One of the scariest things in life is whenever you start thinking about the environment. With all the changes that our planet had to go through, it seems that the end of our days are near.
An example is the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic clock which represents the countdown to a global catastrophe, like a nuclear war or a change in climate. The Doomsday Clock found its life in 1947, during the Cold War when we all thought there was going to be a nuclear world war. Since 2007 the clock also reflects climate change. In 2015 the clock was set to 23:57, three minutes to midnight.
Also absolutely terrifying: global warming. Scientists say that we have reached an absolute limit when it comes down to Earth’s temperature. Global warming causes rising sea levels because the polar ice caps are melting, additional rainfall which causes floods, and also extreme droughts that are no good for harvesting. Even wars are a result of global warming. Studies have shown that Syria’s civil war is partly caused by the climate change. The drought lasted for about five years and forced farmers to migrate somewhere else.
In November last year, over hundred world leaders came together to discuss the changing climate. They signed a pact to take the CO2-emissions down as low as possible.
But some organizations try to take measures in their own hand. They came up with business plans to get rid off all CO2-emissions. Their plan is to not have any more CO2-emissions by the year 2050. Examples are the ASN Bank, Akzo Nobel and Thermaflex.
Another initiative is “Earth Hour”: it’s a worldwide protest against climate change. It basically comes down to turning off all lights for one hour. Earth Hour started ten years ago in Australia, but has been taken over by a lot of different countries all over the world.
Luckily, not everything in nature is misery nowadays. There are also some natural phenomena that are remarkable. Like what happened in a small city in Italy. In Cadimare, it seemed that the Earth was actually breathing. The sidewalk came up and down, just like your chest does whenever you are in- and exhaling. This was caused by the waves of the sea: the waves pushed air under the sidewalk and found its way out between the small spaces of the stones.
You are probably familiar with the polar light, a phenomenon that usually can only be seen in the Antarctic area. This year it was also possible to see the light in the north of the Netherlands. The polar light is caused by solar wind.
Recently, an underwater research discovered a new species of the octopus. The animal was completely white, due to the lack of any pigment. They called it “Casper the friendly ghost”, because of its color. It is amazing how little we know about the deep sea.
Let’s stay in the underwater world for a while. A little sadder news is the prediction that in 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than there will be fish. Plastic waste is one of the worst things that harms our planet. With all the waste we could draw more than four circles around our planet! A lot of this waste ends up in the sea. It’s impossible for nature to demolish plastic, since it is not a natural or organic thing. Luckily, there are some initiatives against plastic waste. Since October 2014, there is a law in San Francisco against plastic bottles. In other countries (which also includes the Netherlands) it is forbidden to give away plastic bags when shopping. This way they hope that consumers take their own bags with them and re-use the ones they already have. The money that people do pay to get a bag goes to environmental organizations and initiatives.
If you want to take matters in your own hand and be good for our Earth, there are a couple of things that you could do. It is easy to start with separating plastic- and paper-waste. But there are also some other ways to help the planet. You have probably heard of vegetarian or vegan diets. But now there is something new: the Climatarian diet. Climatarians choose to eat locally produced food because this avoids all the energy that is usually spent in transportation. They don’t eat a lot of meat and they avoid beef or lamb to limit gas emissions. And most importantly: they use all the ingredients, also the parts that most people would throw away. This is obviously to limit food waste.
With all the serious changes that are going on, it’s important to be considerate on how you live and think about ways to contribute to a healthy Earth. Be aware of your own footprint on the environment. With love for yourself, for others and for the earth we might just come a long way.
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