Climate change

Climate change is here, now. Human activity since the industrial revolution has artificially altered the climate and is now doing so at an unpredictable, but ever-increasing rate.

How does climate change happen?

Climate change is caused by a build-up in the atmosphere of various greenhouse gases (so called because they trap the energy radiated by the sun in an atmospheric shroud around the earth, causing an overall temperature increase). One of the biggest consequences is the rise in sea level:

Rising Seas

The most alarming impact of the build-up of greenhouses gases is the melting of the ice caps covering Greenland and Antarctica – leading to a steadily increasing rise in sea levels around the world.

Other impacts include disturbances to rainfall patterns – leading to droughts as well as floods – disruption to eco-systems, removal of barriers to disease spread (such as malaria), famines and water shortages.

Rainforests

The world's remaining rainforests, in the Amazon, central Africa and Indonesia, are a key element in the climate change equation. If we allow them to be destroyed – for timber, farmland, mining and bio-fuel production – we hasten climate change more than ever (the current rate of destruction of the rainforests – roughly the equivalent of one football pitch every second – makes the damage done by emissions from planes look relatively insignificant in comparison). But if we protect and champion the rainforests, and give their inhabitants sustainable, financial reasons to do the same by creating jobs in forest management, eco-tourism and sustainable extractive industries – then the emissions we create in visiting them are mitigated.

Photograph – Tourism Australia Copyright
looking after the rainforest is the key to a healthy future for us all