Climate change describes a change in the average conditions in a region over a long period of time. These include warming temperatures and changes in precipitation, as well as the effects of Earth’s warming, such as:
- Rising sea levels
- Shrinking mountain glaciers
- Ice melting at a faster rate than usual in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic
- Changes in flower and plant blooming times.
Earth’s climate has constantly been changing, even long before humans came into the picture. However, scientists have attributed the acceleration of climate change in the last ~150 years to the emissions of atmospheric warming greenhouse gases from human activity.
Does what We do matter?
Yes. When human activities create greenhouse gases, our planet warms.
This matters because oceans, land, air, plants, animals and energy from the Sun all have an effect on one another. The combined effects of all these things give us our global climate. In other words, Earth’s climate functions like one big connected system.
When we take this systems perspective in thinking about climate change, we can start to see how small changes in one place can contribute to big changes in other places.
If we in the Kootenays focus on reducing emissions and working towards the goals of the Nelson Next Community Climate Plan, we can take positive steps towards mitigating the worst effects of climate change for everyone. If we choose not to, we are not only harming ourselves, but also those elsewhere in the world who might be more vulnerable.