Nowadays, virtually no one is not aware of the concept of climate change. In our day-to-day life, irrespective of our geographic location and socio-economic condition, we have to deal with the climate crisis resulting from planetary warming.
Whether it is developed, undeveloped, or developing, every country is now facing the serious impacts of climate change. Almost all industrial processes need the burning of fossil fuels that emit harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Those greenhouse gases trap the sun’s heat in the planet’s atmosphere and do not let the heat return to space. This is called the greenhouse effect, which is the main reason for the rising global temperature.
Though developed and developing countries are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, the poor undeveloped countries also have to suffer due to these issues. Every year, we experience terrible changes in the earth’s climate and ecosystems, and biodiversity worldwide is under serious threat.
All these things remind us that we are heading towards our destruction. Climate scientists publish several reports on weather events of that year that give us a clear concept about our planet’s past, present, and future climate conditions.
Read on to know the environmental impacts that the world witnessed in 2021:
2021 has shattered all the records of heatwaves of the past years. Hundreds of people suffered as a result of frequent and extreme heatwaves. Climate experts said, “July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded.” Farmers had to struggle with drought, scarcity of water, and a few places. In June 2021, hundreds of people died because of a severe heatwave in Canadian Pacific Northwest and the United States. During those heatwaves, countries like Oregon, Portland, etc., set an all-time high record of 46.7 degrees- Celsius.
For the countries like Brazil, 2021 was one of the driest years of this century. In Turkey, Algeria, and Greece, dry, hot summers and strong heatwaves force thousands of people to flee their homes. By 2021, mountain glaciers worldwide are shrinking due to global warming, and Switzerland alone will lose almost 500 glaciers. By June 2021, many countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Oman, and Kuwait, had exceeded 50 degrees Celsius.
Global warming makes weather dry and hot, increasing and prolonging wildfire activities. By 2021, we will witness many forest fires in almost every country in the world. In 2021, Bootleg Fire in Oregon (a state in the Pacific Northwest) burned and destroyed nearly 400,000 acres of land, making it the third-largest fire in Oregon’s history. In 2021, Dixie Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, burned nearly half a million acres of land, and it also destroyed nearly four hundred houses and buildings.
By 2021, fires in Russia will destroy more than 18 million hectares of forest. The fires destroyed about 16,000 square kilometers of Turkish forests. Wildfires burned more than four hundred twenty-four square miles of land in Greece. The Prime Minister of Greece opined that those wildfires were “the greatest ecological catastrophe of the last few decades.”
Global warming and climate crisis play a crucial role in disrupting the water cycle. It causes frequent rains and intense floods. By 2021, many parts of the world will witness severe floods. In 2021, floods and landslides in Maharashtra, India, will kill more than two hundred people. Heavy rain has killed more than 300 people in China’s Henan Province. Canada’s nearly $ 7.5 billion fortune has been destroyed by recent floods. In eastern Belgium and western Germany, more than 200 people died in heavy rains, floods, and landslides.
In August 2021, New Yorkers had heavy rains due to Hurricane Ida. The same month, other areas of Central Tennessee received “43 inches (17 inches) of rain in less than 24 hours. The rain was so destructive that it washed away many homes and killed about 22 people. In May 2021, more than 450,000 people were affected in Brazil by severe flooding from several rivers. One in every fourteen residents (almost 780,000 people) in South Sudan was affected by “the worst floods in 60 years”.
Typhoons and Hurricanes
The temperatures of the oceans around the globe are increasing as an impact of global warming, and it causes stronger and more violent storms. In August 2021, Hurricane Ida struck the United States, and 91 people in 9 states died. According to one estimate, Hurricane Ida damaged wealth worth almost $95 billion.
In May 2021, a deadly tropical cyclonic storm named Tauktae became the strongest tropical cyclone to hit India since 1998. This tropical cyclone caused over 122 deaths on the west coast of India.
Global warming affects the water cycle and causes drought and water scarcity. An article published in December 2021 showed that almost 80% of places in the western U.S. were in extreme drought. The article also states that twenty months (January 2020 – August 2021) is the driest period for the regions of the southwestern United States.
At that time, the two main reservoirs – Lake Powell and Lake Mead – had reached their lowest levels since the lakes were full. In 2021 Madagascar also witnessed “its worst drought in 40 years.” This made more than 1.14 million people suffer from food insecurity in that region. Last year Central and Southern Brazil also saw its worst drought in almost one hundred years. Due to droughts and decreased rainfall, people living in South America, Mexico, etc., suffer terribly.
Towards the solution:
Climate change and its far-reaching impacts are serious problems that are not easy to solve. As it is a global problem, one country can’t limit climate change. Irrespective of caste, creed, geographical location, religion, and socio-economic condition, everyone should come forward to take responsibility to make the planet climate-neutral.
What nature needs now are our empathy and conscious actions. A lot of mistakes have been made by us. Coming out of their limited self-centrism, every individual and organization should collectively engage in environmental activism. All nations should collectively plan for climate change reversal. Instead of regretting past misdeeds, if we take immediate actions, we will possibly be successful in keeping the earth habitable for generations to come.
Climate Change and Other Issues:
It has been the most important issue of the 21st century. Almost every nation in the world has witnessed the rise of environmental problems that are a great threat to the planet’s development. There are two main issues related to environmental problems:
Humans have become a major factor in driving climate change. For instance, human activities lead to increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the carbon dioxide absorbed by the earth from the atmosphere and stored in the oceans. Such stored carbon is the cause of the increase in the earth’s temperature.
This refers to an increase in the average temperature on earth over some time. It is also called Global warming because it occurs over the globe. There is no general agreement on the exact amount of global warming, but it is believed that by the end of the 21st-century earth’s temperature will increase by 3 °C. This increase in temperature will lead to large-scale changes such as rising sea levels and polar ice caps drying up.
These are natural disasters. People believe that natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and forest fires are unavoidable consequences of natural changes. Humans cannot change the natural cycles, and they should not be responsible for the consequences of their actions. However, it can be controlled and avoided in some ways and by some means. There are many other problems faced by mankind like drought, loss of forests, shortage of freshwater, and many more.