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Fawad Khan



Hilal Kids English

Climate Change Global Warming

June 2024

Threat to Planet Earth 
Dear young ones, climate change or global warming is the biggest issue of the globe today. This has threatened the existence of planet earth, and there is a need to control it as early as possible. Climate change or global warming is the result of pollution, over population and water contamination. It is not only affecting the earth, and depleting its resources, but also drastically causing negative impacts on weather systems as well as the ozone layer, which is a threat to life on the planet as a whole.

    Let us discuss one by one as to what is the climate change or global warming, what are the impacts of pollution, overpopulation, water scarcity and contamination, and what are the remedial measures, which we need to take on war footings? 
What is Climate Change?
Well, the process of our planet heating up is called global warming or climate change. Experts believe that ever since the 18th century Industrial Revolution in Europe, human activity has caused the earth to warm up by approximately 1°C. Well, this may not sound like much, but it means a lot for people and wildlife around the globe. This 1°C increase is too much because even a slightest change can cause a bigger change within the atmosphere. 

 World climate zones
•    Tropical climates are close to the equator and have high temperatures and rainfall.
•    Dry climates are immediately north and south of the tropical zone.
•    Temperate climates are north and south of the dry zone, although they often overlap in latitude with continental climates in North America and Asia.  

 For example, if the oxygen is increased in the air, it will increase the rate of respiration which can affect human health. Likewise, if it is decreased in the air, it will cause mental confusion, loss of consciousness or death. It means nature is keeping a balance in everything, and we need to keep that balance intact. But rising temperatures and changing climate is actually making our weather more extreme and unpredictable. As temperatures rise, the earth gets hotter and more humid and it’s inhabitants are not able to adapt to that change.

What is Greenhous Effect? 
Well, the greenhouse effect is the process through which heat is trapped near earth’s surface by substances known as greenhouse gases. Imagine these gases form into a blanket that is enveloping our planet!

What Causes Climate Change?
1. Burning fossil fuels
Industries all over the world, during the past 155 years, have been burning large amounts of fossil fuels such as oil and gas. These gases, released into the atmosphere, have formed into a smoke like blanket which is absorbing or trapping heat from the sun. This is called greenhouse gas effect. The heat caused by greenhouse gases is unnecessarily warming the earth, which is causing drastic increase in temperatures, changes in weather systems and problems for humans, forests, wildlife and sea life. 
2. Farming, and Methane Gas
Let me give you the example of methane gas. Methane (CH4) is a colorless, odorless and highly flammable gas. It is composed of carbon and hydrogen, and is also a potent greenhouse gas, meaning it affects climate change by contributing to increased warming. This gas is released by cows. When cows eat grass, methane builds up in their digestive system and is released in the form of burps. This might sound funny, but imagine if the global cattle population is over one billion, how would methane multiply to cause a drastic impact on climate? 

What causes global warming?
Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Normally this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter. These heat-trapping pollutants — specifically carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and synthetic fluorinated gases — are known as greenhouse gases, and their impact is called the greenhouse effect.

3. Deforestation
So, cattle farming and greenhouse gas release is warming our globe. Likewise, forests absorb from air huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is another greenhouse gas. But its impact subsides while the trees release oxygen back into the air. This globe can be stopped from heating up, if the forests – which are called the lungs of planet earth – remain sufficient and continue to contribute in the environment. For example, the Amazon rainforest is so large and efficient that it acts like our planet’s air conditioner. It helps in limiting climate change. 

The temperature of nests determines whether the eggs are male or female? Unfortunately, with temperatures on the rise, this could mean that many more females are born than males, threatening future turtle populations.

    The problem is, many rainforests are being cut down to make wood, palm oil or paper and to clear the way for farmland, roads, oil mines, and dams. So, as an obvious result, tree cutting that’s called deforestation is causing global warming and subsequent climate change. 
How it Affects Our Planet?
The earth has been in existence over the billions of years. It has experienced a number of periods, many tropical climates and ice ages. Yes, the earth had been a home to cattle, birds, animals, sea species, and everything that might have contributed to warming. But the human activity particularly after the industrial revolution in Europe 155 years ago, has been releasing a huge amount of harmful gases into earth’s atmosphere, and records show that the global temperatures are rising more rapidly since that time.
    This affects our planet in a number of ways, likes more rainfalls, drastic change in seasons, shrinking of glaciers and uneven sea levels.
How it Affects Polar Animals?
Wildlife all over the world is the worst victim of climate change. Certain species are suffering more than others. For example, polar animals, whose natural icy habitat is melting in warmer temperatures, are particularly at risk. This is because the Arctic sea ice is melting at a shocking rate – 9% per decade – so, Polar bears, especially ringed seals, who need enough sea ice to be able to hunt, raise their pups or have places (snow caves) to rest, are not finding the required ice for living. 
    Likewise, sea turtles rely on nesting beaches to lay eggs, many of which are threatened by rising sea levels. 

Climate Zones in Pakistan
Pakistan is divided into four broad distinct Precipitation Effective Index Climatic Zones; first is Rain forest (Wet) where PE Index values are between 50 to 148, second is Forest (humid) where index values range between 10-49, third is partly forest (less humid) with index values ranging from 20-33 and fourth one is Arid (dry) having values which are less than 20.

How it Affects Wildlife in Rainforests?
Wildlife on iceless areas is in danger too because of climate change. Apes like Orangutans, which live in rainforests, are under threat as more trees are cut down. Tree cutting is also causing drought; droughts are causing bushfires. So, bushfires have endangered wildlife on one hand and on the other hand, carbon is warming the earth atmosphere. 
How it Affects Humans?
Populations living on earth are the direct or indirect sufferers of climate change. Amongst them, farmers are the most affected community that grows food for us. If they are not able to grow enough healthy food, it means we the consumers will suffer in the end. Farmers, especially in  developing countries like Pakistan, are facing higher temperatures, increased rains, floods and droughts.
Situation in Pakistan
Climate change here in Pakistan has already made rainfall patterns almost unpredictable. Often there is a huge amount of rain, with the resultant flooding. Sometimes, there comes a sudden drought period that affects crops. So, farmers use cheap chemicals or fertilizers in order to improve their crop for earning more money. But the unfair use of chemicals not only damages the health and quality of produce, but also destroys the soil for any future healthy cultivation.

We must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040 if we are to avoid a future in which everyday life around the world is marked by its worst, most devastating effects: the extreme droughts, wildfires, floods, tropical storms, and other disasters that we refer to collectively as climate change.

What is the Solution?
The best and foremost solution lies in the wellbeing of farmers. If they are paid fairly, this means they can cover their costs, earn enough money to have a decent standard of living, and invest in their farms to keep their crops healthy, without needing to resort to cheap methods of farming which damage the environment more. Secondly, the farmers need to stop growing the eucalyptus trees which take up a lot of water. Instead they should grow indigenous trees which take up less water. Thirdly, they should not burn wood for cooking food, but use stoves so that they may reduce the carbon footprint. 
What Should I do?
You and I, every one of us can do a lot. Try switching to energy-saving lightbulbs, walking instead of using car, turning off electrical items when you’re not using them, recycling and reducing your food waste. And many more. Let’s turn on next… to learn more about the environment, and how can we make a difference.

Fawad Khan