What it is, how it happened, and how can we solve it.

Climate change is the single biggest threat humanity has ever faced.

The main cause of climate change is the phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect. Gases in the atmosphere let the sun's light in and keep some of the heat from escaping, just like the glass walls of a green house in your garden.

Greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere but in excess, they can be dangerous to our planet. The increasing amount of greenhouse gases cause more heat getting trapped in the atmosphere, which is strengthening the greenhouse effect and increasing the Earth’s temperature. It's like putting a blanket around Earth.

So where are these extra greenhouse gases coming from?

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, humans have been emitting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, mostly by burning fossil fuels and cutting down carbon-absorbing forests. Over this period, temperatures all around the world have risen steadily and fundamentally changed the world around us.

Source: US Global Change Research Program

With our increasing wealth, we’ve increased our demands. Many of which require burning fossil fuels (e.g. transport, product demand, increases energy consumption, etc.)

You may have noticed the increasingly common extreme weather events. But how are they linked to climate change?

Weather vs. Climate

Weather is the mix of short-term (minutes to months) changes in the atmosphere, including temperature, rainfall and humidity. It may be warm and sunny in one place, but cloudy and raining in another. Climate, however, is the average of weather patterns in a place over at least 30 years.

An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect, like a very hot summer, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms.

How is it measured?

Source: NASA

Thanks to all the technology that exists today, we can track and measure any changes that are happening on Earth. For example, NASA satellites track any changes at Earth’s land, air, water and ice. Other tools measure look at the sun and the energy it sends out. Together, these tools help us understand Earth’s climate and how it might change in the future.

While Earth’s climate has fluctuated in the past, atmosphere carbon dioxide hasn’t reached today’s levels in hundreds of thousands of years. We know this because scientists have examined ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers, and even ancient evidence found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. All of these samples reveal that current warming is occurring roughly 10 times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.

Source: NASA

Climate change has serious consequences for our oceans, weather, our food sources and our health. It is affecting the habitats of many species, which must either adapt or migrate to areas with more favourable conditions. Even small changes in average temperatures can have a significant effect upon ecosystems all around the world, which can cause serious changes to our everyday lives.

Due to the ever-increasing temperatures, ice sheets such as Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a rapid rate. The extra water that was once held in glaciers causes sea levels to rise, which can cause flooding in coastal regions.

Warmer temperatures also make weather more extreme. This means not only more intense major storms, floods and heavy snowfalls, but also more frequent droughts as the water evaporates from land.

These changes in weather cause many challenges for agriculture. Growing crops becomes more difficult. The areas where plants and animals live shift. And while we may experience floods in one place, water supplies may diminish in another.

Climate change can also directly affect our physical and mental health. In urban areas, warmer atmosphere increases the amount of smog. Exposure to higher levels of smog can cause serious health problems, such as asthma. But with the increasingly common extreme weather events, our mental health is also at risk. We may experience anxiety as we are increasingly worried about the future of our planet due to political inactions against climate crisis. Similarly, experiencing floods or bushfires can cause post-traumatic stress.

So what can we do about it?

Source: Canva

While all this information is very alarming, there is one good thing about the climate crisis.

We are now standing at a critical point where we can unite and build a better world.

Climate change brings together communities all around the world. It makes us bond. It makes us care. And it makes us fight for the future of our planet.

While climate change is caused by human activities, humans are also the ones who can combat it. Each of us has the power to help solve the climate crisis by making small (or large) adjustments to our lifestyles and contributing to a worldwide change.

Some of the most impactful solutions that we can adopt today are

  • • Switching to green energy provider
  • • Eating less meat and dairy products
  • • Buying locally sourced and seasonal food
  • • Reducing food waste
  • • Avoiding products with palm oil
  • • Applying the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle rule
  • • Driving less often (using public transport, cycling, or walking)

  • …and many more.

  • Every small step counts. Every act we take counts. Everything counts.

  • EVERYDAY CHOICES is a go-to place for everyone who is ready to join a world-changing movement. Together, we can and we will solve the climate crisis.

  • Let’s make every day Earth Day.

  • #TogetherWeCan


NASA Global Climate Change: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

NASA Earth Observatory: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/world-of-change/DecadalTemp

National Geographic | Causes and Effects of Climate Change. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4H1N_yXBiA

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): https://www.ipcc.ch/

BBC | Climate change: Where we are in seven charts and what you can do to help: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46384067 (14.02.2020)

NASA | What Is Climate Change? https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-climate-change-k4.html

NOAA | What's the difference between weather and climate? https://www.noaa.gov/explainers/what-s-difference-between-climate-and-weather

BBC | What is climate change? A really simple guide: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24021772 (16.01.2020)

U.S. Global Change Research Program | Global Temperature and Carbon Dioxide https://www.globalchange.gov/browse/multimedia/global-temperature-and-carbon-dioxide

NASA | NASA Set for a Big Year in Earth Science with Five New Missions https://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/january/nasa-set-for-a-big-year-in-earth-science-with-five-new-missions (22.01.2014)