Quietly but determinedly, the earth is increasingly getting hotter year in year out with a majority of its human inhabitants nonchalant about the impending doom its suicide mission portends. Informed but not doing enough to stop the dear earth from a self-caused increasing temperature which is hazardous to the whole world is likely the greatest threat to earth’s existence in recent times!
As a matter of fact, the earth’s temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius ( 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the end of the 19th Century with each of the last three decades being warmer than all previous decades since the start of statistical surveys in 1850.
Going by the pace of current Carbon dioxide ( C02) emissions, scientists expect an increase of between 1.5 -5.3 degrees Celsius ( 2.7-9.54 degrees Fahrenheit) in average temperature by 2100 and except action is taken, this would have harmful effects on humanity and the biosphere. This alarming situation is caused by the increase in human caused greenhouse gases, which has led to health, ecological and humanitarian crises.
The world’s leading climate scientists are of the opinion that human activities are the major causes of global warming since the mid-twentieth century for some of the reasons to be highlighted. But before this is done, there is a need to know what the greenhouse effect is.
The greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the earth’s surface .When the sun’s energy reaches the earth’s atmosphere, some if it is reflected back to space and the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases .
Whereas global warming is a phenomenon of climate change marked by a general increase in the earth’s average temperature, which modifies the weather balances and ecosystems for a long time. It is directly linked to the increase of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, worsening its effect.
Having shed light on these terms, let’s go ahead to see some of the human activities responsible for global warming and possible means of stopping the Earth from suicide mission which inaction might cause in the near future.
It is very glaring that the massive use of fossil fuels is the major cause of global warming given the global pollution of the space by burning oil, coal and gas which produces carbon dioxide ( the most vital greenhouse gas in the atmosphere) as well as nitrous oxide. In some parts of the world such as Africa, gas flaring in order to drill crude oil is the order of the day by multi national oil companies which do little or nothing to protect the ecosystem of their host communities. Gas flaring as a very potent factor in the greenhouse gases increase. Many waters have been polluted by oil spillage with its ripple effect on the land and waters of the natives of such areas. A very pronounced instance of this is in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Most riverine communities suffer the lack of drinkable water, loss of agricultural land and deaths of marine life. The flora and the fauna bear the brunt. There seems to be a chain of negatives when one considers the degree of poverty ravaging the typical Niger Deltan, whose sources of livelihood have been taken away from him.
Charcoal production and use for cooking in poor homes generate a considerable amount of carbon monoxide as a result of which carbon monoxide poisoning becomes prevalent. Poverty is the major cause of the wide acceptance of charcoal production as an alternative cheap source of income generation .
A look at deforestation ushers in a very terrible picture of a host of ecological damage to the environment and its consequent effect on the increase in temperature of the earth. Farming, urbanisation and other forms of destruction of trees and natural habitats are very contributive to the menace of global warming. Forest fires in some parts of the world such as Australia are good examples of the phenomenon of deforestation.
The mining and metallurgical ndustry is doing its own harm to the atmosphere basically because modern lifestyle depends on its end product to survive. Metals and minerals are the raw materials used in the construction, manufacturing and transportation of goods. So, it is has been established that the process from extraction to delivery, the industry is responsible for about 5% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Waste disposal is another contributor to the greenhouse effect in the sense that waste management methods like landfills and incineration emit greenhouse and toxic gases including methane. These are released into the atmosphere, soil and waterways.
Excess consumption is another factor in the issue of global warming as a result of climate change. Frankly speaking, over exploitation of natural resources and emissions from international freight transportation system both contribute to global warming.
The consequences of the disruption in the natural order of greenhouse gases effect are as follows :
The world’s weather has been affected so much that it’s witnessing more droughts and heatwaves, more natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, storms and wildfires, frost-season among others. For over ten years now, meteorologists and climatologists around the world have been watching the negative effects of global warming on the weather phenomena.
Consequently , human beings are not spared by these upheavals because climate change is affecting the global economy – shaking up social, health, and geopolitical balances in various parts of the world. New crises occur as a result of starvation, scarcity of food and energy.
Population migration is on the increase , this is partly cashed by the rising sea levels and floods. Small island states are in the lead. The world may be waiting for climate refugees of 250 million people by the year 2050 as estimated in reliable quarters.
Oceanic life is no better than others, because of global warming, permafrost and ice are melting at the poles, an unprecedented occurrence increasing the sea level at a never known before rate. Of also a great concern is the acidification of the oceans as a result of the large amount of carbon dioxide (C02) captured by the oceans. This can affect gravely the survival of sea shells and coral reefs.
Finally, we are already witnessing the disappearance of many species including endemic species or the intrusive invasive species that are threats to plants and other animals. What this indicates is that our biodiversity is being modified and threatened. Thereby, plant cycle and reproduction is being affected, with its consequent change of lifeatyle of humans.
It’s time to wake up to our responsibility of reversing the ugly and deadly trend and save our earth from the impending doom of extinction. Some of the ways to do this are provision of renewable energies; clean energy and water efficiency; sustainable transportation and infrastructure; sustainable agriculture and forest management: and responsible consumption and recycling.