climate of Canada is cold and snowy.
Weather: a short specific event like rain, snow, sunshine or cloudy skies. We can tell if the climate is changing by looking at the weather! If it rains more often than usual for many years, the climate will be more rainy!
- For example: It is snowing today, but it will rain tomorrow.
Well, How Does The Earth Get Warm?
The Greenhouse Effect
Greenhouses are structures used to keep plants warm by trapping the warmth from the Sun. Earth does the same thing to keep the creatures living on it warm! Some human activities like the ones we list below, also produce gas. However, the atmosphere is now being overwhelmed with heat and gas which is causing the planet to warm up. That's why we have Global Warming which is another word for Climate Change.
If only I could do something to help!
Things That Cause Climate Change:
Burning Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuels are fuels such as coal or oil that are burned to generate power such as electricity. Cars, trains, airplanes and factories pollute the air with toxic gases from burning fossil fuels. Overtime, our air becomes dangerous to breathe and the atmosphere will become toxic and weak.
Animals such as cows use lots of resources like land, water, and food to raise. Cows also release a harmful gas called methane when they fart! Also, producing animal feed requires lots of water, land, transportation, and processing which all contribute toxic gases to the environment.
Deforestation is the process of cutting or burning down nature, trees, and plants to clear land for activities such as farming or construction. Trees can absorb carbon dioxide, a dangerous gas that humans can't be exposed to a high amount of. Without trees, these dangerous gases can not be absorbed which causes the atmosphere to fill with gas and become warmer. Deforestation also destroys the homes of many animals who used to live there. These animals have no where to escape and are often harmed.
Agriculture is the process of growing food (crops) using land. Deforestation often occurs to clear forests or woods for farm land. Farming requires lots of land and water. Also, chemicals called pesticides are sprayed onto the crops to keep bugs from eating them. Another chemical called fertilizers help plants grow. These pesticides and fertilizers are poisonous to humans and animals and they get into rivers, pollute our drinking water, and destroy aquatic habitats.
While plastics do not directly cause climate change, they make up most of the world's waste pollution. Currently, 80% of all pollution in the ocean are plastics such as water bottles, bags, straws, and containers. Plastic does not decompose quickly. They can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. Plastic bags from the supermarket can take 10-20 years and plastic bottles can take 450 years to fully decompose. Lots of animals are hurt by plastic floating in the ocean because they swallow them or get tangled in the pollution and can't get out.