During this summer with such extreme temperatures, the only thing we wanted was to stay inside all day with the air conditioning on. This is due to a series of heat waves that we have been experiencing across the country. According to the Chuncheon weather station, in August 2018 some of the hottest days in the last 59 years were experienced with temperatures reaching 39.5° C. (WorldData, 2021).
What is the reason for this?
Nowadays, climate change is a topic of global concern; it is a high priority on government agendas and for society in general. It is expected that over the next few years, we will experience the five warmest years ever recorded. This could also be part of an ongoing trend that is a far cry from meeting the agreed targets of keeping the global temperature below 2° C or 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.
If the objectives are not met, the consequences could be catastrophic:
Pollutant gases cause temperatures to keep rising and contribute to climate change. In turn, this increases the risk of fires, leads to deforestation, causes droughts and desertification on earth. In 2012, the countries of the Sahel region in North Africa suffered a devastating food crisis that affected about 18 million people. It was due to unusually low levels of rainfall. In recent weeks in the United States, at least 80 people have died due to the soaring high temperatures, a figure that could continue rising in the coming weeks (Borunda, 2021).
Spread of diseases
Temperature changes can also make temperate zones into the ideal environment for the spread of certain diseases. A study carried out by IS Global, showed that the correlation of cases due to Malaria is “extremely well” related to changes in temperatures in African countries (EFEVede, 2021).
Extinction of animals and plants
Climate change interferes with the essential life processes of many animals and plants, such as their growth, reproduction, and survival mechanisms.
Animals such as koalas, seals, penguins, caribou, and bees among others are in danger due to the increase in temperatures, combined with the low rainfall that reduces their food sources.
In addition, the production of crops such as apples, potatoes, beans, and rice, are at risk due to rising sea levels, along with changes in the distribution and pattern of rainfall that have impacted the land where they are grown today. It is predicted that this will contribute to the extinction of these food stuffs within 50 years.
What are we doing to prevent climate change?
Paul Zarate from Ecuador (MPP, 2020) is a student in KDIS who is passionate about this topic. He’s on a mission to become a climate change activist in the future.
This year (2021) Paul participated in the Global Youth Climate Change Program in Seoul, where young people convene, drawn from a range of countries around the world, including France, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, India, Denmark, and many others. The main goal of this initiative was to co-create campaigns and actionable ideas to promote a Zero Waste Lifestyle.
“The program was a life-changing opportunity for me. I was able to meet passionate people from around the world who showed me that even the smallest of actions can make big changes. For example using a reusable tumbler instead of throwaway plastic cups helps reduce greenhouse gases. In addition, I got the chance to meet Mr. Ba Ki MOON, the former UN General Secretary, and to do a short speech to him and the hundreds of other delegates who attended the closing ceremony. In my speech, I shared my experiences about “what I do to reduce waste”. As the fashion industry generates around 10% of total GHG emissions worldwide, I have decided to buy clothes only from those brands that use recycled material and manufacture the clothing in line with environmentally-friendly processes such as the circular economy.”
Loamy Chica Pincay (2020 MDP), another student from Ecuador, also participated in this program.
“This year I had the opportunity of being part of the GYCC 2021 (Global Youth Climate Challenge). Climate change is real and, it’s not an issue that should only be considered at the high level the policy- and decision makers. I truly believe that young people and communities at the grassroots level can make a lot of noise and bring about some positive change! We can always lead by example through starting with small gestures ourselves at home. We can then share our ideas and tips with our closest friends. Indeed, whenever I get a coffee, I always try to bring my reusable cup, and – if needed – a steel straw, or when I do my grocery shopping, I take an empty bag with me. At the same time, I’ve decided to reduce my meat intake, and learn how to recycle better. Even these small changes to my regular habits can, in the long run, have some positive influence on creating a world more aware of the negative impact that climate change imposes on us!”.
We can all step up right now to join the fight against climate change. Rym Dif from Algeria (2021 MPP) also believes that, collectively, many small actions done every day will contribute to addressing the wider problem.
“At the outset, I hadn’t realized how much climate change can affect all of us. However, I now try to take small actions that can help prevent this. For example, I recycle all my garbage. KDIS is a great help with this since they have an excellent system in place so that all the trash cans are identified. This means that the garbage/recycling can be sorted more effectively. In addition, I try to use less electricity and I turn off my electronic devices when I don’t need them. Saving water is also an important factor. I think that through small actions, we can all make a big difference ”
Help us to prevent climate change! Only you can make a difference to combat it, remember that even the smallest of actions can lead to big impact!