As of right now, we’ve got only one planet to call home. But you wouldn’t know it from the way we treat it.
For decades, our quest to innovate has been harboring a darker side: its impact on our environment. Now, the problem has become too big to ignore (although some might still try). Many experts say that it’s already too late for us to escape the devastating consequences of our actions, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still try.
Whether you live in a coastal republic like Venezuela or a landlocked state like Nebraska, climate change needs to be taken seriously. Knowing the causes of climate change, its possible ramifications, and mitigation strategies can allow us to take action to protect ourselves and protect our world before it crumbles.
What is Climate Change and What Causes It?
First, let’s talk about what climate change is and what causes it. The definition here is fairly self-explanatory: this phenomenon refers to the ways in which the earth’s climate has changed over time due to human-perpetuated environmental factors.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some of the ways our climate has evolved includes temperature and precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and water acidity levels, melting sea ice and glaciers, the frequency and severity of natural disasters and extreme weather, and other seasonal changes (like aviary migration, growing season shifts, and the timing of flower and fruit blooming seasons).
Over time, these phenomenons have been easily observed. You might even have noticed that your favorite flowers are blooming earlier than they used to or that you experience more extreme temperatures during the winter or summer than you remember from your youth. That isn’t just your imagination, nor is it a one-off happenstance. In the majority of cases, these events are part of a much larger pattern that indicates our planet is in real trouble. But we’ll get into what that means a little later.
With that in mind, what exactly causes climate change? Is it something we’re actually responsible for, or is it a natural occurrence that simply happens over time?
The EPA and other agencies report that climate change occurs as a result of what’s known as the greenhouse effect. Before we explain what that is, you’ll need to understand some basics about energy. Maintaining a proper temperature is dependent on the balance between the energy that leaves and enters the earth’s system. As you might imagine, energy that comes in is absorbed and warms our planet, while released or reflected energy will not have an impact on the heat of the earth.
Greenhouse gases are atmospheric gases that slow or prevent loss of heat to space, therefore absorbing energy within the earth’s system. You can think of these gases as a barrier or blanket that keeps the planet warm. While that might seem like a good thing, it actually keeps the planet from maintaining its proper temperature. And while the greenhouse effect can and does occur naturally (and isn’t always bad), the problem is that human activity has increased the amount of greenhouse gases that stay in the atmosphere. The buildup of these gases basically increases that atmospheric blanket, making it impossible for Earth to regulate its temperature as it should.
This has already had devastating effects on our ecosystems, but it can also present a danger to human health and well-being. So why should we care about it? Let’s discuss that next.
What Happens if We Don’t Do Anything About Climate Change?
We’ve explained that the greenhouse effect has had negative consequences on the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and even growing seasons. But does that really matter all that much?
The answer here is a resounding “yes.” Although we don’t know exactly what life will look like if we fail to address the problem of climate change, most experts agree that the outcome won’t be positive. Some predict that by 2050, rising sea levels could negatively impact 1 billion people. The arctic could become completely ice-free, threatening the lives of all the animals that call this area home. Extreme heat waves, horrible air quality, massive floods, and endangered plants and wildlife the world over will become commonplace. Already, these issues have become more prevalent and have had overwhelmingly negative impacts on countless people.
No matter how much we wish the problem just didn’t exist, ignoring the severity of climate change won’t fix matters. We need to take action if we want to protect ourselves and our planet.
What Are Sea Walls Advantages and What’s the Climate Change Connection?
Fortunately, there are numerous ways that we can at least slow this evolution. One way is by making full use of the sea walls advantages pointed out by experts.
As we mentioned above, rising sea levels are a major side effect of climate change. Rising sea levels (and even lake levels) have the power to destroy homes, businesses, and even lives. These instances can devastate everything from highways to clean water supplies — so there’s a huge incentive to prevent the damage before it occurs.
Those who stand behind sea walls advantages know that features like levees, berms, and breakers can be used to protect structures and other assets in the event of a flood or rising water levels. In fact, they’ve been used for centuries for this purpose. These hard-walled structures are used to prevent additional erosion, particularly among the shoreline, and are typically placed parallel to the shore. They can also be used to defend the coastal area from flooding.
When these structures are well-maintained, the sea walls advantages are quite clear. They can provide an immense amount of protection against both erosion and increasing water levels. Another one of several sea walls advantages is that their presence can increase the value of land along a shoreline. Waterfront property is often seen as desirable, but many prospective buyers could be scared off by the possibility of a flood or of soil erosion. Although site remediation companies can expertly remove contaminated soil or water once it occurs, most people want to prevent these problems altogether. Since these structures can also theoretically be expanded as the need emerges, they’re fairly scaleable. They can also encourage tourism in areas that might otherwise be negatively impacted by coastal erosion or flooding. It’s no wonder that these sea walls advantages have been toted for generations as a protective measure.
Of course, it’s important to note that — for all of the sea walls advantages that exist — sea walls don’t actually prevent climate change from occurring. They merely attempt to minimize the potential damage from rising water levels. And if we neglect to address the core issues of climate change, sea levels will continue to rise. As a result, sea walls will need to be built higher and higher to withstand the waves. Ultimately, this isn’t a sustainable strategy and ignores the problem at-hand. It’s merely a rug under which we can sweep the problem. However, the problem won’t stay hidden. As a result, we’ll need to find other ways to tackle it.
How Can We Mitigate the Harm of Climate Change?
Especially in a republic like Venezuela, it’s clear that we need real solutions to fight against climate change. Here are a few tactics we can, do, and should use in an attempt to protect our planet as best we can and slow — if not eradicate — climate change.
Use Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Materials
One easy step we can take is to promote the use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials and practices. For example, companies that use concrete or that offer concrete cutting may not always be more eco-friendly than those that use other kinds of materials. Many kinds of wood and steel are quite sustainable, as they can often be reused after their natural lifespan has ended.
Using more efficient home appliances can also help to slow climate change, if not reverse it. If your home’s appliances are due for replacement, consider upgrading to an energy efficient model instead. If you’re in need of cesspool pumping, there are actually eco-friendly septic systems you could install instead.
Use Alternate Power Sources
While there’s a lot we can do on an individual level, it’s up to corporations to implement the use of sustainable and eco-friendly practices, as well. Gas-powered services are undeniably damaging the atmosphere, which means it’s time to start implementing alternative energy use on a widespread level. Solar energy and wind power are both viable options that can reduce harmful emissions and provide the power we need to live our lives. Solar energy already accounts for 1.6% of total U.S. electricity generation, but we need more than that to reduce the effects of climate change. And while we can certainly use these systems at home, companies must also consider how they can use solar, wind, and even hydro power to benefit both their businesses and the world.
Improve the Surrounding Eco-System
We talked about the sea walls advantages above, but there are other ways to improve the environment. Making full use of available tree services to plant vegetation and replace harvested trees can ensure we have enough oxygen in the atmosphere to counteract the harmful carbon dioxide released by greenhouse gases. That’s why reforestation is cited as a strategy for climate change mitigation. Even sod companies can do their part by planting vegetation to increase oxygen and support surrounding wildlife. When habitats are destroyed, animals are destroyed as well — and this can have devastating consequences for humankind.
Recycle and Compost
On a smaller scale, recycling and composting can help us to reduce waste. The larger effects of this are that we can decrease harmful chemicals that are emitted into the air during the disposal and waste management process. While you might want to rent roll off dumpster containers to get rid of trash, make sure that you’re not disposing of waste that can actually be recycled or reused instead. And whether you compost at home or convince your company to start a collective compost pile, making use of food scraps can help to reduce unnecessary waste and even lead a more sustainable lifestyle by growing food (or flowers) at home.
Discontinue or Minimize Harmful Practices
There are tons of other harmful practices that we should discontinue or minimize whenever possible to slow the effects of climate change.
Going ahead with unnecessary construction projects, for example, can disrupt ecosystems and emit harmful chemicals into the air — so you might want to think twice before you book that crane rental. Manufacturing and construction are known to be one of the top drivers of climate change, so companies operating in these industries must explore ways to reduce the harm they do to the environment.
Unnecessary travel and commercial transportation can also be a problem. Transit-related emissions are one of the chief causes of greenhouse gas production, so limiting your use of fossil fuels can make a difference. You might want to keep your boat slip cover on your marine craft on permanent basis or make the switch to an electric car, for example. Air travel is also inherently more harmful than other transportation options. And if you can bike or walk, the planet will thank you. Even something as simple as using reusable bags and containers can help to reduce the effects of climate change, at least on a small scale.
Ultimately, it’s going to require more than canvas totes and the aforementioned sea walls advantages to stop climate change. We may not even be in a position to completely halt the effects of climate change at this point; it might simply be too late, according to some experts.
But while sea walls advantages won’t tackle the root cause of the issue, more expansive strategies like emission reduction and the use of alternative energies can. By taking the time to educate ourselves and making the effort to change our lifestyles (even ever so slightly), we can make a difference in our ability to survive — and even thrive.