The Realities of Climate Change in 2014
The debate about climate change is still raging. On one side there are those who foresee great doom for the planet mainly because of the action of humans over the last century or so and on the other side you have those who deny anything strange is happening at all and the changes in climate patterns are the same as those naturally repeated since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Right now it seems that the probable truth is somewhere half way between these two viewpoints. There are some effects of the ongoing climate change that are hard to refute though as they are simply documented facts. Here are some of the most significant, as originally presented by the World Health Organization:
The Effect of Pollution and Excess Carbon Dioxide
Over the course of the last 50 years or so industrialized nations have caused there to be enough excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - primarily produced by the burning of fossil fuels - to measurably affect the global climate. In fact the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth's lower atmosphere has increased by 30%, bringing with it a number of threats to human health including illness and even death in unusually high temperatures to changing patterns in infectious diseases that are making them harder to fight.
Sudden Changes Can Spell Big Trouble
The change in climate patterns in many countries can be discerned even by the layperson simply leaving their homes. Sudden unusual changes, such as the 'polar vortex' that affected the US in the winter of 2013 resulting in far lower than usual temperatures, or the occasional record high temperatures experienced by European countries from 2003 onwards resulted in a spike in the number of weather related deaths - hypothermia, hyperthermia and respiratory illness - than has ever been measured during equivalent periods in the past.
Water is Getting Less Plentiful
4 out of 10 people in the world already live in an area where the supply of fresh water is available to them is very limited. Now variable and unpredictable rainfall patterns are making this supply even scarcer. This is especially dangerous in developing countries where the number of deaths from diseases that are related to a poor water supply is increasing despite efforts to combat them.
Crops are Becoming Harder to Cultivate
For any crop to grow and thrive it needs certain climate conditions, the reason why certain produce can only be grown in specific areas. The changing climate means however that even in areas where certain crops usually thrive they are now becoming more and more difficult to cultivate successfully. For example, in 2014 the price of coffee is soaring as unusual drought conditions in Brazil have caused not only a decline in coffee bean growth but increased disease in the beans that are being harvested.
Human Actions Can Make a Difference
There are some that still argue that there is little that the average person can do to help alleviate the effects of climate change but that however is proving to be untrue. By becoming more conscious about energy use in their homes, by finding a different way to commute to work without just using your own car for yourself, by recycling, not only garbage but things like household electronics and cell phones that are no longer needed anybody can reduce their own 'carbon footprint' and help halt some of the worst effects of climate change as they are impacting the whole world, not just developing countries, right now.