Over 95 percent of West students are aware of Global Warming, but how many know the amount of time we have before there is serious damage done to our planet?
“I think maybe 10,000 years.”
“I think at least 550 years.”
“I believe we have hundreds of years before serious damage is done.”
These are the responses from West students about global warming. The truth is, we have until the end of this century before there is irreversible damage done by global warming.
What is global warming? According to the survey sent out, about 25% of West students don’t know what global warming means. Global warming is caused by us humans releasing heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. These gases let heat in, but trap them so that they stay in our atmosphere. When trees are cut down, the carbon dioxide held inside them is released into the atmosphere, speeding up global warming.
We’re already seeing the effects of global warming. The average temperature of our planet has risen by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit since 1906, the start of the industrial revolution. In polar areas sensitive to climate change, the temperatures have risen by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The intensity and destructiveness of forest fires in the western U.S. have increased.
Sea levels are expected to rise about 2.3 feet by the year 2050. This will be caused by the melting glaciers in the polar zones. When the glaciers melt, we will lose a large source of fresh water. Glaciers provide about 75% of the earth’s fresh water. By the end of this century, parts of the world will be experiencing decades-long megadroughts. Floods and hurricanes will be more frequent and more destructive.
Due to the warmer temperatures, mosquitos, ticks, and bark beetles are thriving. Zika virus and mosquito-borne malaria will be spread more easily. Bark beetles have already destroyed millions of acres of trees in the U.S.
If humans don’t make an effort to reduce carbon emissions from their vehicles and the trees that they cut down, our planet will suffer.