A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change has found that ocean temperatures have risen significantly over the last 18 years. According to an article published online by Fusion.Net, the study found that the world’s oceans have absorbed the same amount of heat in 18 years as it had in a 130-year period prior to 1997. The findings are astonishing and point to the serious global climate problems that lay ahead. The oceans are a great buffer for the impact of climate change as they absorb additional heat that is generated in the atmosphere – but given the incredibly accelerated rate at which they’ve absorbed the heat generated by human-drive greenhouse gas emissions … the future’s looking more than a little balmy.
It might look like this polar bear is enjoying a nice dip in the warm waters … but this spells disaster for both him and us.
This beautiful picture of a polar and its big wet nose might look cute and be the subject of many funny captions, but these bathtub conditions are anything but funny. Polar bears are finding themselves in these watery conditions more and more when they should be found on ice-covered oceans. But as we have seen year after year for the past 20 years, frozen oceans are on the decline and polar bears are dying. As a result, we’ve seen these bears travelling into closer proximity with humans and foraging in garbage heaps or starving and resorting to eating dolphins because of changing environmental conditions. But what many people don’t realize is that our every day actions are linked to these bizarre behaviors in polar bears.
How We Can Help
As we continue to spew greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, we are driving the water waters that are referenced in this shocking new study. While the carbon emissions from large industries like coal and oil need to be regulated, as an individual you have an incredible opportunity to start reducing your own carbon footprint. People are making small changes every day like choosing to walk or bike to work rather than driving, seeking out recycling bins for plastic waste, and even being mindful of the impact of their consumption choices. In keeping with this theme of doing small things, there is another solution that can have an enormously positive impact for the planet – and, it might just be the simplest one yet: changing the way you eat.
One of the largest drivers of greenhouse gas emissions is animal agriculture. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent.
We all have the chance to lower our personal carbon footprints every time we sit down for a meal. By opting to eat fewer meat and dairy products in favor of plant-based alternatives, you can literally halve your own carbon footprint – yes, halve!
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, it is One Green Planet’s view that our food choices have the power to heal the damage we’ve done to our plant, give species a fighting chance for survival, and pave the way for a truly sustainable future.
For the future of struggling species, like these polar bears – and ourselves – we all need to start eating with the planet in mind. To learn more about how you can save species with your next meal, join One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.