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There is actually truth behind those tree huggers’ cry for saving the polar bears.

By Clara Elliott

Okay. So let’s get real… I hope I’m not the only one that cringes or rolls their eyes every time someone brings up polar bears becoming extinct or the fact that we will be swimming/melting before we know it. And I have certainly been one to say the “H” word in response. Yup, it’s just a “hoax” I would say and only groups of uneducated hippies are the ones buying it. Seriously though it seems like a big conspiracy that only ignorant people are buying into. A logical mind would say “hmm well according to NBC Illinois this year had its 17th coldest February on record. Cold hard facts (no pun intended) seem to point to the world not getting warmer.” That’s what I would have said too, until I sat through a guest lecture concerning climate change and global warming.  It was then that I started to grasp what it really was and that it is certainly not a hoax. 9 times out of 10 people don’t really understand what global warming is or what it means. Yes it has to do with the world getting “warmer,” but not the “we are all going to melt in a hundred years” kind of way. In this post I’m going to lay out some of my findings from the experts and enlighten you a bit on what some of the global effects are. It is up to you what you do with this information, whether you just end with more perspective or maybe it will be encourage you to explore ways in which you can take action.

Let’s talk a little science right quick. Don’t freak out on me, I got bored in Science at school too. I’ll make this as painless as possible. So first off global warming; this little sucker is a result of greenhouse gases making a sort of blanket in the atmosphere thus trapping (essentially in simple terms) the sun’s heat. Now it does not trap all of the sun’s heat, just more than it should be as of late. It kind of works like a windshield on a car, sun shines in and the heat gets trapped if the other windows are not open. And because of this blanket getting thicker due to humanities influence, the amount of heart that gets trapped increase ever so slowly. Now the result is climate change, as in the climate is getting warmer of course. I want to pause and point out something very crucial that is pretty much the biggest misconception among this generation and clearing this up will be the key for many of you. It is ‘global’ warming, not the specific place you are standing in warming. We are talking the overall global average temperature, which is very different than Illinois’s temperature in February. According to this link www2.ucar.edu/news/what-average-global-temperature-now the average global temp is about 58.0 F degrees, not very hot right? No big deal. This is Global Warming we are talking about right and that is not really that hot…. Exactly, it is Global Warming we are talking about, which according to NASA’s website on climate change (which in the ‘facts’ section it has all of this info and more..) the earth has had a rise in temperature of 1.3 degrees. This doesn’t seem like much or very hot, but when we are looking at the effects of just one degree increase for the earth as a whole, it’s huge.

"Betrayal," by Mario Sánchez Nevado (Aégis Illustration, http://aegis-strife.net)

“Betrayal,” by Mario Sánchez Nevado (Aégis Illustration, http://aegis-strife.net)

Now that we know what Global Warming really is, let’s look over this “proof” stuff. This climate change and mega increase in greenhouse gases is undeniably from humanities influence. Evidence and proof is in the effects. Shrinking Ice sheets, which has led to sea levels have rising over the last century a little over 6 inches and the rate it has increased over the last decade has doubled. Ocean acidification which is caused by the water absorbing the greenhouse gases particularly the biggest one Carbon Dioxide (this is a big thanks to our little industrial revolution) this is in result killing species of fish and effecting coral reefs growth. Extrme weather events are also an effect of Global Warming which we have seen a major increase over the last decades. All this info is not from me a simple little undergrad, but the experts from NASA. Something I would like to add is that not only is Global Warming not a hoax, but it’s global effects on human security isn’t either, it’s very very real. Things like agricultural and food security are really effected by an incrrase in extreme weather events such as draught, in which case impoverished countries are the ones that get the brunt of it. You see? And this is only one quick example.. I hope this brief overview of a simple student’s findings over the obused term ‘Global Warming,’ has given you more persective on this touchy subject. It is undeniable that Global Warming is happening, but what I wonder is; are you the person reading this going to take the next step and look into what you can do to help the adaptation process? To look into what this proof and evidence really means in light of it’s effects? If not for your sake will you look into it for the sake of those within impoverished countries that can’t?