An American vice president, Al Gore, said that while the reason behind dinosaurs’ extinction over 65 million years ago was because of a giant asteroid, the species that are dying out every minute of our lives are not just because of some havocs, but it is US-human (Al Gore, 2006, internet). We are destroying our world indirectly which means we do not just go and kill those entire animals, but what has caused their extinction is due to “Climate Change” that is the result of the Natural Causes and Human Activities.
We used to look at how natural causes have contributed to climate change, but human is now even playing a bigger role in causing climate change. Climate can be defined as the average weather effected by slow features such as oceans, precipitations, and clouds (Slaght, 2009, p34-41). Out of the two main causes of climatic alterations, natural cause is one of them. It refers to phenomenon such as forest fires, volcanic eruptions that cause tons of pollutants to our atmosphere, but also keeps the world in balance.
For example, disasters such as volcano eruptions release at least 130 million tons of pollutants annually. Moreover, studies from the recent volcanic eruptions such as El Chichon, Mexico (1982), and Mount Pinatubo, Philippines (1991) showed that the sulfuric acid liquid drops from these volcanoes also subsidize the depletion of our ozone layer (Volcanic gases and their effects, internet). On the other hand, even if human have not existed on earth, carbon dioxide emission would still happen. Over 95% of the world emission came from what we call the natural cycle of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) such as the decaying of organic materials, but whatever happens during the natural cycle of the earth’s CO2, it is already in the balance of nature or the environmental capacity that allowes how much CO2 can be stored (Common questions about climate change, 2006, internet).
Therefore, as we can see nature has made a lot of contributions to the climate change; however, what they have been doing for these millions of years has already been adjusted by the world’s balance.
Human, on the other hand, is the main cause of the consequences of climate change, especially in the 20th century, counting from the industrial revolution. Just the same as nature, we also release gases such as CO2 to our atmosphere. Some examples of these activities are the burning of fossil fuels and contaminated emission from factories and cars. Looking at the figure above, we can see that the emission of CO2 from ocean and vegetation range as high as from 332 to 439, but at the same time they absorb CO2 at a similar amount they release. Then again, the burning of fossil fuel and land use, only liberate as much as 29 amount of CO2 to the atmosphere, a very tiny amount compared to the ocean or vegetation. But, the question is why we are the main character that causes climate change?
Unlike natural causes, man-made contributions to climate change are not a cycle, but a one way on-going process. We are releasing those harmful gases into the air, but at the same time never do anything to dissolve them back to maintain the atmospheric equilibrium. Our actions are causing extreme weather condition; meanwhile, the main concern that has been attracting a lot of awareness lately is “Global Warming”- the increase in global average weather due to natural or unnatural conditions or in short, the world is gradually getting hotter. Releasing abundantly to the atmosphere, which is the result from human activities such as the fossil fuels burning, small particles move into the air and make a change to the amount of energy that the atmosphere can reflect and absorb. Although the studies of these tiny particles have just started, it is less likely that its main goal is to cool down the Earth’s atmosphere, but to increase the temperature instead (Slaght, 2009, p34-41). Another example of the Earth’s climate adjustment would be “The Green House effect”. Green house effect can be known as the trapping of sunlight made by greenhouse gases such as CO2, CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbon) and CH4 (Methane) that bring about global warming and climate change. Sunlight gives the earth’s warmth. In the natural process, while some sunlight is penetrated to earth, some is bounced back to space known as infrared radiation.
Conversely, what the greenhouse gases are doing is taking up the infrared radiation and shut in all the sun’s heat into the atmosphere (What are greenhouse, 2004). Even though these are the processes that happen on Earth without human intervention, we made a change to it dramatically by speeding them up and at the same time adding numerous problems into it. Due to climate change, our ice caps are melting and our weather is changing, but what are happening in this human industrialization era, it is very unlikely that natural state has caused this. It is us and it has always been us that are causing all of these environment degradation and climate change. In conclusion, there are two causes of climate change; nevertheless, when the natural causes make very little changes to the Earth’s temperature and act as the process of balancing the world’s climate capacity, human activities are the main causes lead to climate change, due to its one way on-going procedures that speed up the imbalance of our Earth’s climate and result in many complications such as global warming and greenhouse effect. This is not what we can overcome easily in just a couple of years with a couple of solutions and people, but this is a global problem that every one of us has to work hand in hand to solve. The well-being of the world is in our hands and if we keep taking it for granted like what we are doing everyday, what is here for us might not be there for our children in the future.
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