written by Adides Gideon Simanjuntak, Stephanie Ruth Armida, Rafy Ramadhan: Content Writer Interns at Project Child Indonesia
Have you noticed the extreme weather conditions around us lately? Recently, our country has been hit by the Tropical Cyclone Seroja in East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. It is one of many other natural disasters we have had. Indonesia has had 197 natural disasters between January 1 and January 23, 2021, according to the Indonesian National Board of Disaster Management (BPNB) (Fardah, 2021). This phenomenon also happens in other countries. For example, the Australian wildfires that happened last year which were caused by heat waves. Early in this month, Germany just had late-season snow in April (Washington Post, 2021). What is actually going on and why is it happening?
Extreme Weather due to Climate Change
Remember about global warming? It’s just getting worse. The increasing greenhouse gas emission (GHG) due to the overuse of fossil fuel, deforestation, and industrial factory farming (Causes of Climate Change, 2017) has caused earth temperature to increase. It led to climate change and triggered extreme weather– an unpredictable weather that occurs greater than its range in the past (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2005).
The Impact of Extreme Weather
Extreme weather triggers heavy downpours, droughts, floods, storms, heat waves, and hurricanes. Met Office (2018) explained that it happens due to the unstable situation of the atmosphere and the rising temperature of the sea. These will bring negative impacts not only to our environment, but also to the economy and social sector.
For the environment, extreme weather might reduce the ecosystem’s capability in absorbing carbon; hence, increasing the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere (The Weather Channel, 2013). Drought is one of the most damaging extreme weather in this context, because as trees and plants die, there will be nothing to absorb carbons. Hence, the extreme weather will be even worse. Drought also puts living creatures in danger.
Drought also brings death to plants and it surely disturbs the ecosystem. The danger is not limited on the land, as the rising temperature in the sea will also disturb the marine ecosystem. This results in the loss of biodiversity of flora and fauna. It can also increase health risks to humans (What Are the Effects of Climate Change?, n.d.). Extreme weathers like floods and unpredictable hurricanes can even cause casualties in a short amount of time.
Economy and social wise, the destruction of agriculture, infrastructure, productivity and other fields may threaten our economy and social life as well. Losing our land and water due to extreme weather can lead to food insecurity, affecting not only the local people but also to the market. This can result in economic problems including the loss of jobs while our government has to spend money to aid the affected.
Every Cloud Has Silver Lining, Including COVID-19
Though the current pandemic has brought so many problems into the world, it has also brought a good impact that shows us that reducing climate change is possible. If the climate change issue is solved, extreme weather will disappear on its own. Dwortzan (2021) said that many countries are showing great reductions on GHG due to less transportation activity, decreasing usage of fossil fuels and sustainable sources of foods. For the first time in forever, the world has been put into rest. It shows us that our actions matter in light of fighting climate change.
Our Actions Shape Our World
Even our smallest actions can make a big difference. We can start making changes by reflecting about our daily activities. For instance, we can try paying attention to our eating habits. Make sure that we eat and buy food responsibly to minimize food waste. Believe it or not, food waste also has its part in emitting greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. You can also try growing your own food by doing urban farming. You can grow your own vegetables even in a minimum space, for example on your garden or rooftop.
Regarding energy consumption, we can start using energy more mindfully. We can start in our house by plugging off our charger after using, eating outside less, and minimizing electricity consumption. We can also take public transportation if possible to reduce the usage of fossil fuels.
Last but not least, do not hesitate to spread awareness about these issues to your friends! Sharing your eco-friendly behavior can inspire others to act on our world, and together we can make our world a better place.
“Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay”
Days After Historic Warmth, Europe Braces for Shocking Blast of Cold, Snow. (2021, April 5). Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/04/05/europe-cold-blast-snow/
Can Extreme Weather Make Climate Change Worse? | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com. (2013, August 15). The Weather Channel. https://weather.com/science/environment/news/can-extreme-weather-make-climate-change-worse-20130815#:%7E:text=The%20researchers%20have%20shown%20that,to%20remain%20in%20the%20atmosphere.
Causes of climate change. (2017, June 28). Climate Action – European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/clima/change/causes_en#:%7E:text=Humans%20are%20increasingly%20influencing%20the,greenhouse%20effect%20and%20global%20warming
Dwortzan, M. (2021, January 29). How will Covid-19 ultimately impact climate change? MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology. https://news.mit.edu/2021/how-will-covid-19-ultimately-impact-climate-change-0129
Fardah. (2021, February 6). Indonesia enters 2021 with “abnormal” natural disasters. Antara News. https://en.antaranews.com/news/167468/indonesia-enters-2021-with-abnormal-natural-disasters
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2005). Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Web.Archive.Org. https://web.archive.org/web/20051101154444/http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/088.htm
Met Office. (2018, December 13). How is climate linked to extreme weather? https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/climate/climate-and-extreme-weather
What are the effects of climate change? (n.d.). Www.Myclimate.Org. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.myclimate.org/information/faq/faq-detail/what-are-the-effects-of-climate-change/