Today’s most daunting challenge
Today, the phenomenon of climate change has become one of the most critical global issues, and is soon going to be the biggest challenge faced by the humans. Some of the drivers of climate change include deforestation, infrastructural developments, transmission of increased CO2 emissions, burning of trash, growing number of vehicles and setting up of automobile workshops and dumping.
Causes and effects of climate change
Human activity from pollution to overpopulation is driving the earth’s temperature up and is fundamentally changing the world around us. It is basically called the greenhouse effect – warming which results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere. Gases in the atmosphere such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the biggest sources of global warming. The more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the more heat trapped, thus strengthening the greenhouse effect and increasing the earth’s temperatures. Human activities like the burning of fossil fuels have increased the CO2 levels, especially since the Industrial Revolution. The rapid increase in the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had been warming the planet at an alarming rate. While earth’s climate has fluctuated in the past, atmospheric carbon dioxide has not reached the levels it is touching today. Climate change has consequences for our oceans, weather food and health.
Ice sheets such as Iceland and Antarctica are melting. The extra water is causing sea levels to rise and spills out of the oceans, thus causing floods in more regions.
Warmer temperature also makes strange weather patterns. This means not only more intense major storms, floods and heavy snowfall but also longer and heavy droughts. These changes in weather are the real challenges.
Growing crops becomes more difficult; the areas where plants and animals can live, shift. Water supplies are diminished.
In addition to creating new agricultural challenges, climate change can directly affect people’s physical health. In urban areas, the warmer climate creates the environment that traps and increases the amount of smog. This is because smog contains ozone particles which increase rapidly at higher temperatures. Exposure to the higher level of smog can cause health problems such as asthma, heart disease and lung cancer.
While the rapid rate of climate change is caused by humans, it is us, the humans, who can combat this menace. If we work to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, which don’t produce greenhouse gas emissions we might be able to prevent some of the worst effects of climate change.
There is, currently, a sheer lack of awareness regarding real dangers of climate and the ways we should combat those. The issues should be brought up as a topic in social sciences, mass communication, environmental and religious lectures or Friday sermons. The Ulema and the social and political leaders must take the lead in this regard.