Summer 2012 saw the sea ice in the Arctic shrink to record levels, which will have a devastating effect on the global climate. All that rain we had in the UK from April to July this year was caused by a change in the jet stream, which is an effect of the much-reduced ice cap), as are other extreme weather events around the world, such as droughts in the United States and east Africa.
The extreme weather events have been predicted by climate scientists for years, but what’s worrying is the speed in which they are happening, which is faster than predicted. If you’re wondering why you should care, for one, consider that droughts will put food prices up, which means your weekly shop will be more expensive. Can you afford that?
Lack of sea ice will mean that the world will heat up even quicker as the ice used to reflect the sun’s rays back into space. Now all that dark sea that the ice has revealed will absorb the sun’s heat and push up water temperatures and global temperatures further. The result – speedier global warming, rising sea levels and mass extinctions.
And, what has been our response? With devastating irony, Shell, like GazProm and Cairn Energy sees the collapse of the ice as an opportunity to drill for more oil that will continue our dependence on fossil fuels increasing the amount of CO2 that we pump into the atmosphere, pushing up worldwide temperatures further.
This has to be stopped, the Arctic needs to be designated an oil-drilling free zone like the Antarctic is. Greenpeace is pushing for this, as is a cross-party committee of MPs. What can you do to support them? Donate to Greenpeace, support their protests outside Shell petrol stations, host an Arctic information evening, email your MP asking them to put pressure on the government (oil companies pay lobbyists to push their agenda at parliament; the earth only has us), tweet about it, put articles up on Facebook, talk to your friends, sign Avaaz’s petitions on climate initiatives, support 38 Degrees environmental campaigns and sign the e-petition demanding this government oppose drilling in the Arctic.
There’s so many things you can do, and instead of being apathetic and asking ‘what effect can I have’, if we all did just one thing, then we really can effect change. And, if you want to take steps to reduce your own dependence on fossil fuels as well as your output of CO2, DotheGreenThing has a simple approach that’s really easy to follow.
It’s time to take action.