Muhammad Mohad Zulfiqar
Mother Earth was blessed with a myriad of fortunes. However as we live in our luxurious houses, work in our skyscrapers and play in our lavish clubs, we have, over time, paid no heed to the plight of Mother Earth. Humans have conducted themselves rather irresponsibly: basking in the riches we have extracted from the planet , it is ironic that we have left the planet nearly destitute. The planet is now crying out to us to put an end to this parasitic affair and save it before it becomes uninhabitable. We humans have triggered a Doom’s Day clock through Global Warming and Climate Change .
Climate Change has altered the natural cycle of the planet . The evidence is overwhelming with constant global temperature rise, melting ice caps and augmented natural disasters. According to NASA, this constant transition in our habitat will not halt in the near future and would carry on towards the start of the next century as well. These predictions highlight the grave situation that may evolve if we do not act fast.
One dilemma that may evolve into a crisis is the inexorable rise in global temperatures. According to NASA, the ten warmest years in last 134 years occurred in the 21st Century. The temperature rise will not be smooth but will fluctuate over time owing to human induced warming. In the worst case scenario, the temperature will rise by an average of 10 degrees Celsius by 2071 as per the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). This temperature rise will be disruptively far reaching for important sectors of society such as health, food security and water supply.
This human-induced alteration in the natural course of events will result in recurrent natural crises. The already destructive cyclones, hurricanes and tornados will become even more pronounced. Heat waves, droughts and scanty downpours will be commonplace. In short, the number of extreme weather events will increase. The percentage of extreme weather events has already increased from 18 percent in the 1980s to 40 percent in the 2000s according to USGCRP. According to a NASA published study, droughts in the second half of the 21st Century could be drier and longer than anything humans have seen for the last 1000 years.
The predicament of Maldives has certainly made headlines as the island state is in fear of becoming the next Atlantis. This is a result of the rising sea levels due to global warming. The polar ice caps have continuously been liquefying culminating in an incessantly rising sea level. According to NASA, global sea levels will rise anywhere from 1to 4 feet by 2100. This rise will swallow many islands, and will surely lead to inundation of many low lying and coastal areas. This elevated volume of water will result in surging storms and high tides.
Current statistics from NASA point out that sea height variation has risen from 25mm in 2000 to 81mm in 2016. This, coupled with a large number of polar ice caps vanishing, will result in the Arctic becoming ice-free.
Human induced warming being superimposed onto the climate has led to vastly varying climatic phenomena. The vast oceans have started to absorb the heat from climate change resulting in the top 700 meters of ocean showing a warming of 0.3 Degrees Fahrenheit since 1969, as per NASA. Resultantly, the expansion of total volume of ocean water will lead to the flooding of vast chunks of land incurring enormous social and economic costs.
Humans are acutely sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions. According to a Stanford University Report carbon dioxide emissions are directly linked to human mortality rates: each one percent increase in global temperature owing to carbon dioxide emissions leads to an additional thousand deaths.
Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide can damage the human respiratory system and cause acid rain. The degradation of infrastructure can be traced back to acid rain as it dissolves many rocks. Additionally food supplies are prone to becoming acidic by toxins seeping into them.
Pakistan has increasingly had to face the worst of this menace. Climate change has manifested itself through noxious smog, polluted water sources and higher daily temperatures. Smog has adversely affected Pakistan causing viral diseases, poor visibility and general annoyance. Undrinkable water across the country has garnered wide criticism and still remains an unresolved problem. Pakistan has become a seriously water-deficient country and vulnerable to extreme weather events like flooding and drought.
Moreover, constantly rising summer temperatures have added to the difficulties of the public calling for more expenditure on air conditioners.
Through the ages humans have vastly availed the resources of the earth but now it seems it is time to deviate from our detrimental ways.
The earth is in a dire state and we are, if not solely then mostly, responsible. We must start to conduct ourselves in a different lifestyle that is more wary of our asperity. It is incumbent upon us to take necessary steps to save our earth from becoming uninhabitable, for ours and the coming generations’ sake.