Updated: Oct 19, 2021
I will discuss the reality of the climate crisis that is impacting every country on the planet. It is time, once and all, for folks to acknowledge the gravity of the climate crisis. This article will present and lay out the stark, bare facts on the crisis through statistics. I will present some practical strategies that individuals can implement in their respective areas to become more environmentally green.
The climate change crisis can be explained as human-induced environmental degradation caused by using business-as-usual methods, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. What I mean by business-as-usual in this context is the extent to which corporations and businesses are willing to go to compromise our planet and species for the sole purpose of generating profit. The business-as-usual model is primarily driven by greed and wealth at the expense of our precious Mother Earth.
It is near to impossible for all of us to escape the ubiquitous coverage of the climate change crisis through traditional news sources and social media platforms. It seems as if every time we look around, there is always a catastrophe, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. The wildfires on the West coast of the United States, namely in states, such as California and in other countries, such as Australia, are incredibly heartbreaking and unfortunate to witness. Another climatic phenomenon that has received heavy coverage in the media is flooding. Flash flooding has been a frequent occurrence in a multitude of countries from all continents. Nations, as varied as Italy to Bangladesh have been severely impacted by this phenomenon.
I have also conducted some additional information about the climate crisis. I was curious about the overall prevalence along with the impact of it on our general health and well-being, and the information I discovered was highly unsettling and miserably bleak, especially for future generations! In the following section, I will highlight various environmental events that are wreaking havoc on our planet.
I.) Environmental Catastrophes
a. Heat waves:
According to the UNICEF report, "The Climate Change Crisis is a Child's Rights Crisis", the last six years have broken a record for the hottest years on Earth due to high temperatures.
2020 has been deemed the hottest year on the planet, and 2016 is the second runner-up of being the hottest year on Earth.
A disturbing statistic highlighted in the report is that about 820 million youth, or about 33% of children in the world, are exposed to dangerous heatwaves.
b. Water scarcity:
Solely, 2.5% of the world's water is considered naturally fresh, in which 2/3rds of the fresh water is stored as ice and glaciers.
About 0.3% of fresh water is located in lakes and rivers.
About 240 million children live in areas that are heavily exposed to coastal flooding
A confluence of factors attributed to this particular phenomena, such as rising sea levels and high global temperatures.
Around 400 million youth worldwide reside in countries/regions that are notoriously exposed to tropical cyclones.
Tropical cyclones are rapid, low-pressure storms that are cyclical in nature and form over tropical or subtropical oceans. The Caribbean region is an example of an area that is highly prone to cyclones, namely hurricanes.
e. Vector-borne diseases
Yellow fever, dengue, and malaria are just a few of many examples of vector-borne diseases. The mosquito is at the origin of these vector-borne illnesses.
I read a startling statistic that malaria has taken over 400,000 lives, with children bearing the heaviest burden. In fact, less than 70% of fatalities from malaria can be linked to children under five years old.
In 2019 alone, the number of malaria cases internationally was at an astronomical amount of 229 million and counting.
The second type of vector-borne disease that is making headlines around the world is dengue. Like malaria, it originates from mosquitoes. Disturbingly, about 3.9 billion people have become exposed to it, and unsurprisingly, children are the most vulnerable group to be highly likely to succumb to the illness.
Many attributable factors are that are the primary drivers behind dengue fever ; they are temperature changes, high humidity levels, and unusual precipitation patterns.
Pollution impacts nearly every country worldwide; alarmingly, about 90% of children all over the world breathe and inhale noxious air.
A whopping total of 600,000 children passed away from some form of a respiratory illness, and this statistic is just from 2016 alone! Just imagine the number of children now, in the present time, who needlessly die from preventable causes!
Lead pollution is also another toxic phenomenon(pun, intended) that is globally prevalent, commonly traced to soil and water.
33% of children, which equates to 815 million children, possess a high lead level located in their bloodstreams, over 5 micrograms per deciliter, that can be dangerously harmful to their general health and well-being.
Source: YouTube *Disclaimer*: I do not own the rights to this video*!
II. Key Implications-closing points
There are a few takeaways I would like my readers to gain from this article. The first takeaway is that not a single country in the world is immune of the aftereffects from the climate change crisis. It is here to stay with us indefinitely, folks. We must come to grips with the stark reality that we as humans were the primary drivers of this crisis. Society, as a whole, namely corporations, is driven by greed and profit, so much so that we are willing to destruct our precious, finite planet at all costs, all for a buck.
As a matter of fact, I take my hometown state of Delaware, located in the United States, for example. This week, I was intrigued by a newspaper article I read published in my local newspaper that stated that about 60 mosquito species currently exist in the state. Moreover, out of the 60 species, 19 bite humans and are carriers of harmful diseases, such as malaria. Another indication of the climate crisis that I have seen firsthand in my hometown is the skies transmitted the pollution from the forest fires that are currently plaguing the West Coast. This past summer, I noticed that the sky emitted a rosy hue and produced relatively thick levels of fog that made it difficult to drive in. The pollution was also responsible for emanating a burning smell that was easily detectable if one stood outside for some time.
I was lucky enough to survive a tropical hurricane while vacationing in Mexico this past summer. The winds were over 80 mph, and it was stormy. There were a few torrential downpours that occurred the previous days that led up to the hurricane storm. I don't recall the name of the storm; it was maybe Hurricane Grace. As one can imagine, the areas surrounding the resort were significantly impacted by the hurricane. I remember seeing debris strewn everywhere on the premises, such as the leaves and branches from the trees and plants. Fortunately, there was no grave infrastructural damage from the storm.
The second key takeaway I would like to readers to obtain from this article is that the climate crisis is a human rights violation. Although the climate crisis is a global issue and affects everyone, the unvarnished reality is that it will disproportionately impact marginalized groups more than others, such as women and girls. Girls, primarily from areas, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, are responsible for traveling long distances to obtain water for their entire household, impacting their ability to attend school and learn, which is hugely unfair. I want readers to understand that the climate change crisis can increase the high likelihood of other human rights violations, such as the lack of a clean, safe environment, water scarcity, and poor sanitation.
Here are some tips for readers to become environmentally friendly:
Recycle and reduce waste
Instead of drinking out of plastic bottles, use a refillable mug; it cuts down the amount of it in our landfill
Walk and use public transportation to reduce ambient pollution.
Educate yourself on the climate crisis through podcasts, news sources, research, and other channels
Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth
Take quick showers
Alhattab, S & Ingram, T. (2021, August 19). One billion children are at 'extremely high risk' of the impacts of the climate crisis. UNICEF.org. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/one-billion-children-extremely-high-risk-impacts-climate-crisis-unicef.
Communication, D. of, & Rees, N. (2021). (publication). The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children's Climate Risk Index (pp. 1–128). New York, NY: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). https://www.unicef.org/media/105376/file/UNICEF-climate-crisis-child-rights-crisis.pdf
Environment and climate change. UNICEF. (2019, September 19). Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://www.unicef.org/environment-and-climate-change.
Griffin, K. (2021, October 6). Feeling the bite. The News Journal, pp. 1A–4A.