Ever since Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for President climate change has, if you’ll excuse the pun, become something of a hot topic. Even so far back as in 2012 the now 45th President of the United States tweeted saying, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”.
But what actually is climate change? What does it mean? Is there anything we can do to stop it?
What ‘Climate Change’ Means
In its most simplistic form, ‘climate change’ means a change in the distribution of weather patterns that lasts a long time. In other words, the fact that it rains for a week non-stop outside your house is not a sign of climate change, but the gradual increase in heat of the planet over a period of, say, thirty years would be considered to be.
In a political sense, climate change is what we used to refer to as global warming. Anthropogenic climate change is change to the environment as a direct result of human behaviour. The reason some people feel that the effect of climate change has been exaggerated is that the earth’s processes mean that its climate will change naturally, therefore their argument is that whatever we humans do is as nothing compared to what would happen anyway.
Can We Do Anything To Stop Climate Change?
Those that believe in the science of the situation, on the other hand, believe that there’s plenty that we can do to help stem the flow of the negative changes to the planet. Look at is this way, if a car was moving gradually towards the edge of a cliff and there was nothing you could do to completely stop it, would you try to slow it down or would you press the accelerator?
That’s a simplistic way of looking at it, of course, but it’s also a valid metaphor. The burning of fossil fuels, for example, increases the amount of greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere. By choosing to use things like solar power and wind power instead of the likes of coal, we could definitely reduce those gases and slow down the effects of climate change.
Things like that, of course, are dealt with at a governmental level and there’s little you can do to affect those sorts of decisions. What, then, can the normal person on the street do? Well, one person on their own might not be able to do an awful lot, but if hundreds, thousands or millions of us did things like switch from incandescent lightbulbs to energy saving ones it would make a massive difference. Making other seemingly small gestures, like planting trees, reducing your waste, recycling and conserving your water use, will also make a massive difference if enough people are willing to do it.