Climate change, often called global warming, is the increase in atmospheric temperature caused by carbon dioxide emissions and heat trapping gasses. Climate change is far-reaching and damages the quality of life of humans and animals. Food security is at risk, people’s well-being is decreased, animals are dying at a faster rate than ever, and the rising sea levels accompanied by the dying coral reefs are making coastal areas more and more dangerous to live in. Humans are contributing to this problem by continually burning fossil fuels at an alarming rate and increasing the rate at which other greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.
Objectives of this study:
This article is designed to get firsthand accounts from people who have been to areas directly affected by climate change. Glaciers all over the world including New Zealand and Glacier National Park are melting, California is seeing some of its worst droughts on record, coral reefs are dying, and China’s industrial make up is creating smog that damages the atmosphere and the people in it. My goal is to talk to people who have been to areas such as these and to get first-hand accounts of the effects of climate change. This will hopefully serve as a call to action to not only politicians, but also the everyday person, that we as humans need to step up against climate change.
China concerns health issues in relation to climate change:
Smog, defined as “fog or haze combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants”, is raising eyebrows and sounding alarms to not only China’s population, but the world. China has been plagued by smog and bad pollution as a result of their industrial make up and fossil fuel burning habits. The rampant pollution is not only bad for everybody’s health, but it is also a problem relating to global warming. Worrying scientists fear that China’s smog and pollution will accelerate global warming effects. China is already the world’s second highest producer of greenhouse gases and it doesn’t look like that will slow anytime soon. Coal production is set to increase; contributing to the rising temperatures and melting of the Tibetan plateau glacier (see most recent blog post to read up on the Tibetan plateau glacier, specifically Mt. Cook).
Danny Reardon had the opportunity to study abroad in China while attending University in Chicago I asked him to write about his experience with smog and how it affects everyday life in China. Danny writes –
“Last semester I spent a semester studying abroad in Beijing, China. Before arriving I, like every other student going there, had heard the warnings about pollution in China. However, while I did expect pollution to be a problem, I never expected it to be as bad as it was. Upon first arriving everything seemed normal and it appeared that the pollution warnings were unjustified. Yet, little did I know in the coming weeks that would all change. The pollution quickly became visible and exercising outside became worrisome. Depending on the day all it took was ten minutes for me to become lightheaded (I run every day). Some days were so bad that it was not safe to be outside for longer than ten minutes. During stretches of really bad days many people began to develop a cough or sore throat that would last close to a month. Almost all people were more tired than normal due to oxygen deprivation. I took a nap basically everyday last semester compared to about five this semester. One day it was so bad that all schools k-12 were closed in Beijing. Towards the end of my trip it was commonplace to walk outside and see a majority of people wearing masks, making it look like a warzone. That being said, not every day was bad. There were very beautiful days too. However, in one semester I learned the valuable lesson of what it is like to live a day without clean air. It took one day with pollution for me to realize that I should not take clean air for granted as so many people do every day. Clean air should be a guaranteed right to all people and not something that has to be earned. A healthy environment should be a guaranteed right to all people born on this planet. People everywhere, especially politicians, need to realize this truth and work towards combating the problems that our planet already faces before it becomes impossible to fix and every person must walk around wearing a mask.”
From above Danny Reardon writings – My favorite quote from Danny is “a healthy environment should be a guaranteed right to all people and not something that has to be earned” because I think it stands as a call to action to get this problem under control. All humans deserve a healthy environment and that is something that politicians and world leaders cannot overlook.