Tidoptimist

Until a few months ago ,I was one; a tidoptimist, a time optimist. Then, I missed a presentation on land degradation that I really really really wanted to hear and see because of this ‘optimism’. I was extremely disappointed in myself because, I thought I had time. It got me thinking of all the times we have taken a while to look into issues that Mother Nature is having assuming that we have time or that the issue will sort itself out.

In the process, we have watched rivers dry,lakes shrink, glaciers melt, deserts spread, different plants & animals becoming extinct and we successfully created a hole in the ozone layer… all this in less than 150 years. *slow clap for humanity *. 😐

 

 

However, we are slowly but surely redeeming ourselves to Mother Nature. We have created policies, signed agreements, and made plans towards reversing the disastrous things that we have done to her. We are talking about it and making her care a priority.

BUT

Some of us aren’t taking it seriously. We think that, ‘time will heal’ and continue with the damage… deforestation, pollution, murdering animals for their parts (elephants, rhinos and pangolins)… Some of us even think that climate change is a hoax!

Time won’t wait for us. The clock is ticking.

TICK. TOCK. 

 

 

Rio 2016 Summer Olympics

Did you watch the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony?

I enjoyed and loved the fact that it was quite GR33N. Mother Nature was acknowledged; They showed snippets of the largest rainforest (The Amazon Rainforest) and one of the largest rivers (The Amazon River) in the world and had Climate Change Awareness by showing a video of the causes, changes taking place and the effects that these changes are having and will have on the world… Even more exciting was the  tree planting by each Olympian. In total, 11,000 trees were planted. 11,000 trees! Amazing, huh? If and when those trees mature, imagine the amount of carbon that they’ll absorb from the atmosphere.

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Just Imagine

Studies show that the sex of turtles is determined by the temperature of the eggs during a certain period of development. With rising global temperatures, there is a concern that male turtles will become rare.

surprised

Just Imagine!

Climate Change. III. It’s real

This is going to be a very short post with a few examples of how real climate change is.

Around me :

Globally:

  • Heat waves all over the world
  • Remember the polar vortex?
  • As the temperatures climb, there is a rise in the sea levels; one, because of the melting ice from the polar regions; two, because the ocean waters are expanding because of the rising temperatures

Read more here, here and here. 🙂

Also, when you find time, please watch An Inconvenient Truth.

 

 

 

Just Imagine

In 1936, there was a skiing competition on the slopes of Mount Kenya!

In the last few decades, the 17,057-foot (5,199 metres) mountain which is located along the equator, has lost more than half of its glaciers. In addition to that, scientists say that its ice is thinning and may all disappear by 2050. This is proof that mountain environments are vulnerable to the effects of global warming, climate change and unsustainable human activities.

Just Imagine!

surprised

 

 

Climate Change. II. Causes

Causes of climate change can be classified into natural and anthropogenic (human caused) factors. Today’s post will focus on the anthropogenic factors; the contributions that you and I make towards these changes/variations in climate.

The earth’s temperature is highly dependent on the balance between the energy entering and leaving its system. The earth warms when it absorbs the energy and cools when the energy is reflected back to space. Some of the things that can change this balance include:

  • Changes in the sun’s energy reaching earth.

The sun follows a natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs in intensity, but the effect on Earth’s climate is small. (US EPA)

  • Changes in the reflectivity of the earth’s atmosphere and surface.

When sunlight reaches the earth, it is either absorbed or reflected depending on the surface and atmosphere. Light coloured surfaces such as snow and clouds tend to reflect the most sunlight (this is known as surface albedo) while dark coloured surfaces such as the ocean, forests and soil absorb more sunlight.

Land use changes and global warming as a result of the green house effect (see below) have affected reflectivity. Land use changes such as deforestation for human activities (settlements and agriculture), means that less energy is absorbed on land and also means that less carbon is absorbed by forests. More carbon in the atmosphere translates to the greenhouse effect which then translates to warming of the earth’s atmosphere. Global warming translates to melting of the ice caps which means that in the polar regions, more sunlight is absorbed by the oceans. Warmer oceans means a change in the weather (stronger hurricanes)… Domino effect…

  • Changes in the greenhouse effect

A blanket is formed in the earth’s atmosphere by an excess of greenhouses gases (GHGs) such as:

  • Water Vapour which mostly occurs naturally and has the least contribution to the blanket.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced from human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation (Forests act as carbon sinks, they absorb CO2,so when they are cut down, less carbon dioxide is absorbed and more is released into the atmosphere).
  • Methane (CH4)  is produced from the decomposition of organic matter from landfills and agriculture. It absorbs more heat that CO2 but is less abundant in the atmosphere.
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O) has its main source in the agriculture sector (organic fertilizers) and in the burning of fossil fuels. 

These gases absorb that energy making the atmosphere retain heat. This process is known as the, ‘greenhouse effect’.

Read more about the causes of climate change here, here and here

If you are a visual person, these kiddie videos below can help you understand the causes better:

and

and finally

Next week, we’ll have Climate Change. III. It’s real

 

 

 

Climate Change. I.

I’m sure you’ve heard of this somewhere.

Climate and Change are two popular words right now; especially when used together.

It has become the norm nowadays that when it is too cold, climate change; too hot,climate change. When the rainy season is early, climate change; when the rainy season is late, climate change. Ice caps are melting, climate change. Deserts are spreading, climate change. Floods have increased, climate change. Hunger, climate change. Poverty, climate change. I could go on and on…

So lets first look at the two words:

Climate according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), is the average weather of a specific place over a period of 30 years. So climate has a system which has five main components which involve measuring the atmosphere (air), the hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (water in solid form e.g. ice), land surface and the biosphere (flora and fauna- plants and animals).

Change– to become different; to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something)different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change describes it as, “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”

So climate change is a difference from the normal. But it can only be called a change if it stays in a different state from the original for 30 years or more. If it is for a few months or years then it is a variation. For example, what Kenya is experiencing is a climate variation. However, more often than not, a variation eventually leads to a change.

Variability may be due to natural internal processes within the climate system (internal variability from the interactions between air and water for example), or  as a result of  variations in natural (for example volcanic eruptions or changes in solar radiation) or anthropogenic /human caused (such as emission of greenhouse gases and deforestation) external factors. (WMO)

So next week ,  we’ll have Climate Change. II. Causes.