Though the issue of global climate change is still considered controversial and rejected by many people, scientists are very clear on the fact that global climate change is happening. Many people discount it since science also says the earth is moving towards another ice age; people do not seem to understand that even if the earth is warming up, it is still subject to certain cycles like ice ages. Because people don’t believe it’s happening, they still do things which contribute to increases in global warming. As global warming continues to increase, it has many effects on the environment which includes melting the polar icecaps, which contributes to rising sea levels; it also increases temperatures which in turn affect the ecologies of all the continents; and it messes up the carbon cycle all over the planet.The first effect, the melting of the polar icecaps, is perhaps the most immediately obvious effect. As the polar icecaps melt, they contribute to the level of water all over the planet. Though the increase is not always huge, over time as the icecaps, all those little increases will contribute in a big way to a big increase of the sea level. These rising sea levels will affect coastlines and change coastal ecologies. Not only that, as more fresh water from the icecaps floods the sea, it changes the salinity levels in saltwater bodies of water which can negatively affect saltwater ecologies, making it difficult for saltwater species to live in those environments. They either have to adapt or evolve, which can take a long time, or seek saltier waters, which may not possible because of desalinization, or they suffer and die because their habitat has been damaged by global warming. People who may rely on those saltwater species for their living will also be affected negatively – either they don’t get food or they can’t make a living.
Increases in sea levels aren’t the only increases. Temperatures also rise, and as temperatures rise, they also affect ecologies on land. Just like the marine ecologies that are affected by rising sea levels and decreasing salinity, species on land also experience changes to their habitats with increases in temperatures. Rising temperatures on land can affect water supplies like ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers, leaving land-based animals, insects, and birds without drinking water sources. This also affects plants, including trees. If plants can’t grow because of no water or because of excessive temperatures, insects, animals, and birds will lose access to sources of food and/or homes and nests or protection. Without homes, nests, or protection, they become more vulnerable to predators. When the predators run through their usual food sources, they become too numerous and are likely to turn to hunting humans for food. Or they start dying out, and as plants and animal food sources die out, humans run out of food sources, not to mention drinking water sources, and some people – like farmers – won’t be able to make a living, which affects the whole ‘chain’ of commerce.
The carbon cycle on the plant also gets affected by global warming. The carbon cycle is a result of natural processes, but burning fossil fuels add to the amount of carbon in the environment. In the natural carbon cycle, natural processes – like people breathing – create carbon, but the environment, through plants and other forms of vegetation, is able to ‘process’ the carbon and make it safe and ‘reusable.’ However, with fossil fuels and other ‘bad’ sources of carbon – not to mention the sheer amount of carbon – the environment cannot handle all the carbon that’s in the cycle, so it all gets messed up, leaving too much carbon in the environment. That’s just unhealthy and unsafe for every living thing.
In conclusion, just because people can’t immediately see evidence of global warming, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Without taking steps to stop or decrease global warming, there are and will continue to be many negative effects on the environment. These include melting polar icecaps which affect sea levels, damage to ecologies, and messing up the carbon cycle.
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