Climate Change and Our Ability to Affect It
What we know
After years of research, there is no longer any doubt that climate change is not just occurring, but that it is increased by human actions—mostly by our reliance on fossil fuels, but also by the massive deforestation of the rainforests that has occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries. By protecting our forests greenhouse gases will continue to be absorbed by the trees thus helping to fight the worst effects of climate change
What is climate change?
Climate change refers to the increase in the Earth’s average temperature experienced over the last century, and projected to continue into the next. In the last hundred years, the global temperature has risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Less than 1.5 degrees doesn’t sound like a big difference but that small change in temperature is leading to dramatic changes on our planet.
What are the consequences of climate change and how we can help?
We don’t know all of the consequences a changed climate will bring, but some changes are already underway. For example, the shrinking ice sheets at the Earth’s poles, glacial retreat on land, and decreased snow cover over the globe as well as decreased access to fresh water. The oceans are also affected, as sea levels rise billions of people in coastal regions are at risk. As the oceans themselves become warmer and higher levels acidity and salt, the oceans as we know them may change as not only mammals are at risk but also most fish.
Small global changes in air and water temperature can also lead to significant and often unpredictable variation in weather and climate on a local level. Some regions have experienced increased floods, droughts or heat waves, as a result of shifting rainfall and climate patterns.
Due to its global nature, climate change represents the greatest challenge to human kind and our ways of life in the 21st century, and perhaps ever. How, and to what degree we attempt to address it will have implications for our planet and every living thing that will last for thousands upon thousands of years.
GEC Communities' program of systematically protecting the rainforest will likely result in a slowing of climate change. It will take years if not centuries to have the rainforest regenerate (which will gradually occur in the areas clear cutting has taken place if protected and allowed to grow without disturbance) and as they do we may see a significant reversal of climate change rather than its continued march forward.
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