#IfTreesCouldTalk is a blog series that aims to highlight one aspect of environmental impact, wildlife conservation and other issues that need to be spoken about from the natural world and our impact on it. The idea was simple. We just believe that if Mother Nature had a voice, there would be a lot she would have to say about the state of the world today and what we can do to help. This is just our effort to give her a voice.
Now that the hype around the latest hashtag challenge has died down (yes, we’re talking about the #10YearChallenge) we can take a collective sigh of relief and at the same time wait with bated breath for the next big thing. But until then, I thought it might be good to start #IfTreesCouldTalk with a retrospective piece on why in some cases, like this one, the #10YearChallenge can actually work to increase awareness about issues that need to be spoken about.
Sure, the challenge started with the same basic idea of the pillars on which social media works on: nostalgia, virality and a dash of dare I say, vanity. But soon, activists and organisations got on board and twisted it on its head to showcase the debilitating effects of climate change and so much more in a very easy-to-understand and consume format of comparison.
By simply placing a picture from 2009 and a picture from 2019 side-by-side, countless social media users can very plainly see the effects of climate change. Think about this way, when you see someone day in and day out, it becomes difficult to decipher any change in their appearance, but say you haven’t seen that same someone in 10 years, the differences between then and now will be as clear as day. And as is the case for anything that needs proving, there is no way you can refute photographic evidence that the polar ice caps are melting because of rising temperatures or that coral reefs are dying because of the same reason.
For further proof of the effects of Global Warming, take a look at a GreenPeace post that Leonardo DiCaprio regrammed. It’s truly mind blowing.
It’s not just the ice caps and retreating glaciers though. Global warming and an increase in greenhouse gases have increased the temperature of our water bodies as well. This, in turn, is affecting marine life in a big way.
Let’s Get Down To The Basic Facts
In the last 650,000 years, we can count up to 7 times that glaciers have advanced and retreated due to tiny variations in Earth’s orbit that directly affect the amount of sun the planet receives.
The last Ice Age ended 7,000 years ago and that marked the beginning of our climate as we know it.
The current global warming trend is worrisome because the cause is not variations in the Earth’s orbit, but human activity.
This human activity has resulted in a rise of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and subsequently the ‘greenhouse effect’ which the dictionary defines as the trapping of the sun’s warmth in a planet’s lower atmosphere, due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet’s surface. This trapping has caused the Earth to warm
Earth’s surface temperature has risen by almost a degree since the 19th century and this is solely due to greenhouse emissions.
The oceans have also overheated to the point that till 2,300 feet has warmed significantly.
The retreat of glaciers is happening worldwide, from the Alps to the Himalayas.
Sea levels are rising because of melting ice and have shown an increase of 8 inches in the last 100 years and is double that right now, while still increasing with every passing year.
Arctic sea ice is also disappearing leading to animals like polar bears losing their habitat and finding it difficult to sustain themselves and hunt.
There have been more natural disasters and climatic events in the last few years than ever.
And finally, ever since the Industrial Revolution, the oceans have increased in acidity by 30 per cent and will only increase further considering our rate of emissions.
This is important. These are the facts as per the NASA website that has, in turn, cited many sources of journals and studies to back these facts. And if it takes a challenge like the #10YearChallenge to open people’s eyes, then in my book that’s what should be done. And just like that, in the time that it took me to write this blog, there must be a few 100 more challenges that have taken over the internet. But none as important as this.
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