A Climate Change Guide for environmental issues articles 2020 Kids
Many people will leave their homes in search of better places to live, and the poor will suffer more than the rich. This is already happening today. In The Better Future, the effects of climate change would be slower and less extreme, so nature and society could adapt more easily. For instance, governments could help to move coastal communities farther inland where they’d be safer from flooding. Let’s take a look at life in “The Better Future.” In The Bad Future, most places on Earth will be hotter, although there will still be some cold days. School and sports will be canceled during intense heat waves. And here’s the good news: We already know how to make many of these changes. In fact, they’re already happening in many places — just not fast enough. That’s because the biggest challenges we face are not about science, they are about people. Skip to content Skip to site index Log in A Climate Change Guide for Kids By Julia Rosen and Yuliya Parshina-Kottas April 18, 2021 Your home probably gets electricity from power lines that run along your street. They lead to a power station, one small part of a vast energy network that keeps our houses, businesses and factories running. Today, fossil fuels are big business. People use almost seven billion tons of coal every year and roughly 100 million barrels of oil and other liquid fuels every single day. This future would still bring large wildfires and poor harvests, but less often. We could protect forests and plant more trees, which suck some carbon back out of the air as they grow. Indigenous peoples with deep ecological knowledge could lead the way. Fossil fuels form deep underground from the remains of ancient plants and animals. When we extract them and use them for energy, we release prehistoric carbon into the air as carbon dioxide and methane. Produced by Claire O’Neill and Aliza Aufrichtig If we continue on like this, the planet will keep getting hotter and the effects of climate change will get worse. Let’s take a look at this scenario, which we’ll call “The Bad Future” because life will get harder for many people and other living things. Historically, we’ve produced electricity by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. These substances also provide most of the energy used for heat and nearly everything else humans do. These greenhouse gases work like a blanket: As the sun’s energy warms the planet, they prevent some of Earth’s heat from escaping. Human-caused emissions have already made the climate hotter than it’s been in at least a thousand years. And we keep producing more. Changes in the weather will make it harder for us to grow food. In certain places, water supplies will dry up. Sunlight, wind and other renewable energy sources would provide electricity without producing more greenhouse gases. We could store extra energy to use later so that the lights stay on even when it’s cloudy or when there’s no breeze. The ocean will get more acidic as seawater absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. When we burn fossil fuels, we also produce pollutants that can cause health problems. Greenhouse gases also come from less obvious sources. Think about the concrete buildings and sidewalks in your town. What we eat matters, too. Cows and other livestock produce greenhouse gases when they burp, fart and poop. Gases also seep from crop fields. These pollutants hurt low-income people and communities of color the most. They often live near pollution sources like power plants or major highways because of housing prices and discrimination. Bad Future, Better Future A guide for kids, and everyone else, about climate change — and what we can do about it. By Julia Rosen Illustrations by Yuliya Parshina-Kottas Cities could encourage people to travel on public transit and bikes. Planes would still emit some carbon dioxide, environmental issues articles 2020 but we could fly less. The water will keep getting hotter, too, which will help some marine animals but hurt others — including many that humans depend on for food. Coral reefs will likely disappear. In The Better Future, we would get around in cars that run on electricity and cleaner-burning fuels, instead of gasoline and diesel. This would also improve air quality in many communities. World leaders and business people have to get serious about addressing climate change, and the rest of us have to help, if we want The Better Future to be the real future. Will we do it? The choice is ours. Take a look around your home. Your lights, refrigerator and television are all powered by electricity. The cement that holds them together is made by crushing and heating limestone, which requires energy and releases carbon dioxide. Cement, steel and other industries account for about 20 percent of global emissions. Extreme heat and drought will make wildfires even more dangerous. More of us will be exposed to unhealthy smoke. The planet is going to change a lot more in your lifetime. Things could get really bad. Or, if we take action now, we could avoid the worst effects. You can help decide. So, let’s take a look at how both scenarios could unfold. For most of human history, we lived without it. But since the late 1800s, electricity has become an essential part of modern life. Americans now use 13 times as much as they did in the 1950s. In some places, like the Amazon Rainforest, people cut down trees to clear lands for farming. And this releases large amounts of carbon stored in wood and soils. Globally, agriculture and other ways of using the land account for about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. Many plants and animals will face extinction from habitat loss and other human threats. The greenhouse gases we’ve already released will bring warmer temperatures, higher sea levels and ecological changes. But if governments, companies and all of us humans work together, we can cut emissions over the next few decades and avoid the worst effects of climate change. As glaciers and ice sheets continue to melt, rising seas will flood many coastal communities, displacing hundreds of millions of people worldwide by the end of the century.
A Climate Change Guide for environmental issues articles 2020 Kids
A Climate Change Guide for environmental issues articles 2020 Kids
Wealthier countries, which have done the most to cause climate change, would help poorer countries cope with the effects. We could also eat differently in The Better Future. Many people could eat less meat than they do today. And our farms could grow crops that are well suited to the new climate and use sustainable farming practices. In the United States, cars and trucks are a major source of both harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases. Over all, transportation produces more than a third of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions. If you’re a kid, almost every year you’ve been alive has broken a temperature record, or come close. You’ve witnessed huge wildfires, intense droughts and severe storms. This is what climate change looks like, and it’s here to stay. High temperatures could even be fatal for vulnerable populations like older people and those who work outside. That all sounds really bad. But it doesn’t have to be this way! There is still time to choose a different path. Although the science may be settled, the future is not. The transformation would touch every part of society, including industry. what is your role in preventing the environmental