If you recall, in the last 40-50 years, you must have heard people talk about the consequences of greenhouse gases & global warming– especially when the weather created havoc!
What’s even more unfortunate is that in the last decade, these fear-inducing terms have become a buzzword.
They’ve found their footing in the most versatile places- right from a company’s
CSR campaign to a school student’s science textbooks.
I’m sure you’ve observed this!
At the same time, I hear you think- how do greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere & what I can do on an individual level to control them?
In this blog we’ll cover:
- What are greenhouse gases & the greenhouse effect?
- The consequences of the greenhouse effect
– Environmental issues
– Health problems
- What can you do to combat greenhouse gases?
What are greenhouse gases & the greenhouse effect?
The term greenhouse was coined by scientists as early as 1896.
The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that captures the heat from the sun. This keeps the planet warm & habitable. Which in return aids the planet retain a temperature of 15 degrees. And helps life flourish. Without it, the planet would be a frozen giant ball, like Mars.
But the last few years have seen a dramatic increase in greenhouse gases – courtesy of human intervention.
We’ve greedily burnt fossil fuels (like coal & oil) to fulfill our rising requirement of energy. And we’ve cut down trees irresponsibly.
Amplified global warming & (almost) irreparable climate change cycles.
|Gases that soak up the sun’s heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. The most dangerous greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide & chlorofluorocarbons.|
Every time the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is more than it can be absorbed by outer space, global warming occurs.
Inflated greenhouses gases cause inflated temperatures.
The consequences of the greenhouse effect
- Environmental issues:
- The most obvious impact of greenhouse gases is the increase in temperature. Research by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration reveals that in the last 100 years, the Earth’s temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Scientists reveal that if global warming isn’t controlled, it can lead to the magnified occurrences of catastrophic heat waves, droughts, floods.
- The most disastrous outcome of climate change is the ice melting in the Arctic ocean. The World Wildlife article says we’re losing about 13% of Arctic sea ice every decade. But in the last 30 years, we’ve lost a whopping 95% of sea ice. This rapid ice meting results in reduced absorption of heat from the atmosphere.
- The result of ice melting is raising sea levels. According to the Climate.gov research, since 1880 the sea levels have risen by about 8 inches. And if the sea levels continue to increase at this pace, half of the coastal areas, where 50% of the human population lives will cease to exist.
- Many plant & animal species are quite intolerant to soaring temperatures. They’re reported to moving to higher altitudes. Sadly many animals & plant species aren’t able to cope up with the rapid climate change too. There’s a very strong possibility that this will cause the extinction of many species.
- The agricultural system will face an ugly brunt of global warming too. The frequent occurrence of mishaps like droughts & floods will ruin the crop cycle. And lead to food shortage which will create havoc in the local as well as international food markets.
2. Health Problems
|According to a World Health Organization report, climate change will cause the death of 2,50,000 per year between 2030 to 2050.|
If this wasn’t enough, people will also face health problems like:
- Respiratory diseases:
Greenhouse gases lead to increased smog in the atmosphere. This causes tissue damage to the lungs. And thereby increases the risk of respiratory diseases in people. Kids, the elderly & people having field jobs are the most exposed to the risk of being victims of respiratory diseases like asthma.
- Mosquito-borne diseases:
- Heat strokes:
Especially, in tropical countries, a further increase in temperature will multiply the mosquito population. This temperature surge can spiral mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, malaria. A study by the Lancet Planetary Health found out that if emissions keep rising at the current levels, then by the end of this century about 8.4 billion people will be at the risk of contracting malaria & dengue.
Extended periods of high temperatures don’t allow the body to cool down naturally. This leads to heat strokes. And if heat strokes aren’t addressed at an early stage, they can invite fatality. Until action is taken to control the release of greenhouse gases, it can increase the occurrence of heatwaves. According to IPCC, global warming will increase the intensity of hotter days & reduce the number of colder days.
What can you do to combat the greenhouse effect?
- Opt for electric cars & vehicles. They’re considered to be greener in comparison to diesel/petrol cars.
- Cycle or walk shorter distances. Instead of driving down. It’s a wonderful way to maintain your & the planet’s health.
- Traditional electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, which is the biggest pollutant. We can combat this by reducing our dependency on excessive electricity consuming devices.
Here’s a tip: Instead of buying incandescent light bulbs, use LED bulbs.
- If you live in a tropical country, choose sustainable & renewable energy sources like solar power. Along with saving the environment, they also save $.
- The dietary emissions of a meat-eater are 99% higher than a vegan.
So why not go for a plant-based diet? It’s not only conducive to the health of our planet. But it’s also an excellent way to maintain great health.
- In the next festive season, gift plants instead of sweets. It makes for a very thoughtful present. And increments your green quotient too.
- Organize small & big scale tree plantation drives within your locality. That being said, do water the trees until they’re self-dependent.
- Grow your food. It reduces CO2 from the atmosphere, lessens dependency on farmers & multiplies your happiness quotient.
- Don’t join the fast fashion bandwagon. Because these clothes hardly last a few months & then end up in the landfills, resulting in methane release. Instead, buy high-quality & sustainable clothes that’ll last you long.
- Reduce your consumption of air conditioners. They contribute the highest to your electricity bill & global warming. Instead, use fans & houseplants to keep your home cool.
- Embrace & implement minimalism in your life. Cut down on buying unnecessary things. It’s a profound way to declutter your life & mind too!
- Limit your use of papers. Switch to digital modes of communication. With the advent of technology, now is the best time to make it happen.
- Single-use plastic is the biggest environmental polluter. It’s high time we say NO to using it. On your next vegetable shopping errand, carry a reusable cloth bag. Think of ways how you can reduce your dependency on plastic.
If you closely look at the solutions to combat greenhouse gases, it’s not a back-breaking task to adopt them? Isn’t it?
And the present condition of our planet demands ACTION!
Because if you & I don’t take charge; we’re going to repent, regret & remorse!
More than anything, our planet has done a commendable job in taking care of us.
It’s about time we repay the debt, isn’t it?