It snows and is cold where I live today. This happens each winter. Yet, the planet is warming. 2016 was the third straight year where the average global temperature rose. Climate change is happening, it is a real thing. This is a tiny overview of what it is… the subject is extensive and complicated.

Climate change is defined as a change in the earth’s climate patterns. This development has been apparent since the mid to late 20th century, up to the present day. It is traced considerably to the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, largely by the use of fossil fuels*. So, why is atmospheric carbon dioxide a bad thing? It shifts normal climate patterns to severe weather, which can cause natural disasters. Intense rainfall, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, heat waves, ice and snow melt, sea level rise, and ocean acidity (from carbon dioxide absorption) are some consequences of climate pattern shifts. This can displace animals and sea life as well as cities on coastlines. It can also cause agriculture loss from too much rain or extreme drought.

So, what are some things we can do to help with this huge challenge? 1) Become educated on climate issues and vote accordingly. 2) Be conscientious of your own ecological footprint. 3) Reduce, reuse, recycle. There are so many resources out there to gather information and become aware. Love this Earth, there is only one.

*Fossil fuels include natural gas, oil, and coal. These fuels are extracted from the remains of primitive organisms on the planet from millions of years ago and developed as sources of energy. Fossil fuels are not renewable because they take millions of years to form, in other words, the sources are being depleted faster than the new ones are being made. On the other hand, a renewable source of energy is not depleted by use, examples are the sun, water, or wind.

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