(Sorry, this post didn't make it through the satellite conneciton to the blog during the trip.)
“What are the effects of global warming that you have noticed? What can we do to stop climate change? Would you mind coming to our school to show us this film?”
The effects of climate change are all around us no matter where in the world we live. Extreme droughts, violent storms, unprecedented floods, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, all of these occurrences are fueled by climate change. It is always important to differentiate between natural fluctuations in weather and global changes in climate, and our polar regions are currently changing on a large scale faster than anywhere else on Earth. We are losing sea ice every year and this loss fuels itself on a positive feedback loop. As ocean water warms it melts sea ice, which is naturally very reflective, exposing dark ocean water that absorbs sunlight instead of reflecting it. Ice normally covers the water and keeps the sun from heating it up, but with sea ice loss, the dark water absorbs heat and continues getting warmer and melting more ice which exposes more water, etc.
Loss of sea ice is also a problem because all the animals in the Arctic ranging from ice algae to krill to seals to polar bears have evolved to live in, on, and around the ice. Without it, they cannot survive. For example, little auks (an endangered arctic bird species) feed on copepods, which eat ice algae, and without the ice, the entire food chain falls apart from the bottom up. This scenario is sadly already happening to many species of arctic wildlife.
Since climate change is directly linked to our carbon emissions, we need to rein in our use of dirty energy sources. While much of this has to do with the setting and enforcing of policy, each one of us can make a difference. Taking a bike or using public transportation instead of a car, turning off lights when you leave the room, and using low energy lighting like LEDs, are all things that help to drastically reduce our personal carbon footprint when accumulated over time.
And we’d love to come show our film at your school!