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Melting Away: Earth and It’s Climate Crisis

The NASA while talking about the Global Climate Change mentions how we interchangeably use the word ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’, not realising how different they are to each other. Global warming is the long term heating of the Earth’s climate system due to human activities, majorly fossil fuel burning which leads to heat trapping greenhouse gases levels in the ecosystem. However, climate change is both, human and naturally produced warming and its effects on Earth. It is most commonly measured as the average increase in Earth’s global surface temperature. It also refers to sea level rise caused by the expansion of warmer seas and melting ice sheets and glaciers. Global warming causes climate change, which poses a serious threat to life on earth in the forms of widespread flooding and extreme weather.

In polar regions, climate change has meant that ice sheets and glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate which contributes to the rising sea levels in different regions of the planet. Together with expanding ocean waters due to rising temperatures, the resulting rise in sea level has begun to damage coastlines as a result of increased flooding and erosion. Today, about 10% of land area on Earth is covered with glacial ice. Almost 90% is in Antarctica, while the remaining 10% is in the Greenland ice cap. Since the early 1900s, many glaciers around the world have been rapidly melting. Human activities are at the root of this phenomenon. Specifically, since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have raised temperatures, even higher in the poles, and as a result, glaciers are rapidly melting, calving off into the sea and retreating on land. Even if we significantly curb emissions in the following years, one third of the world’s remaining glaciers will melt before 2100. The oldest and the thickest of the ice in the Arctic is already gone. Scientists project that if emissions continue to rise unchecked, the Arctic could be ice free in the summer as soon as the year 2040 as ocean and air temperatures continue to rise rapidly. 

For more than 20 years, Metronome, which includes a 62-foot-wide 15-digit electronic clock that faces Union Square in Manhattan, has been one of the city’s most prominent and baffling public art projects. Metronome adopted a new ecologically sensitive mission, which now measures the time left to prevent the effects of global warming from becoming irreversible. This window was designed by two artists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd. Golan while inaugurating the window, encouraged onlookers to reflect on their own carbon footprint and to come together to create change. “The world is literally counting on us,” he said. “Every hour, every minute, every second, counts.”

Our planet earth needs us today more than ever before. Our actions, decisions, greed for power and money, complacency, ignorance and the fact that none of our actions are affecting us today, but is leaving a dark future for our future generations has become catastrophic. It is easy to sit back and criticize the government for lack of actions but we as citizens are not ready to follow laws as they disrupt with our daily lives. We have to understand our responsibility for our actions and make amends where needed. As Mahatma Gandhi rightly said, ‘Be the change you wish to see.’