What is Climate Change?
Our planet’s climate is in a constant state of change, and has been for thousands of years. Only recently, in the last two thousand years or so, has climate change taken a serious and detrimental turn for the worse—with unpredictable patterns.
Also called global warming, climate change is accelerating due to rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases (greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere which in turn cause Earth to warm. Increased atmospheric temperatures have wide-ranging impacts including rising sea levels; melting snow and ice; more extreme heat events, fires and drought; significant storms, rainfall, and floods; shortages of clean drinking water; and loss of natural habitats for wildlife, to name a few. These trends are expected to continue and even accelerate in some cases.
Experts cite the main sources of carbon dioxide as fossil fuel emissions (gasoline to run our automobiles is one example) and deforestation. Trees trap and store carbon dioxide to use in the process of photosynthesis. When mass quantities or entire forests are burned or destroyed, the carbon dioxide is released in a rush back into the air. That’s why it’s critical we preserve the trees we have now and continue planting more. More trees mean more stored carbon dioxide. Trees won’t stop climate change, but they can help us fight back.