Climate change has become a serious issue in today’s world due to the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It has caused many detrimental things to occur such as air pollution which has left many humans ill of diseases such as lung cancer. However, what has really been hit by climate change is our planet’s once flourishing animal life. We all have seen the issues that can be tied to climate change from coral bleaching to the melting of the ice caps. Due to coral bleaching, not only have coral reefs been dying out, but the animals that sought out for them in seek of shelter have now lost their habitat. Due to the ice caps melting, animals such as polar bears have also been losing what they once called home. Scientists continue to find issues that connect to climate change almost every day, one of the most recent being a deadly skin disease that has hit marine life, such as dolphins, hard.
In California’s Marine Mammal Center, scientists have found an awful new skin disease in dolphins that can be directly linked back to climate change. This is the first time in a little over a decade that specialists have been able to directly link the disease to a root cause. Basically, what has been occurring is climate change has caused a decrease in water salinity. These dolphins were not genetically prepared to come in contact with freshwater for long periods of time. As a species, they evolved surrounding the salinity of the water and this sudden and prolonged exposure has caused several issues internally. This decrease has led to dolphins developing lesions and rough patches on their skin that cover the majority of their body. This outbreak was discovered back in 2005 during the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and has been affecting dolphins (especially those concentrated near the Gulf of Mexico and Australian waters) ever since. It is one of the major reasons why our planet has suffered a major drop in dolphin population over the last decade. This coupled with the other obstructions climate change has caused for dolphins such as habitat loss and degradation will cause a further depletion in their population in the near future if we do not act soon.
That being said, some good has also come from today’s circumstances. Due to the corona virus outbreak, our planet’s carbon dioxide emission rates have gone down dramatically. Since barely anyone was leaving their houses from March-June, there were less cars on the street which means less polluted air being put into the atmosphere. Not only has the carbon dioxide emissions and pollution gone down but also the need for fossil fuels such as gasoline has as well. As mentioned before, less and less people were leaving their homes and when they did, it was only for the bare necessities such as groceries and maybe food. Due to the lack of transportation, there has been a decrease in need of gasoline. If we were to aim to move around in our cars at a similar rate or at least replicate what we’re doing on a normal basis today outside of the pandemic, we could be able to save many things around the world including the thousands of dolphins that have been passing due to this skin disease.