I would like to start this out by saying that no I am not a hippie, or a tree hugging, animal loving, vegetarian. I say this because I’m about to talk about the ever so controversial, global warming and the effects it has on animals and humans alike. First lets start off with the basics, global warming is a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere generally caused by the greenhouse effect. What is the greenhouse effect you may ask? The greenhouse effect is the trapping of the sun’s warmth in a planet’s lower atmosphere due to the transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun. The transparency is most commonly attributed to the large amount of pollution that us humans, and our machines produce.
Global warming is a serious issue the world is facing, although it may not drastically affect things in my lifetime, but it will for future generations. Some signs of global warming are most commonly climate and weather changes. For example, more rain or not enough, extreme heat waves and extreme cold. Our oceans are becoming more acidic and our glaciers are melting. The Earth’s internal temperature has risen in the past year by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit and is predicted to rise another 2 to 11.5 degrees in the next century. Although we may think that a temperature change that small won’t affect anything, it will. A big change that will affect everything that walks this planet is that the warming climate will change our water supply, agriculture, power and transportation, and even our own health and safety. Now, I love my gas guzzling SUV as much as the next guy, but things will need to change if we want to better the planet’s future. The biggest affect global warming has right now is the affect it’s having on our wildlife. For example, the polar bears are having to adjust to warm temperatures and melting ice caps, soon they will have nowhere to go. Global warming is confusing animals that take cues from the seasons on when to nest, migrate, etc. This has forced animals to alter their life cycle and causing them to come out of hibernation much earlier only to find that the food they expected to be there is not. Another change in the wildlife is coral bleaching. If the dead algae are not replaced, the corals will also die. If the corals die all the sea life that relies on them will most likely also die.
Last but not least, the effects on one of the most intelligent mammals of them all, the Homo sapiens. Believe it or not, global warming can affect the intensity of allergy season. Warmer temperature causes ragweed to produce more pollen for a longer amount of time causing a more intense allergy season. Natural disasters will increase as an effect. One of the most obvious effects of them all is the effect on air quality. Smog will become more prevalent and more carbon dioxide will be inhaled. Heat waves would also increase. For example by 2100, Los Angeles’ heat wave days would double and Chicago’s heat wave days would quadruple. Global warming is a huge issue. I’m not saying anything drastic needs to be done right now to fix it, but small lifestyle changes could go a long way in preventing the increase of global warming.