If you’re one of those people still not convinced about global warming and its impact on our planet, it’s definitely happening. And now we have proof.
Videos released by a host of organizations, including Google, NASA and the NOAA, show that damage more convincingly than we ever could. In fact, NASA scientists found that 2014 was the hottest year on modern record, adding to a long-term warming trend that the agency says “adds to the evidence for ongoing climate change.”
Here in Canada, it’s sometimes hard for us to see that the planet is getting warmer, thanks to our notorious winters; but NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has helped us see through the fog. A video the organization released shows just how much global temperatures have risen from 1950 to 2013 (shades of red and orange indicate heat):
So why is the planet warming? NASA says it’s very likely humans are to blame, thanks to our carbon dioxide-spewing contraptions like cars, factories and heating systems. Once that stuff gets into our atmosphere, it acts as a blanket for the Earth, trapping more heat and not allowing as much to get out. And if you think these harmful emissions are going away, just look at how much the fossil-fuel rich oilsands have expanded since 1984:
Normally, carbon dioxide getting into the atmosphere wouldn’t be a problem. Our planet comes complete with natural air filters, like trees, that can restore the skies to their original state. But humans are pumping out pollution so fast, forests can’t recycle it back to oxygen quickly enough. On top of that, we’ve been rapidly destroying these natural air filters. The Amazon rainforest, which supplies 20 per cent of the planet’s oxygen, is literally being ripped apart:
As our forests disappear and emissions rise, a warming trend begins to take hold. Its effects are most obvious in the coldest parts of the world, where you can physically see Arctic ice vanishing in massive quantities (for best results, skip to 0:13, then to the very end):
Once Arctic ice begins melting, ocean levels rise around the world. This messes with weather patterns, wildlife and even puts entire cities in danger of flooding. In fact, Kiribati is the first country expected to be wiped out by climate change:
When combined with human involvement and poor water conservation legislation, global warming is also partially blamed for sucking entire lakes dry. You can see it here in Lake Mead, which supplies drinking water to Las Vegas:
The increasing human population is putting an even further strain on resources. With more people comes a greater demand for water and fossil fuels. In Saudi Arabia, for example, there’s been a massive increase in farms and irrigation infrastructure (those are crop circles, by the way):
All of this is to show that climate change is bigger than you think. In other words, one cold winter doesn’t somehow disprove the trend. Oceans heavily influence weather systems worldwide, and when you start messing with water levels and temperature, things get thrown out of whack. We’ll likely see an increase in droughts, floods and wild storms going into the future:
So what can you do to help? Governments and corporations need to get involved before real change can take place. But if you want to get involved and help the planet on your own, we have a list of things you can do right now to help build a greener future.
Because seriously, our planet deserves better.