The twenty-two degree temperatures recently passing through southern Ontario may be thought of as a lucky patch of weather for mid-autumn. After all, this comfortable warmth outside is traditionally rare for this time of year. It is almost November and we still have no signs to pull out the winter jacket.
This temperature is, in fact, heavily varied from October’s nine degree average recording experienced in the Hamilton region over the past four decades. In perspective, this one rare outlier of weather is likely part of a transcending pattern of warming temperatures which, as expected, will change the course of weather patterns not only in southern Ontario, but globally, towards a slowly shifting climate.
Daily meteorological conditions are merely a small indication of gradual changing climates imparted by human activities. Some of the infamous anthropogenic factors altering global climate include greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, industrial waste accumulation, and natural resource depletion. The human population’s extract-and-indulge relationship with our Earth must adapt to a give-and-take lifestyle to minimize the extent to which we disrupt our planet’s natural cycles.
Briefly speculating the greenhouse effect as one influence on climate change, it is predicted that every year the global greenhouse gas concentration for carbon dioxide (CO2) increases by 2 parts per million (ppm). This effect basically involves trapping heat closer to the Earth’s surface. The intensive radiation from the sun reflected off the Earth is restricted in our atmosphere when heavy concentrations of greenhouse gases reside in the air (major ones including carbon dioxide and methane). These particles are not part of the Earth’s energy balance, negatively affecting regional climates in high accumulations by harnessing the sun’s energy closer to the surface.
With a CO2 atmospheric concentration currently over 390 ppm and continuously rising, it won’t be long before humans exceed the 350-450 ppm restriction required to avoid hazardous impacts.
Beyond being a sign to pull out the football with a group of friends when the weather is in our favour, perhaps gradual environmental changes we hear about and witness that contribute to climate change raise a series of more critical questions. What state will the Earth be in if affects of human-induced climate change aren’t addressed now? How will future generations cope with survival when we constantly take from and degrade the Earth? Why are we not collectively more active in addressing the countless dangers we’re imposing on our environment?
Because the Earth is changing now, our attitudes towards it must be dynamic as well.