BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global Health: Climate Change



Significant changes in the earth’s climate system which result in new weather patterns that may last tens to millions of years is referred to as Climate Change. The climate system receives energy from the sun as well as dissipates energy to the outer space in order to maintain the balance of incoming and outgoing energy. This balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines earth’s energy budget. When the incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, earth’s energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming.  On the other hand, if more energy goes out of the climate system compared to that which comes in, then the energy budget becomes deficit or negative and earth experiences a cooling effect.

The climate system is made up of five interacting parts which include:

  • Atmosphere (air)
  • Hydrosphere (water)
  • Cryosphere (ice and permafrost)
  • Biosphere (living things)
  • Lithosphere (earth’s crust and upper mantle)

Climate change is widely recognized as one of the most urgent problems currently facing humanity, and the world at large. Fortunately, humans have the knowledge, technologies, and resources to solve this problem, in ways that support the most vulnerable nations and communities. We must take care of the earth’s atmosphere which is part of a global system that keeps the temperature of the universe within a habitable range. Sadly, we have not kept up with this mandate due to industrialization.

Since the advent of the industrial revolution, humans and their activities have continued to alter the composition of the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. The resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) builds up in the atmosphere, creating the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect then traps energy from the sun and raises the temperature of the earth causing a positive change in the climate. An example of greenhouse gases is methane released mainly by natural gas production and nitrous oxide from nitrogen-based fertilizers. Greenhouse gases occur naturally and are essential to the survival of living things because they keep some of the sun’s warmth from reflecting back into space making the earth habitable. However, human activities including industrialization, deforestation and large scale agriculture, have increased the quantities of these atmospheric greenhouse gases to record levels not seen in three million years and which threaten the existence of life. As populations, economies and standards of living grow the cumulative level of greenhouse gas emissions increases.

Currently, the wide-ranging impacts of climate change are felt globally: various studies have reported an increase in annual temperature worldwide which is predicted to further increase by the year 2050. The ecosystem is changing and if nothing is done, many species may go extinct because their habitats are changing faster than they can adapt.

We can choose a future that prevents the worst impacts of climate change, by controlling our population as well as making a rapid transition from fossil to renewable energy sources which is very affordable.

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