Climate change can be defined as a shift in temperature over an extended period of time. Despite it being a natural process, the Earth’s temperature is currently changing at an environmentally hazardous level. According to the EPA, “Global warming can have many different causes, but it is most commonly associated with human interference, specifically the release of excessive amounts of greenhouse gases” (MIT article citing the EPA, 2006). In addition, 97% of Climate Scientists agree that climate change is induced by human activity (NASA). Such activities include industrial work, smoking, driving, and burning fossil fuels. As the atmosphere sees an increase in these by-products of human activity, a greater amount of heat is retained. Such heat has incited an increase of roughly 0.8C since 1880 (NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies). Although 0.8C may appear to be an insignificant rise in temperature, it is a drastic increase for a multitude of species and populations.
Ranging from the melting of ice glaciers to stronger hurricanes, climate change has proven to have adverse effects on the environment. Therefore, climate change affects the global population of species. Species depend on their environment and interact with one another for survival, thus, it is important that we take precautions and actively accept that human interaction is contributing to the rise in global temperatures. If we can take these steps, we can work towards preserving organisms that are decreasing in population as a result of growing temperatures. According to the National Wildlife Federation, “it is on the arctic ice that the polar bear makes its living, which is why global warming is such a serious threat to its well-being”. Why is this important? Polar bears are an umbrella species, meaning that they are on the top of the food chain; their position on the food web hierarchy strongly impacts other species that are connected to the same food web. The loss of polar bears directly impacts the loss of organisms who depend on the functions that they play within their ecosystem. This proves to be just one of the many reasons why climate change is a substantial issue, and why reducing human activities that increase global temperatures is a great form of precaution.
Ultimately, it is our obligation as citizens of the world to protect the place that provides us life in the first place. In order to protect our home, we must come together and acknowledge that we do play a role in contributing to global warming. Then, as a collective, we can continue to take more precautions and resolve the issue.