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Climate Change and GROW BIOINTENSIVE

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

Climate  Change: Cause  and Effect

The planet is getting warmer. Over the past 200 years, since the beginning of the industrial age, we have been burning fossil fuels, cutting down trees and producing livestock at unprecedented rates. As a result, the levels of green house gases - such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - in the atmosphere have increased dramatically from preindustrial levels. These greenhouses gases trap solar radiation, just like the glass panes in a greenhouse, and warm the planet. This is good to some extent, since that warmth allows life as we know it to flourish. But, as the level of greenhouse gases gets higher and higher, more and more solar radiation is trapped and the temperature of the planet increases to levels we have never experienced. In the last 100 years, the average surface temperature has increased by 0.7°C and it is expected to rise by as much as 4°C over 1990 levels by the end of the century. The eight warmest years on record have all been since 1998.

So what does this mean? According to the World Health Organization, in the year 2000, the increase in temperature cost the lives of 160,000 persons, and this number is expected to double by 2020.

§ As temperatures get hotter, crop yields are reduced, as crops are not designed to thrive under these conditions.

§ Rainfall patterns shift, as we are seeing, causing more droughts, flooding and other catastrophic weather-related events, which will lead to regional food shortages and famine.

§ Finally, with increased temperature, polar ice caps begin melting, which we are also seeing, causing dramatic rises in sea levels, flooding of coastal cities, loss of land through erosion, salinization and contamination of drinking waters and soils.

Each of these events has huge negative consequences but combined together become catastrophic on an unprecedented global scale that threatens life as we know it.      


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