Ever since the past century rainfall patterns have been so unpredictable, temperature levels have changed drastically and natural disasters have crowded over the entire earth. Life on earth is on great danger and no doubt that the world is drifting away little by little. Time and again, Climate change has been the root cause of all these events. It has threatened lives of human beings, wild animals both aquatic and terrestrial. Plants too, have also been affected by this climate change. Attention in this talk is made on how climate change affects you in your cities and towns and countries and how you can minimize them.
Firstly, climate change affects human beings through an increase in disease levels. Normally diseases are part of human life, but when they are increased to some extent they become unbearable and expose a very great danger on human life .In this case, there are disease which are climate- sensitive .These include malaria, dengue fever ,yellow fever, encephalitis and cholera
Noticing at the root cause of each of these infectious diseases, it is seen that their increase largely depend on the changes in climate. For instance, in the primitive environment, the impact caused by these diseases on human life was less as compared to the changed environment. This is because changes in climate may have a certain kind of disturbance in the ecological system (habits of living things in relation to their surrounding). It is true that most of these infectious diseases, that come about because of changes in climate are vector-borne diseases. In other ways, they are transmitted by insects such as mosquitoes, houseflies and many others. Now with the change in climate, whether through rainfall or temperature variations, results in changing the habitat (natural place of growth; home) of these insects. As a result of this change in climate much better breeding grounds are created. Therefore, there is very great risk of increasing some of these diseases because the population of insects causing diseases is high.
For example, higher temperatures in combination with favorable rainfall patterns could prolong disease transmission season in some locations where certain diseases already exist. Likewise, heavy rains might increase the number of water reservoirs where stagnant water might also be found. Most of the times, these places save as good breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Again rainfall facilitates the growth of tall grasses which is also suitable breeding place for mosquitoes. As such, the number of malaria patients in that specified area might increase proportionally.
In addition to that, heavy rains due to change of climate might cause some wastes or garbage that were buried in the ground to come out and be exposed to flies. And these flies might land on food, there by transmitting germs which cause some infections after taking the food. Soon or later cholera might follow and that is how it is spread.
Furthermore, a report from B.B.C. news (1997) stated that scientists believes that if the temperature is increased by 3.5 degrees Celsius, the number of people potentially exposed to malaria(transmitted by mosquitoes) could increase from 10 percent to 60 percent of the world’s population. This could lead to an extra 50 to 80 million cases of malaria a year. Such estimation by scientists came after assessing how the climate changes, particularly temperature variation. Those figures of estimated victims might come true; because mosquitoes in warm areas breed beyond measure and their prevalence sorely depend on temperature.
As a matter of fact, some people have lost their lives because of diseases like malaria, and these include potentially able people in our cities, towns and communities. For instance; politicians, administrators, businessmen, professors and other productive citizens. In their book on ‘significance of the relationship between weather extremes and human mortality’, Callls S. and S. Leduc (1985) state that increase in temperature due to climate change leads to disease outbreak which is detrimental to human beings and even country’s economy when potential people are affected. Losing their lives means losing development. This is because their services to the country cannot be easily replaced by others. Hence it is a loss of effective human resources.
All these effects are as a result of our own activities like cutting down trees carelessly. Biologically, trees are important to human beings because they neutralize the gases in our living environment. Carbon dioxide produced by humans and factories is absorbed by trees for food making, and in turn they release oxygen gas which is useful to us. The logic here is simple, if all trees are cut, then all carbon dioxide gases are accumulated in the atmosphere. Later, they start attacking the ozone layer and make more permeable for harmful light rays from the sun causing skin disease like cancer. Therefore global warming might be experienced. Paul Colinvaux (1986, pg 463) stated that the vegetation acts as ‘CO2 shock absorber’. Indeed if we preserve trees we will have balanced air conditions, no accumulation of gases in the atmosphere and no global warming. That is, we will minimize the disease outbreak.
Secondly, climate change has also affected us through what are called extreme events. These events include floods, drought, hurricanes and tropical storms. Such events might cost lives of people in targeted areas. Again, they might also affect our farms and settlements. Crops might find it difficult to grow well in areas affected by these events, since the farms would have reduced fertility. Farm animals too, are victims. They would not find good green pastures to feed on because the pastures would be exposed to drought, as a result they would produce insufficient meat and milk. Therefore, in all areas man is to shoulder painful consequences of extreme events.
One of the aforementioned extreme events is flood. This mostly happens when heat from the sun fail to escape through the earth’s atmosphere. Then, ice at north and south poles could melt because of this heat. This could result in heavy rains and could have a huge effect on low lying areas of the cities, towns, countries and world as a whole. Some of these areas are oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and dams. So, a rise in global temperature either as the result of reduced vegetation through cutting down trees or global warming through emission of green house gases by burning tires and many other ways causes water levels in these areas to rise as ice in poles is melted, and then the capacity of these low lying areas are filled to the extreme that some waters cover the surrounding areas. Gradually, water floods over farms and settlement areas. This brings in detrimental effects on earth.
Since climate change is the root cause of flooding, at all cost we remain victims.Our settlement are flooded, as a result millions of people are homeless; they leave their homes and seek refuge in other safer regions. According to B.B.C. news (1998), in 1997, 46 million people live in areas at risk of flooding. Indeed most of those people who were at risk were those living in coastal areas because these areas are prone to floods.
In addition, flooding may also affect farm lands. The farms might lose their fertility due to soil erosion. Again floods might erode crops in the fields; as a result famine might affect all people who depended on the farms. This might come true because there can be poor harvest when farms are infertile, therefore no bumper harvest can be expected.
Besides destroying farm lands, floods might also erode chemicals like salts and other pollutants from the affected areas. This might in turn lead to pollution of water as well as land in such parts. If water is polluted, then life is in great danger since no human can survive without water. Water collected from boreholes and wells normally come from the underground sources which have underground links with the oceans and seas. Now due to flooding, polluted water might be deposited in these oceans and seas, and might as well be found in boreholes. This might eventually cause diseases to people who use such water sources. Again polluted water found in rivers, dams, lakes and oceans might put marine life on danger. This will lead to elimination of fish which is the most reliable food for many people. And will in turn result in hunger to the majority of people who rely on fish. Similarly, Karpagam M. (1999) states that “human beings are exposed to hazards by the consumption of ‘pollution affected’ fish.”
Another extreme event is draught. Like floods, it is also caused by the change in climate through rise in temperature. Such increase in temperature may lead to more extreme heat waves during the summer and less extreme cold spells during winter. In fact, extreme heat waves dry up moisture in soil. Consequently, farm crops as well as green pastures for farm animals die due to extreme heat. The condition is made worse when water sources used for irrigating farm crops also dry up.
Hence severe drought follows which result in famine, and affects people in all areas, covered by the drought. All these problems are emanating from the fact that climate change causes flooding, draught and other extreme events of which we are the major contributing factors. However, we can minimize this by being efficient. This simply means doing more with less. In other ways making no waste of energy at all cost. This may involve good car driving and maintenance such as making sure tires are properly inflated. These measures can limit the amount of gas emissions from a vehicle which result in climate change and perhaps more importantly lower the frequency of payments at the pump.
Lastly, climate change has also affected human beings through food shortages and water problems. Basically vegetation growth relies on various factors. Some of them are temperature, rainfall, soil fertility and many others. These growth factors are much dependent on climate. Now changes in climate that also results in variation of temperature and rainfall have had a very big impact on crop growth, since crops require fertile soils, optimum temperatures and suitable rainfall.
So, when there is erratic rainfall and drastic change in temperature due climate change, crop yields are expected to drop significantly, this also affect availability of water in reservoirs to irrigate farm crops. Therefore water availability for irrigation and drinking by farm animals will be less predictable because there will be more variable rain and salt from rising sea levels may contaminate underground fresh water supplies in coastal areas.
All these outcomes will affect man in one way, and this is food shortages. There will be little harvest which will be insufficient to feed the families, communities, towns, cities, and countries at large. In order to have adequate food that can sustain lives up to the next harvesting season, there must be consistency in rainfall and temperature. Otherwise change in climate might bring variations of plant growth factors, as such crop yields might not be able to adapt the change and finally poor harvest would follow which is the primary cause of famine.
It is this famine that will force people to move from one place to another in search for food. These migrated areas are then overcrowded and may also run a risk of facing problems like congestion in hospitals, markets, schools and even in churches.
In additional to that, famine might also result in rising cost of commodities at the market. This is because there is a very big demand of food and supply is not such directly proportional to the demand. Hence suppliers may resort to high prices in use of this famine advantage which is not fair to consumers. But because there is a great need of food, we have no any other choice but to buy the available goods, though not happy with the situation.
In order to tackle this climate change problem, improved agricultural practices along with recycling and forest management should be taken into account. In farms it is proper and wise to avoid cutting down trees unnecessarily. Sometimes, factories choose to cut trees for paper making, but this can alternatively be solved through paper recycling just as Karpagam M. (1999) stated that “today’s garbage becomes tomorrow’s raw material, through recycling.” Again following the instructions of forest management can be very effective. They mainly emphasize on balancing; the amount of wood taken out should be balanced with the amount of newly planted trees. When you cut down one plant ten in replacement. In such a way, trees will keep on saving us and protecting us from climate change dangers.
If we replace fossil fuels with other alternative like ethanol derived from crops, hydrogen electrolyzed out of water, solar thermal power or nuclear fission we reduce the impact of climate change. These alternatives are less effective in terms of emission green house gases into the atmosphere as compared to fossil fuels. For instance, hydrogen electrolyzed energy may offer best transport but no emission of carbon dioxide. Therefore, substitution may play a big role in reduction of climate change impacts, since the alternatives are climate friendly.
In conclusion, climate change has really put human life at danger, it is severely affecting us now and it is likely to continue in the near future, since nothing promising has been done so far to slow down the change or curb it. As clarified already, it has brought increases in disease levels which have led to death of potential people and lowered development. It has also resulted in extreme events which have primarily caused famine, injuries and deaths. Again, climate change has brought food shortages in many areas and has led to mass movement in search of food and that has resulted in problems like congestion and rising of costs. All these fall to the fact that we contribute in one way or the other. So, let’s make haste before it is too late to minimize its effects by being efficient, stop cutting down trees carelessly, following improved agricultural practices and replacing fossil fuels. So, that is how you can tackle climate change to stop some of its effects.