Climate Change 101

CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL

When we burn fossil fuels for energy, we add more and more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the
atmosphere. This buildup acts like a blanket that traps heat around the world, which disrupts the earth’s climate system. Over 97% of climate scientists agree this is happening and that it is predominantly human caused.

Image credit: Climate Central
Image credit: Climate Central
The song “Planetary Bands, Warming World” helps us feel the rise in temperature through music. Video credit: Ensia

IT’S HAPPENING NOW

Climate change impacts all of us, but people of color and low income communities bear a disproportionate share of the costs. In addition to an increase in global temperature, we are seeing changing patterns in precipitation, increasing humidity, changes in air pressure, and warming ocean waters. These impacts combined result in more frequent and intense extreme weather events and unpredictable seasons.

Image credit: Climate Central
Credit: globalchange.gov

Hear how climate change is impacting indigenous and island nations in this poem by climate activists and poets, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner and Aka Niviana. Video credit: The Guardian.

HUMANS ARE CAUSING IT

Climate change is fundamentally driven by our fossil fuel economy, which many have benefited from politically, socially, and economically. We are adding high amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, which we use for energy, transportation, and powering our lives. Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been burning fossil fuels unsustainably and it has resulted in an unprecedented amount of CO2 in our atmosphere; currently over 400 parts per million.

Image credit: Climate Central

IT’S URGENT

The impacts of climate change are forcing communities to pay the price in many ways. Extreme weather events are increasingly costing cities more to rebuild. People are being forced to leave their homes due to sudden or long-term changes in their environment because of climate change, which compromises their livelihood and strips them of their culture. These climate refugees are forced to find new places to live, resulting in political and social unrest.

Image credit: Climate Central

WE HAVE THE SOLUTIONS

Action on climate change is happening all around us! We can come together and take action to drive decision-making that makes the sustainable choice the easy choice! This work is collective. By engaging in opportunities where people are coming together, the scale of the response will match the size, scale, and scope of the problem.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Use Your VOICE

Tell your climate story to everyone and why you care.

Use Your CHOICE

Look for opportunities to take individual actions to collective action.

Use Your VOTE

Find out your climate friendly candidates and support get-out-the-vote efforts.

Explore more ways to take action:

ACT NOW

RESOURCES

National Climate Assessment
Climate Central
NOAA


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