In his 2015 State of the Union Address, Barack Obama called climate change the “greatest threat to future generations”, and Bill Gates referred to it as “a terrible problem” that “needs to be solved”.
Climate change is a serious issue that affects us all. Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere have warmed the surface of our Earth, which impacts natural systems vital to our global economy, health and quality of life.
The overwhelming majority of scientists project that changes in our climate system — global warming, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events, to name a few — will continue and get worse.
With so much daunting evidence out there, many people feel helpless and don’t believe that their actions will make a difference. That’s far from the truth, however. In fact, you can start making an impact today by simply following these two simple steps:
Get a general understanding of climate change and why it’s important.
Get active! The choices you make in your day-to-day life really can make a difference, and there are many small changes you can start making today.
[tw-divider]What You Need to Know
Is climate change really happening?
Climate change is a complex issue. There are hundreds of studies, each presenting slightly different numbers on observed or projected impacts, and expert opinions on mitigation and adaptation policies vary just as much.
However, 97% of researchers agree upon these two main points:
- Climate change is happening.
- Human activity, such as industrialization, deforestation and pollution, is the main cause of recent climate change.
Some experts point out that warming and cooling cycles have occurred over the span of several centuries (roughly every 100,000 years) due to natural orbital shifts. However, today's changes have taken place over the past hundred years or less, which means that natural causes alone can’t explain the rapid warming of Earth's surface temperature.
So, in a nutshell, the answer is “Yes”. Climate change is most definitely not a myth and it is man-made!
What’s the difference between climate change and global warming?
Climate change refers to a long-term shift in weather conditions. Global warming is one measure of climate change, and it’s a rise in the average global temperature.
What are the observed impacts of climate change?
Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment and trusted studies, such as the IPCC climate change report, predict that these effects are only going to intensify, unless we take active steps to battle climate change.
Have a look at some of the observed and projected consequences of climate change:
[tw-divider]What You Can Do[/tw-divider]
Battling climate change seems like a tall order, but there are actually a lot of things you can do to make a difference.
From creating less plastic waste to conserving water to using your car as little as possible: small changes of behaviour can go a long way in protecting our environment. (editor’s note: if you’re sensitive to expletives don’t click on that last link, but try this one instead).
Another way you can help is by making a donation to one of these charities our friends at Charity Intelligence have picked.
If you want to make a long-lasting impact, set up a recurring donation. Monthly recurring donations are the life-blood of most charities and nonprofits out there, and allow charities to plan long-term.