5 Climate Change Myths We Need To Stop Believing, Like Now.
As Earth Day festivities wind down, a number of science marches and climate movements have only begun. These rallies don’t just raise awareness towards environmental injustices but show just how urgent the topic of climate change really is. All this attention, however, brings with it some pretty wild responses amongst scientists and millennials alike. Whether it’s “too cold for global warming” or “the climate’s changed before;” deciding how to create a more sustainable environment (one we can all agree on), can seem pretty impossible. But luckily for us, millennials especially, understand the importance of stopping climate change like yesterday. In an effort to clear up some Climate confusion, here are 5 climate change myths totally debunked (according to science).
It’s freezing out! Where’s your global warming now?
Global warming doesn’t stop us from having seasons, and seasons are marked by a change in weather. This is very important to remember because weather and climate are two completely different things. Weather is temporary and therefore much harder to predict; climate trends, however, are found by looking at how weather changes over long periods of time. Meaning, despite it being cold enough to form “Eyesicles,” overall temps have been rising and we’re experiencing more record heat waves than cold. In fact, the past 15 years have recorded some of the highest temperatures in history! So yes, new records for cold weather will continuously be set (see Snowmageddon 2010), but global warming’s influence will make them less common.
Sure, climate change is happening, but there are natural causes and us humans have NOTHING to do with that.
Newsflash! Humans have a lot to do with it, and I mean A LOT. Does anyone remember that thing called the greenhouse effect? Think of it this way, every time you start a car or “forget” to recycle, you contribute to the release of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere. When released, these gasses trap energy from the sun causing our planet to warm up – AKA; Global warming.
Need further proof? Most scientists will tell you man-made pollution is warming our climate, but how do they know? For starters, when carbon from dirty sources like coal is burned it releases a unique chemical signature, which sets it apart from other natural carbon sources. This means a majority of carbon being released into our atmosphere is definitely coming from us.
Yeah, but more CO2 means more plant food. It is the gas of life, right?
Not necessarily. Higher CO2 levels mean natural disasters like floods, hurricanes or droughts may become more frequent. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying plants don’t benefit from CO2, they do; but if you increase one vital nutrient without increasing the others (Hence, sunlight and water), they won’t benefit much. We might even end up with vegetables that have too much carbon!
What’s wrong with a few degrees anyway?
I mean, it’s only a few degrees, right? Sure it may not sound like a big deal, but let’s look at the bigger picture here. On average, the earth’s global temperature has risen 1* celsius since the 1800’s; while that may not sound like much, just look at all the changes happening already. From more intense rainstorms to debilitating heat waves, these natural disasters have caused devastating damages ending with a higher loss of life. Not to mention, rising sea levels are damaging coastal homes; while melting ice caps are sending our favorite cuddly animals into extinction. So yes, one little degree makes a huge difference, and we’re on the fast track to warming our planet an extra 2-4* celsius by the year 2100!
Hasn’t the climate changed before? What makes this time any different?
Listen, climate change happens for a reason, and this time, that reason is us. Where causes of climate change in the past came from natural sources like the sun and volcanic activity; now, natural occurrences like permafrost and forest fires have caused current CO2 levels to rise drastically. However, man-made causes such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are driving overall temps up to record highs. All in all, as we release more greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, the earth’s natural energy balance will continue to change causing our planet to warm faster than ever. And now, the lasting effects of climate change are spreading faster than we can control putting our generation in “alkynes” of trouble (peep that science pun).
But, don’t get too discouraged just yet…. Thankfully, millennials, in particular, understand the importance of stopping climate change before it’s theoretically “too late.” This is because younger generations tend to care more about issues that’ll directly affect their future, and it’s safe to say climate change will hold a big impact on us for years to come. However, we have made some serious strides towards at least slowing the process down. Take, for example, Google’s recent announcement to run solely on renewable resources by the end of 2017. This is just one example of how people are slowly taking steps towards an alternative more sustainable way of living.
By now you’re probably thinking “Taking on over 7 billion of the world’s problems is too much for one person to handle!”
But can you imagine what an entire population could do!
Us humans hold just as much power and responsibility in slowing climate change as we do in causing it. And although it may be too late to reverse damages already done, it’s never too late to make a difference. So, let’s keep the conversation going, because the truth is, something needs to change and that something starts with us.