Global warming and climate change


Global warming and Climate Change –How do we manage? Contribute one Watt at a time.

Teachers in the recent times have become the agents of Socio-economic change and we who teach in Higher Education Institutions have a greater responsibility as we are handling not only adults but the youth who will become the leaders of tomorrow. In this context,  the topic of Global warming and Climate change seemed relevant as we find that it is a global problem that can be handled individually. If we could enlighten our youth on the ways and means to counter this and create an  awareness among them, we would be going a long way in preserving our earth for posterity.

Our Planet -Earth was formed 4.8 billion years ago as a ball of fire that cooled over a long period of time due to continuous radiation and cooling. In the meantime the landmasses came into being and the earth’s temperature stabilized and slowly life originated with the appearance of photosynthetic organisms followed by more complex living beings both plants and animals and finally human kind. During the course of its development  the earth went through stages of extreme cooling due to an imbalance in the amount of solar energy received and the amount lost in radiation and cooling. There were also times when there were catastrophes like meteor strikes and the like when almost the entire life on earth was wiped out. But these were all categorized as natural disasters.       

               The world of Today is highly modernized. We have everything at the touch of a button, unlike our forefathers who worked hard to get what they wanted. This is the result of industrialisation which has cost us dearly. We have lost the purity of our air and water, the nutrition in our food and strength in our bodies unlike our ancestors who were healthy and strong. Not only this we have destroyed the natural beauty of our only Home –Planet Earth by causing species extinctions and decrease in forest cover. We have added toxic chemicals to our environment  and made our Home unlivable.  The earth is now going through the sixth extinction spasm and it is the fastest of the six and the only one caused by Man. 

               Industrialisation  along with Urbanisation and Globalisation has led to an unprecedented increase in the green house gases like Carbon-dioxide, Methane and Nitrous acid that trap the sun’s heat in to the earth’s atmosphere. These changes that we have brought about in our planet have been due to our Greed exceeding our Need and this has led to another grave danger what we call Global Warming. Global warming is unequivocal all over the world and it has led to climate change.  The earth has become warmer by about 3o C that has caused the permafrost of the polar regions to melt bringing about at an increase in the sea-level at the rate of 3 mm per year and over the years this could lead to the submergence of the coastal cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Washington, Alexandria, Naples and so on. By 2050 more than 50%of the land area in these cities would be under water. Climate change could also  affect flowering and fruiting in plants and reproduction in animals and thus depriving us of our  food sources.

           There has been an alarming increase in the carbon-dioxide levels of the atmosphere since 1850 which has become 8-fold more in 2000 and ever since it has been increasing steadily. USA has the largest  carbon emission followed by Canada and the Kyoto Protocol was signed to keep a check on carbon emissions globally. Moreover it has been observed that households are the largest carbon emitters in the form of vehicles, home heating systems and power consumption. The future carbon levels have been predicted to double the current levels  with increased use of coal and decreased use of petroleum (due to increase in prices because of increased demand and decrease in availability) coupled with a decrease in forest cover due to climate change. This now becomes a vicious cycle. 

          Control of Global warming has been taken up in a number of ways  up by the developed nations which have large carbon foot prints ( total amounts of carbon released into the atmosphere)  and have been levied a higher carbon tax (tax on companies/industries/nations for the amount of their carbon emissions) as compared to the developing and under developed countries. Countries like Canada with a large foot print are engaged in what is called as carbon trading ( carbon trade allows countries that have higher carbon emissions to purchase the right to release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from countries that have lower carbon emissions) with the poorer nations to ward off the carbon tax. USA, Canada and Russia are some of the developed nations with a large carbon foot print and China and India may be joining them soon. Most of the African nations have very small carbon footprints.  These nations are involved in carbon trading with the developed ones and in return are able to acquire advanced technology for their development.

           Looking at all these events and the harm that global warming is causing to life on earth, it is  time that each and every human being on this earth realized his or her responsibility and contributed to control and prevent   global  warming further in his or her small way. This could start right from our homes by resorting to one or all of these measures such as :

  • Using green energy sources for household heating and lighting-solar energy, tidal energy, wind energy, geothermal energy and biomass energy.
  • Using  energy efficient lamps like compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs in the place of incandescent bulbs
  • Saving energy as much as possible in our day to day life
  • Using energy efficient home appliances
  • Designing green buildings that conserve electricity and water and add to the green cover
  • Reducing motoring and resorting to walking and biking
  • Using easily biodegradable materials
  • Reducing Garbage and decreasing the load on Planet Earth
  • Reducing the use of paper and saving trees
  • Eliminating the use of plastics
  • Making farming organic by use of environment friendly bio fertilizers and biopesticides which will give us a healthy life and
  • Taking steps to release as less heat as possible thus cutting out on global warming.

This will be along endless list and we can add as many measures as we can think off those that will unburden our home of its clutter and make it a stress free and comfortable place to live in. The policy makers may do what they want but we as responsible individuals shall start out in our own small way to contribute to cut down global warming and we will remember the  seven R’s of Earth Conservation- Reduce –Reuse –Repair -Reclaim  – Recycle – Re-green and Restore.

                      We are good to go now as ambassadors of Earth Conservation and Restoration passing on this message effectively to the youth and motivating them to realize this goal. You can take a small test to see how much of an environmentalist you are and if not what are your drawbacks and how you can overcome them. So the take home message for all of us after this session would be that  “Each of us should take steps to protect Earth’s climate”

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dedicated, Passionate teacher and Associate Professor of Botany specializing in Plant Physiology and Plant Anatomy with research interest in Ethnobotany and Traditional knowledge possessing a teaching experience of 28 years.

About Me

Dr. Mujeera Fathima

Dedicated, Passionate teacher and Associate Professor of Botany specializing in Plant Physiology and Plant Anatomy with research interest in Ethnobotany and Traditional knowledge possessing a teaching experience of 28 years. Officiated as one of the co-authors of the XI standard Botany and Bio-Botany textbook (2005) and XI standard Botany and Bio-Botany textbook (2015) as Domain expert for Tamilnadu State Higher Secondary Board of Education. A certified soft skills trainer and counselor holding a Doctorate in Botany and a M.Sc. in Psychology