Climate change and the havoc it can wreak on the world’s delicately balanced ecosystem is the battle cry of environmentalists and conservationists everywhere. The facts, painstakingly gathered and authenticated by rigorous scientific research and experiments, are truly appalling.
The Dire Picture
- Sea level continues to rise at a much faster rate than they have in the last 40 years, with waters expected to rise by as much as 82 cm. or 30 inches in some areas.
- The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen to 400 ppm from 290 ppm in 1900.
- The average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have increased by as much as four to seven degrees Fahrenheit.
- The Arctic Sea ice cover has thinned by as much as 50 percent.
- Increases in temperature and more frequent droughts continue to stress and endanger the world’s water supply.
Now recent studies have shown that trees, the lungs of the planet, are more threatened by climate change than previously thought. In adapting to their environment (higher temperatures and longer periods of drought), trees were found to absorb only enough water to survive. This makes them extremely vulnerable to minor changes in rainfall and highly sensitive to drought stress.
The Role of Trees
Trees, along with other plants and soils, absorb as much as 25 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that are produced by humans. Drought-stressed trees are unable to absorb as much carbon dioxide however, thereby further reducing the ability of forests to help lower the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.
As any athlete knows, no matter how hard they train and how strong and powerful their bodies are, without the air from their lungs fueling their every movement, their efforts to go for the gold will be in vain.
It is the same for planet Earth. Without a drastic reduction of carbon emissions and healthy trees to help absorb the emissions that are created, climate change will doom humanity and the planet to a bleak future.
It goes without saying that reversing climate change requires a firm and immediate reduction in carbon emissions from both developed and developing countries. It is also in the best interest of the survival of the species as well as of the planet to plant trees as well as to prevent further denudation of the forests that have remained intact.
Without a concentrated and full-force effort, the effects of climate change will alter the course of human history; perhaps catastrophically so, and sadly forever.