Understanding climate change
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‘CLIMATE CHANGE’ and ‘Global warming’ are often times mistaken to be the same concepts but they are not. According to NASA ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Global warming refers to ‘the upward temperature trend across the entire Earth since the early 20th century, and most notably since the late 1970s, due to the increase in fossil fuel emissions since the industrial revolution.’

Whereas, Climate change refers to ‘a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to the Earth’s atmosphere.

These phenomena include the increased temperature trends described by global warming, but also encompass changes such as sea level rise; ice mass loss in Greenland, Antarctica, the Arctic and mountain glaciers worldwide; shifts in flower/plant blooming; and extreme weather events.’ I would like to stress on the importance of being knowledgeable about these two topics. They both have negative impacts on not only our planet but also all of the lives on it.

Our climate (the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period) is changing, whether by natural processes or by human exploitation. Sadly enough, we cannot stop this epidemic from happening. However, we can try to slow down its process. Climate change affects our agriculture, food supply/security, rising of our sea-levels, species extinction and many more.

The role of the youth on climate change is of the utmost importance. We are the next generation who will inhabit the earth and employ its resources. As such, it is only fair that we own the responsibility of protecting our planet, in terms of fighting the factors and challenges presented to us by climate change.

The earth is getting warmer as the years increase but why should we care?
Well, greenhouse gases, such as Carbon Dioxide, traps heat near the Earth’s surface. This causes the temperature to rise; the more greenhouse gases the atmosphere has, the more likely the temperature is to rise. Up until 150 years ago, humans did not produce a lot of greenhouse gases.

As the years went by and deforestation increased (trees helps to trap carbon dioxide), increased use of machinery and vehicles that uses fossil fuels (their emissions produce some of the greenhouse gases) and industrial factories are widespread, there have been an excessive amount of these gases in our atmosphere. All of the planet’s processes are interdependent on each other. The animals, waterways, land and energy all work in harmony.

If one changes, it will surely affect the others. Guyana is located within the tropical regions of the world. We experience sunshine all year round. It should be within our interests because the ozone layer absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolent rays. Not forgetting our country is also below sea-level. The fact that the government had to reconstruct the walls and increase the height over the past years is enough proof that we are in danger. Also, given the fact that our country will be an oil-producing nation in the near future, the use of fossil fuel will increase. As such, we will contributing even more to our own tragic demise as a species.

Did you know that Guyana has an Office of Climate Change? Shockingly to some, yes we do. The Office of Climate Change works along with the government, in fact it falls under the Office of the President. They work on climate adaptation and forest conservation projects such as, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the Forestry Investment.

The Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) also helps Guyana to use more of its renewable energy sources. Over the years, governments have worked on implementing renewable energy projects. Such as, the Amaila Falls Hydropower project, a solar panel farm in Region One and many more. In our own little ways, we can all help to make a difference along with our government.

We can reduce our own personal use of fossil fuel emissions, use more of the renewable energy sources available, plant more trees in our communities or even in our own yards and educate others about the effects of climate change and global warming. We can also advocate towards our policy makers to implement more policies regarding a cleaner and greener Guyana.

One quote that always stood out to me was, ‘One earth we have, one life we live, let’s not destroy other lives but save it.’ Our planet is not a commodity, it is our home. The smallest change in your everyday lifestyle can help make a difference. How our story ends on Earth is up to us because it is not written as yet.

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