Code red for humanity: What does that mean for us?

Digital Originals

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s a code red for humanity: Aug. 9, the United Nations released its climate change report. The earth is in a danger zone.

In the 3,000-page report, more than 200 scientists identify warming as responsible for sea-level rise and more extreme weather events.

So what is climate change?

Sherri Morris, the chair of the biology department and co-director of the center for stem education at Bradley University, said, “The amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere have been increasing. And as those increase, we have an increase in temperature.”

“Climate is the average weather conditions over 10 or so years, so climate change reflects how our average temperature conditions or our rainfall amounts are changing over longer periods of time,” said Catherine O’Reilly, a professor in the department of geography, geology, and the environment at Illinois State University

But why is climate change important?

“We’re going to have more hot days, less winter/snow cover, more of these really intense storms that are happening, and that’s just us locally,” said O’Reilly.

And what does the report tell us?

“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred,” said Jeanie Bukowski, the associate professor of international studies at Bradley University.

In short, the report claims humans have caused their own global warming, so can we reverse it?

Morris said, “We lost that opportunity, probably 20 years ago, we are not going back.”

The report says we are in a code red, but it tells policymakers what they can do to slow down the warming.

Here are a few examples of what can be done to lower carbon emissions, according to The New York Times:

  • Carpool – this way, emissions is split between the number of people in the car.
  • Extend the life of your food, including additional portions, as well as produce like fresh herbs, by freezing them properly.  
  • Turn down the heat. Use a programmable or smart thermostat, if you have one. Keep blinds closed to help keep temperature stable inside.
  • Choose renewables. If you live in a state where you can choose your energy supplier, pick one that runs on renewables.

For those wanting to lower their carbon footprint, a full list of what can be done can be found here.

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