“We have a single mission: to protect and hand on the planet to the next generation.” This thought provoking statement was voiced out by Francois Holland, the former President of the French Republic. And how right he is! That is our main goal, and one of the only responsibilities of human kind.
Other than respecting each other as individual human beings, our only solemn duty is to respect Mother Nature, to respect the world that gives us being and protect it for our descendants. And what a terrible, miserable thing it is that we have failed at even that!
In fact, we have done such a terrible job at protecting Mother Earth that she has now given up on us. The climate has changed so drastically within the last couple of years that we may very soon not have a planet to live on. Let us discuss exactly what climate change is, the causes of this change and the various alternative technological developments that can help us get through this disaster.
What is Climate Change?
A lot of people get confused between the terms weather and climate. Weather refers to the conditions of the atmosphere. It usually describes the extent or rain, heat or cold, or whether the sky is stormy, cloudy or clear. On the other hand, climate refers to the average weather conditions that are prevailing over a given area for a long period of time.
But as of late, the climate of most places has undergone a drastic change. This has led to a pattern of new weather conditions, especially over the last decade. This is in fact what climate change is. These changes can be observed in all the five layers of the atmosphere: the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere and the exosphere.
A prominent example of the Climate Change is the Ice Age. And we all know how that ended. But there is a slight difference between the terms “climate change” and “change in climate”. A change in climate can refer to the changes that occur due to the Earth’s natural processes, whereas the former is used to refer specifically to the changes that occur due to human activities or man-made processes.
Causes of Climate Change
Here, we will only discuss the changes in climate that occur specifically due to human activities, that is to say, anthropogenic climatic changes. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the average temperature of the world has shown an increase by 0.8 degrees Celsius.
Other than the increase in carbon dioxide, another cause of the climate change is the release of aerosols into the atmosphere. Aerosols are dust particles which are released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels or wood is burnt. Some types of aerosols have a warming effect, while others are cooling in nature.
There is nothing definite that we know about aerosols. All we know for sure is that it creates an imbalance in the incoming and outgoing radiations in the atmosphere.
While most people think that climate change occurs because of individual people’s activities, this assumption is not necessarily true. Each person can of course contribute to saving our environment in their own way, the main responsibility of all the pollution lies on the large-scale factories and industries. These release so much pollution almost every minute, which hurts our land, water bodies and air.
Even excessive use of electricity is a cause for climate change. To produce electricity, a lot of resources are being depleted for power: geothermal, land, nuclear, etc.
Effects of Climate Change
Since the Industrial Revolution, the atmospheric concentration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrous Oxides (NxO) and Methane (CH4) has drastically increased. These gases are called the “Greenhouse Gases”.
If you are unfamiliar with the term Greenhouse effect, here is a simple explanation. In winter, most plants do not receive sufficient sunlight or heat to grow. In these cases, the plants are kept in glass houses. The sun’s rays enter the house and reach the plants, but are not allowed to leave the house due to the inner surface of the glass.
This keeps the plants nice and warm. However, we humans are not the same as plants. The greenhouse gases form a blanket around the Earth. They allow the sun’s radiations to enter through them, but not to leave the surface of the Earth. This raises the temperature of the Earth, which has very severe consequences.
In North-Western Europe, the temperature has increased by approximately 1.5 degrees Celsius. While this might sound very less to you, you have to keep in mind that our Earth has been perfectly built to sustain life. If gravity was 0.1% more or less powerful than it currently is, we would not be alive.
We would be sucked up into a vacuum. Similarly, because of this minuscule increase in the temperature, the sea level has risen by around twenty centimetres and a lot of polar glaciers have considerably shrunken down. This is also referred to as global warming.
We are now experiencing longer and much more intense heat waves, all around the planet. The future predictions, as stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are:
- A rise in sea level by almost 4 feet by the year 2100
- An increase in the strength and intensity of hurricanes
- The Arctic zone will become ice-free by 2050.
- There will be an increase in the frequency of droughts, floods and heat waves.
Alternative Technological To Assist in Climate Changes
In 2016, Bill Gates has said, “Climate change is a terrible problem and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority.” However, in the same breath, Gates continued that only cutting down on global emissions will not help solve our climate problem.
The amazing technician could only think of one way out, what he was best at: technology. So along with other millionaires of the world, Bill Gates set up a fund to find technological solutions to climate change.
Here are some of the possible solutions to climate change using alternative technology:
1. Creating a Dyson Sphere to power all our electrical activities:
One of the main renewable resources that can be tapped into and used is the Sun. It gives us so much power in fact that the whole world could singularly run solely on solar energy. A Dyson sphere is a mega structure that completely envelopes the Sun and captures its power output.
Considering the size of the Sun, it is not possible to have enough resources on Earth to surround. Hence, we can build a Dyson Bubble instead, which is similar to putting multiple solar panel materials all around the sun. This will make Earth completely Eco-friendly.
2. Power Generation Through Nuclear Fusions:
A Canadian Company called General Fusion is working on a project which would use nuclear fusion energy plants as the only source of energy. Fusion does not produce any greenhouse gas, and emits only helium as a by-product.
The helium emitted can be further used to continue the reactions. There are also no possibilities of melt-down or long-lived waste. The fusion fuel will be sufficient to power the world for hundreds of millions of years.
3. Finding alternatives to Transport to reduce Pollution:
It has been conclusively proved that road vehicles produce a very high percentage of air pollution. But new technology is believed to produce electric cars to travel the same distances that cars powered by petrol can travel.
These cars can also be recharged fully in the same amount of time that it takes to fill petrol of diesel into a car. This not only reduces the rate of petroleum, diesel and coal that are non-renewable but also reduces the carbon dioxide emission.
Climate change promises to change everything in our world, unless we can do something about it to protect our lives, our children’s children and our Earth. We must pledge to practice sustainable development, which refers to using things required for today’s generation without compromising the ability of the future generation to survive. I take the pledge to save my planet. Do you?