climate change - St. Francis Xavier Church , Panvel

Green Earth Movement
An E-Newsletter for the cause of Environment, Peace, Harmony and Justice
Remember - “you and I can decide the future”
Our world is always changing. Look out your window long
enough, and you might see the weather change. Look even
longer, and you'll see the seasons change. The Earth's climate
is changing, too, but in ways
that you can't easily see.
The Earth's climate is getting
warmer, and the signs are
everywhere. Rain patterns are
changing, sea level is rising, and
snow and ice are melting sooner
in the spring. As global temperatures continue to rise, we'll
see more changes in our climate and our environment. These
changes will affect people, animals, and ecosystems in many
ways. We shall try to learn the 3 aspects of climate change.
That is:
1. Causes of climate change
The earth's climate is dynamic and always changing through a natural
cycle. What the world is more worried about is that the changes that
are occurring today have been speeded up because of man's activities.
These changes are being studied by scientists all over the world who are
finding evidence from tree rings, pollen samples, ice cores, and sea
sediments. The causes of climate change can be divided into two
categories - those that are due to natural causes and those that are
created by man.
1-A] Natural causes
There are a number of natural factors responsible for climate change. Some of the
more prominent ones are continental drift, volcanoes, the earth's tilt, ocean currents,
and comets and meteorites. Let's look at them in a little detail.
1-a} Continental drift
You may have noticed something peculiar about South America and Africa
on a map of the world - don't they seem to fit into each other like pieces in a
jigsaw puzzle? About 200 million years ago they were joined together!
Scientists believe that back then, the earth was not as we see it today, but
the continents were all part of one large landmass. The continents that we
are familiar with today were formed when the landmass began gradually
drifting apart, millions of years back. This drift also had an impact on the
climate because it changed the physical features of the landmass, their
position and the position of water bodies. The separation of the landmasses
changed the flow of ocean currents and winds, which affected the climate.
This drift of the continents continues even today; the Himalayan range is
rising by about 1 mm (millimeter) every year because the Indian land mass is
moving towards the Asian land mass, slowly but steadily.
1-b} Volcanoes
When a volcano erupts it throws
out large volumes of sulphur
dioxide (SO2), water vapour, dust,
and ash into the atmosphere.
Although the volcanic activity may
last only a few days, yet the large
volumes of gases and ash can
influence climatic patterns for years. Millions of tonnes of sulphur
dioxide gas can reach the upper levels of the atmosphere (called the
stratosphere) from a major eruption. The gases and dust particles
partially block the incoming rays of the sun, leading to cooling. Sulphur
dioxide combines with water to form tiny droplets of sulphuric acid.
These droplets are so small that many of them can stay aloft for several
years affecting the temperature. The extent to which this occurs is an
ongoing debate.
1-c} The earth's tilt
The earth makes one full orbit around the sun each year. It is tilted at an angle of
23.5° to the perpendicular plane of its orbital path. For one half of the year when it is
summer, the northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun. In the other half when it is
winter, the earth is tilted away from the sun. If there was no tilt we would not have
experienced seasons. Changes in the tilt of the earth can affect the severity of the
seasons - more tilt means warmer summers and colder winters; less tilt means cooler
summers and milder winters.
1-d} Ocean currents
The oceans are a major
component of the climate
system. They cover about
71% of the Earth and
absorb about twice as
much of the sun's radiation as the atmosphere or the land
surface. Ocean currents move vast amounts of heat across
the planet - roughly the same amount as the atmosphere
does. But the oceans are surrounded by land masses, so heat
transport through the water is through channels. Winds push
horizontally against the sea surface and drive ocean current
patterns. Certain parts of the world are influenced by ocean
currents more than others.
1-B] Human causes
The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw the large-scale use of
fossil fuels for industrial activities. These industries created jobs and over
the years, people moved from rural areas to the cities. This trend is
continuing even today. More and more land that was covered with
vegetation has been cleared to make way for houses. Natural
resources are being used extensively for construction, industries,
transport, and consumption. Consumerism (our increasing want for
material things) has increased
by leaps and bounds, creating
mountains of waste. Also,
our population has increased to
an incredible extent. All this has
contributed to a rise in greenhouse
gases like Carbon dioxide and
Mathene in the atmosphere
affecting the climate of the earth.
What's happening now?
Temperatures have risen during the last 30 years, and 2000
to 2009 was the warmest decade ever recorded. As the
Earth warms up, heat waves are becoming more common
in some places, including the United States. Heat waves
happen when a region experiences very high temperatures
for several days and nights.
What will happen in the future?
The choices we make now and in
the next few decades will
determine how much the planet's
temperature will rise. While we
are not exactly sure how fast or
how much the Earth's average temperature will rise, we
know that:
If people keep adding greenhouse gases into the atmosphere
at the current rate, the average temperature around the
world could increase by about 4 to 12°F by the year 2100.
If we make big changes, like using more renewable resources
instead of fossil fuels, the increase will be less—about 2 to 5°F.
Why does it matter?
Higher temperatures mean
that Heat waves are likely to
happen more often and last
longer, too. Heat waves can
be dangerous, causing illnesses
such as heat cramps and heat
stroke, or even death.
Warmer temperatures can also lead to a chain reaction of
other changes around the world. That's because increasing
air temperature also affects the oceans, weather patterns,
snow and ice, and plants and animals. The warmer it gets,
the more severe the impacts on people and the environment
will be. SEE NEXT-impact of climate change on various
human activities:
The crops that we grow for food need specific conditions to thrive,
including the right temperature and enough water. A changing
climate could have both positive and negative effects on crops. For
example, the northern parts of the United States have generally cool
temperatures, so warmer weather could help certain crops grow. In
southern areas where temperatures are already hot, even more heat
could hurt crop growth. Global climate change will also affect
agriculture and food supply in many other ways.
Climate change could make it too hot to grow certain crops,
and droughts caused by climate change could reduce the
amount of water available for irrigation. Climate change is
also likely to cause stronger storms and more floods, which
can damage crops. Higher
temperatures and changing
rainfall patterns could help
some kinds of weeds and pests
to spread to new areas. If the
global temperature rises an
additional 3.6°F, U.S. corn
production is expected to
decrease by 10 to 30 percent.
Global climate change will
affect how much energy
we need and when we need
it. As temperatures rise, more
people will need to keep cool
by using air conditioning,
which uses a lot of electricity. However, some people
might need less energy to heat buildings in the winter
because it may not get as cold as it used to be.
Climate change could also make it harder to
produce certain types of electricity, such as
Climate change is affecting where, when, and how
much water is available for people to use. Many
parts of the world already
have very little water, and
climate change could
make this problem worse.
Rising temperatures,
changing precipitation
patterns, and increasing droughts will affect the
amount of water in lakes, rivers, and streams, as well
as the amount of water that seeps into the ground to
replenish ground water.
Many places rely on snowmelt to fill the lakes, rivers, and
streams that help keep drinking water reservoirs full and
provide water to irrigate crops. For example, many parts
of the western United States depend on water from the
Colorado River, which is fed by melting snowpack in the
Rocky Mountains.
Less snowpack and
earlier snowmelt will
reduce the amount
of water flowing into
The Colorado and
other rivers.
Heat waves are uncomfortable for
everyone, but for infants and young
children, the elderly, and people who
are already sick, they can be
especially dangerous. Extreme heat
can cause Illnesses such as heat cramps, heat stroke, and even
death. A 2003 heat wave in Europe caused about 50,000
deaths, and a 1995 heat wave in Chicago caused more than 600
deaths. In fact, heat waves cause more deaths in the United
States every year than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and
earthquakes combined.
On the flip side, as the world gets warmer, the number of illnesses
and deaths related to extreme cold (like hypothermia and
frostbite) may decrease.
As the Earth gets warmer, plants and animals that need to
live in cold places, like on
mountaintops or in the Arctic,
might not have a suitable place
to live. If the Earth keeps getting
warmer, up to one–fourth of all
the plants and animals on Earth
could become extinct within 100
years. Every plant and animal
plays a role in the ecosystem (for example, as a source of
food, a predator, a pollinator, a source of shelter), so losing
one species can affect many others.
Coral reefs are created in shallow
tropical waters by millions of tiny
animals called corals. Each coral
makes a skeleton for itself, and
over time, these skeletons build
up to create coral reefs, which
provide habitat for lots of fish and other ocean creatures. Warmer
water has already caused coral bleaching (a type of damage to
corals) in many parts of the world. By 2050, live corals could
become rare in tropical and sub-tropical reefs due to the
combined effects of warmer water and increased ocean acidity
caused by more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The loss of
coral reefs will reduce habitats for many other sea creatures, and
it will disrupt the food web that connects all the living things in
the ocean.
Forests provide homes for many kinds of plants and animals.
They also protect water quality, offer opportunities for
recreation, and provide people with wood. Forests are
sensitive to many effects of climate change, including shifting
weather patterns, drought, wildfires, and the spread of pests
like the mountain pine
beetle. Unlike some
animals, trees can't just
get up and move when
the temperature gets too
hot or other conditions
In addition to causing all sorts of problems, such as heat
waves, droughts, and coastline damage, warmer
temperatures could also affect people's jobs, recreational
activities, and hobbies. For example, in areas that usually
experience cold winters, warmer temperatures could reduce
opportunities for skiing, ice fishing, and other winter sports.
Also, rising sea level could wash away beaches.
Higher sea level will mean less space at the beach. A
combination of stronger storms and sea level rise
could increase the rate of erosion along the coast,
and some beaches could disappear altogether.
3-a} Forego Fossil Fuels
The first challenge is eliminating the
Burning of coal, oil and, eventually,
Natural gas. This is perhaps the most
daunting challenge as denizens of
richer nations literally eat, wear,
work, play and even sleep on the products made from such
fossilized sunshine. And citizens of developing nations want and
arguably deserve the same comforts, which are largely thanks to
the energy stored in such fuels. So try to employ alternatives
when possible—plant-derived plastics, biodiesel, wind/solar
power—and to invest in the change, be it by divesting from oil
stocks or investing in companies practicing carbon capture and
3- b} Infrastructure Upgrade:
Buildings worldwide contribute around one third of all
greenhouse gas emissions (43 percent in the U.S. alone), even
though investing in thicker insulation and other costeffective, temperature-regulating steps can save money in
the long run. Of course, it takes a lot of cement, a major
source of greenhouse gas emissions, to construct new
buildings and roads. But energy-efficient buildings and
improved cement-making
processes (such as using
alternative fuels to fire up the
kiln) could reduce greenhouse
gas emissions in the developed
world and prevent them in the
developing world.
3- c} Move Closer to Work
Transportation is the second leading
source of greenhouse gas emissions
in the U.S. One way to dramatically
curtail transportation fuel needs is to
move closer to work, use mass transit,
or switch to walking, cycling or some
other mode of transport that does not
require anything other than human energy. There is also the
option of working from home and telecommuting several
days a week. Cutting down on long-distance travel would
also help, most notably airplane flights, which are one of the
fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and a
source that arguably releases such emissions in the worst
possible spot (higher in the atmosphere).
3-d} Consume Less
The easiest way to cut back on greenhouse
gas emissions is simply to buy less stuff.
Whether by forgoing an automobile or
employing a reusable grocery sack, cutting
back on consumption results in fewer fossil
fuels being burned to extract, produce and
Ship products around the globe. Think green
when making purchases. For instance, if you are in the market for a
new car, buy one that will last the longest and have the least impact
on the environment. Thus, a used vehicle with a hybrid engine offers
superior fuel efficiency over the long haul while saving the
environmental impact of new car manufacture.
Paradoxically, when purchasing essentials, such as groceries, buying in
bulk can reduce the amount of packaging—plastic wrapping,
cardboard boxes and other unnecessary materials. Sometimes buying
more means consuming less.
3-e} Be Efficient
A potentially simpler and even bigger impact can be made by doing
more with less. Citizens of many developed countries are profligate
wasters of energy, whether by speeding in a gas-guzzling sport-utility
vehicle or leaving the lights on when not in a room.
Good driving—and good car maintenance,
such as making sure tires are properly inflated
—can limit the amount of greenhouse gas
emissions from a vehicle and, perhaps more
importantly, lower the frequency of payment
at the pump.
Similarly, using more efficient refrigerators, air conditioners and other
appliances can cut electric bills, while something as simple as
weatherproofing the windows of a home can reduce heating and
cooling bills. Such efforts can also be usefully employed at work,
whether that means installing more efficient turbines at the power
plant or turning the lights off when you leave the office.
3-f} Eat Smart, Go Vegetarian?
A surprisingly high percentage of
our daily impact on the
environment comes from our food
choices, and one obvious benefit
of vegetarianism is its relatively
low impact. Just think about it:
Eating grain instead of feeding that grain to a cow for
months or years is a more efficient, less wasteful way of
getting the nutrition and energy needed to live happily.
Simply, it just takes less grain, which takes less land,
which requires less fertilization and water, and which
reduces erosion of top soil.
3-g} Stop Cutting Down Trees
Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. Timber harvesting
in the tropics alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon to the
atmosphere. That represents 20 percent of human-made greenhouse
gas emissions and a source that could be avoided relatively easily.
Improved agricultural practices along with paper recycling and forest
management—balancing the amount of
wood taken out with the amount of new
trees growing—could quickly eliminate
this significant chunk of emissions.
And when purchasing wood products, such
as furniture or flooring, buy used goods or,
failing that, wood certified to have been
sustainably harvested. The Amazon and
other forests are not just the lungs of the
earth, they may also be humanity's best
short-term hope for limiting climate change.
3-h} Unplug
Believe it or not, U.S. citizens spend more money on electricity to power
devices when off than when on. Televisions, stereo equipment, computers,
battery chargers and a host of other gadgets and appliances consume
more energy when seemingly switched off, so unplug them instead.
Purchasing energy-efficient gadgets can also save both energy and
money—and thus prevent more greenhouse gas emissions. To take but
one example, efficient battery chargers could save more than one billion
kilowatt-hours of electricity—$100 million at today's electricity prices—and
thus prevent the release of more than one million metric tons of
greenhouse gases.
Swapping old incandescent light bulbs for more efficient replacements,
such as compact fluorescents (warning: these light bulbs contain mercury
and must be properly disposed of at the end of their long life), would save
billions of kilowatt-hours. In fact, according to the EPA, replacing just one
incandescent light bulb in every American home would save enough
energy to provide electricity to three million American homes.
To conclude with a quote of Archbishop Desmond Tutu………..
Do your little bit of good
where you are; it's those
little bits of good put
together that overwhelm
the world”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
This PowerPoint Presentation is prepared by GEM Team
(courtesy: internet). Other GEM PowerPoint Presentations are:
Zero Garbage – Nobel for India!
Solar Energy
Junk Food – A slow poison
Twenty Tips To Save Nature
Plastic – a boon or bane?
Green Passion.
Soft drink – A Health Hazard
Waste to energy
Rain Water Harvesting
Eco-friendly Religions
Happy Green Diwali
These PPTs may be downloaded from our website: – GEM section

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