What is Climate Change?

Climate change has been in the news a lot lately. While some people insist it’s not real, the truth is it does. Scientists say part of it is just the planet going through a normal cycle, but we’ve exacerbated it with all the pollution we create. The planet is getting hotter and hotter every year. This has led to above normal melting of the polar ice caps, which is making sea levels rise. Some islands in the South Pacific are already dealing with the affects as they’ve begun to go underwater. The Arctic is feeling the affects too. Just before Christmas temps were a whopping 50 degrees higher than normal, and in 2016 the North Pole experienced temperatures averaging about 36 degrees above normal.

One big contributor is landfills. They are the planets largest source of methane gas. Methane gas damages the ozone layer. Rapid deforestation, fossil fuels and pollution generated by manufacturing also contribute. Both the United States and the World have been working on resolutions and regulations to help curb pollution and hopefully slow down climate change, but it’s been tough going. Big business vigorously objects to the regulations, as does the oil and gas industry, and Republican lawmakers are listening. China is another problem. It is possibly the most polluted place on earth, and scientists estimate that they alone are responsible for at least 20% of the world’s climate change. Yet they are slow to enact and enforce environmental laws.

Scientists and engineers are in high demand to help fight climate change. Engineers are needed to build green buildings that use less energy and to design systems that could help reduce greenhouse gasses. It is a great field to get into. Visit online-engineering.case.edu to learn more.

Even if you aren’t a scientist or engineer, you can help. Volunteer and/or donate to organizations dedicated to protecting the environment. Recycle as much as possible, and consider an electric or hybrid car, which emits little to no greenhouse gasses. Consider switching to solar energy and encourage the building of windfarms in your community. Both are efficient and clean forms of energy. Call or write to your representatives and senators and encourage them to sponsor and support clean energy initiatives and other climate change legislation. They do listen to their constituents, especially when election day gets near! Above all, keep educating yourself and others and finding ways to help.