Currently, the world is dominated by various human activities, most of which pose great danger to us and to future generations. Agriculture, as well as the human industry, are some triggers to global warming, which has had disastrous long-term effects, among them flooding, recurrent El Niño and La Niña weather varieties, droughts, and heatwaves. Global warming can therefore be defined as the consistent, steady, and gradual increase in the atmospheric temperature due to the greenhouse effect. It is a giant problem that, if not addressed early enough, will create wide-ranging problems for the world at large. Therefore, it is everyone’s responsibility to rise and fight this common enemy in unison.
Casper explains that global warming would have adverse and unforeseen effects ranging from environmental, social, economic, and health-related complications (ix). Global warming results in increased rates of various types of cancers due to neurodegenerative disorders. The number of people dying as a result of cancer and skin-related disorders has been on the rise recently, and this is attributed to global warming. Heat stress exerts negative effects on neurons, unlike cold conditions which often protect the cells. Constant heat pressure degenerates cells, giving rise to neurodegenerative disorders.
Droughts are occurring more frequently in Africa, Southern Europe, the Middle East, most parts of America, and Australia, as well as Asia; these problems are expected to increase. Drought has adverse effects on mankind, plants, and animals as it leads to death due to inadequate food. Water sources, which are the primary sources of livelihood, are gradually drying up as a result of massive temperature increases. Livestock suffers the risk of lacking grazing land and pasture; human beings starve as plants die due to the lack of sustainable food intake.
Global warming disrupts the natural habitats of wild animals, therefore pushing them to extinction; plants and animals that are unable to acclimatize end up dying. These species have increased risks of becoming extinct if global warming persists. In the long run, this will have adverse effects on the tourism sector, which will consequently affect the economies of different countries and the world at large.
Global warming also has adverse effects on weather. Heatwaves result in droughts, tropical cyclone activity, ocean acidification, biochemical cycles, and increased incidences of extremely high sea levels. Other effects would include melting ice, and variations in ocean currents and weather. According to Haldar, coastal regions continue to suffer such grave impacts from the rise in sea level and are expected to suffer even more in the future (26).
The impact on agriculture and food supply has also been greatly affected by global warming due to the increase in carbon dioxide, very high temperatures, and minimal rain. In this case, the rate of people suffering from malnutrition and the frequency of cardio-respiratory conditions has also increased. Moreover, such grave medical conditions mean the eventual losses of millions of lives (Haldar 31).
An obvious consequence of all the negative effects associated with global warming would be increased competition and human migration for comfortable livelihoods. This in turn will give rise to an increase in conflicts over available resources such as water, food, and shelter, thus affecting the world’s population. There will be numerous inter-ethnic and international clashes over available resources, consequently disrupting the peace we have so long enjoyed. The security of several states and communities will be compromised as every individual fights to achieve what is best for him/her.
However, there are contradicting arguments on the existence of global warming. Some argue that global warming is a creation of people’s minds and that the disaster we face is as a result of the normal and natural functioning of the world. They view global warming as an avenue for scientists and most governments to create panic and fear. These opponents claim that global warming is being used as a move to make money through taxes for their personal financial benefits. Carroll gives a report on Lennar Whitney’s claim of global warming being a hoax (n.p).
The common question we should ask ourselves is why the effects of global warming arise from one common source – a rise in worldwide temperatures. We cannot ignorantly claim that they are merely coincidental. Neither can we refute and dismiss the evidence given on global warming, terming it as baseless. There must be reasons behind the recent warming up of Polar Regions, melting of the sea ice, and drastic heat waves on the planet.
The current temperatures are nothing compared to the temperatures the world experienced in the past. Casper says that “worldwide temperatures have risen more than 10F (0.60C) over the past century and 17 of the past 20 have been the hottest ever recorded” (2). He also justifies the presence of global warming by stating that glaciers are continuously melting at very high rates. The ice caps of mountains such as Kilimanjaro are disappearing, and glaciers of renowned national parks and those in the European Alps are expected to be gone in the next few decades. In tropical oceans, coral reefs are wearing off as oceans warm up gradually. Polar bears continuously get stranded due to the destroyed habitats thus they starve and die (3).
So much can be done to alleviate global warming. The first action is to abandon the use of fossil fuels and adopt renewable energy. The carbon dioxide emitted by these types of fuel will be minimized, thus avoiding the depletion of the ozone layer. Haldar proposes that the available options would be mitigation to minimize further emissions, adaptation to minimize the damage, and geoengineering to reverse global warming. This is evident by the submission of most governments signing the Kyoto Protocol that seeks to reduce emissions caused by greenhouse gases (2).
The national and international governments should for once take in the advice given by scientists and ignore those who dismiss the presence of global warming. They should then put in place policies that discourage the use of harmful fuel and discourage deforestation. There should be policies to ensure that the technology and fuel used in industries are safe. Secondly, the governments should put in place policies that oversee land and pollution incidences.
In conclusion, governments should also invest in disaster management strategies so that when any disaster strikes, communities and citizens are ready and empowered to protect human lives. The constant loss of lives due to tsunamis, floods, and droughts, among other problems, is disturbing. As the earth’s temperatures shoot to unmanageable levels in the future, we shall only have ourselves to blame. This menace should not be ignored; it is, rather, a global obstacle that needs urgent attention.
Casper, Julie K. Changing Ecosystems: Effects of Global Warming. New York: Infobase Pub, 2010. Internet resource.
Haldar, Ishita. Global Warming: The Causes and Consequences. New Delhi: Mind Melodies, 2011. Print.
Carroll, Lauren. “Global warming is a hoax, says Louisiana congressional hopeful Lenar Whitney” Tampa Bay Times, Politifact August 1st, 2014.