On April 22, 1970, thousands of colleges and universities across America organized protests against the deterioration of the environment, marking the first-ever Earth Day. More than 20 million Americans marched through the streets & parks, in order to fight against environmental problems – oil spills, polluting factories, toxic dumps, and more
Nearly a half a century later, we still find ourselves facing many of the same issues and environmental challenges. Today, on the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, world leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York to sign the Paris climate accords to combat the growing threat from climate change.
Sea levels have risen about 6.7 inches in the last century and global temperatures too, are on a steady rise. NASA ranked 2015 as the warmest year ever. From warming oceans to decreased snow cover, the list of evidence that proves that our planet is in danger goes on and on.
In 2015 alone, our planet experienced several extreme events related to climate change, including:
- A severe heat wave struck India and Pakistan with temperatures rising up to 120 degrees F, killing about 1000 to 2500 people.
- 1 July 2015 recorded as the hottest day in the UK as the thermometers hit about 98 degrees F at the Heathrow airport.?
What’s being done?
Fortunately, the results of the climate change performance index 2016 (CCPI) show promising changes:
- Out of 58 countries in the CCPI, about 44 of them have had double-digit growth rates in the development of renewable energy,
- In order to decarbonize, it is important to reduce the consumption of coal. The CCPI marks a decrease in coal consumption for the year 2015. This collaborative improvement is due to large coal-consuming countries like the US , reducing consumption up to 11%.
Even though that may seem significant, the index nominates countries according to how much they’ve done to prevent climate change and since the last three editions, it fails to nominate any of the 58 countries for the top three positions.
How Can We Help?
Since we’ve all contributed to climate change, don’t we all have a responsibility to do our part to effect positive change?
Let’s celebrate Earth Day by taking care of mother earth. Here are five courses that will teach you how to save our planet and also, how to understand climate change:
Have you been following the buzz around climate change but still want clearer explanations? This course from the University Of British Columbia, will teach you the in’s and out’s of climate change by addressing questions like why it matters if we emit carbon dioxide in the air and how is science really connected to the solutions of climate change?
A Washington Poll in 2015 concluded that about 36% of Americans don’t see climate change as a serious problem. Perhaps you’re an enthusiast who wants to participate in environmental campaigns but doesn’t know how to make other people believe in the threat, this course is for you. This MOOC is about how people think about climate change, what can be done to educate the people & address misconceptions. It will provide you with tools to identify, understand and respond to climate facts and climate myths.
Let’s get back to global warming 101, if greenhouse emissions decrease, the effect of global warming decreases. But, how can one really stop greenhouse gases from leaving the atmosphere? Turns out, soil can hold mega amounts of carbon dioxide, which plays an important role in offsetting the affects of climate change. This course from Wageningen University will show you how important soil can be to sustain life on earth, some threats it is currently facing and most importantly, how you can help protect this natural resource.
Climate change has led to sea levels rising and glaciers melting. One of the two strategies that NASA suggests is adapting to the extreme changes. This course will not only explain the effects of climate change on water but also more importantly, provide some adaptation strategies we can use for the coming 50 years!
Ever wonder why so many high-end companies focus so much on recycling? It’s because if we reduce the emission of harmful gasses by recycling products, it will lead to significant changes. The Guardian states that a Circular Economy could reduce carbon emissions to about 70% by 2030. From the basics of remanufacturing to redesigning the way we look at waste, this course is another great tool that can help us, help the planet.
“Climate change is real. It is happening right now. We need to support leaders around the world who do not seek for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity.”