For the past year thousands of Earth Ranger kids have been protecting the Polar bear! Their campaigns have helped researchers study how melting sea ice is affecting Arctic animals. So why is the Arctic getting warmer and the sea ice melting? Most climate scientists agree it is caused by climate change, the long term rise in air and water temperatures that’s happening all across the world.
Here’s how our planet’s climate is changing:
- From 1906 to 2005 surface air temperature across the world rose an average of 0.74°C.
- Eleven of the last 12 years rank among the warmest on record.
- Over the past 40 years Arctic air temperatures have warmed at almost twice the rate as the rest of the world. This warming is causing Arctic sea ice to melt at rates not seen before.
Most climate scientists state that humans are a major cause of this warming and ice melting as we release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapour, methane, CFCs). We create these emissions through things like using fossil fuels in the manufacturing of goods, the production of food and driving vehicles.
Since the 1980’s lots of people have been debating about whether climate change is happening and if we can make changes to try and stop it. Several of the critics of climate change state that global temperature readings that show a warming planet are unreliable because they are based off of too much data from warmer urban areas and not enough from colder regions. Climate change skeptics also question whether it is possible for humans to affect the global climate through emissions and if habitats like the Antarctic are even warming.
Today 97% of climate scientists think that climate change is a real issue and that our actions are a major contributing factor. The more we know about our climate and how our actions affect it the better we can protect our planet. It’s up to us to learn more about the environment and lessen our impact by doing things like conserving electricity, lowering the amount of resources we use and waste we produce, and helping protect animals and their homes. All of us Earth Rangers can share our love for the planet with everyone we know and team up to protect the environment because together we can Bring Back the Wild!