By Kaeley Sterkel
The Arctic is home to thousands of species above and below the ocean surface whose lives depend on the ice caps. The ice caps serve as protection from predators for seals and a home for hibernating polar bears. With emissions on the rise the arctic runs a great risk of being ice-free by 2040, this is less than 20 years away. This may sound scary but with small changes it can be combated. The Arctic may seem far and irrelevant to us but the impact the ice caps have on us plays an effect every day.
The Effect Ice Caps Have
The Artic and the Antarctic serve as the earth’s refrigerators that regulate the earth’s temperature so there is no overheating. With the decrease of ice caps, the sun's heat is not getting reflected into our atmosphere and is heating up our crust. This also affects our winter’s by forcing the polar jet stream to tip, making them colder for counties that are not prepared.
When the ice caps melt, they need to go somewhere, they do not just disappear. When they melt into the ocean it causes a rise in sea level. This is harmful for coastal cities like Dana Point because it can cause flooding and storm surges making weather dangerous. The melting of fresh water lowers the salinity which can affect the bouncy animals have in the ocean causing them to work harder while swimming.
This is ground that is permanently frozen that stores great amounts of naturally occurring methane. Once this surface is malted the methane is released into the atmosphere and contributes to the rising levels of greenhouse gasses.
What is Being Done
Alternative Energy Sources
Nowadays we have well established alternatives to energy such as solar panels, tidal wave power, wind turbines, and more! (More in Growth of Renewable Energy blog) These alternatives slow the heating process and combat the effects of climate change and are renewable so there is no depletion.
Reduce Carbon Footprint
Simple things you can start at home when reducing your carbon footprint is replacing your single use plastics with reusable resources. Some examples are switching disposable cups with reusable cups or using bamboo utensils when going out or having take- out food. Not only does this limit the production of plastic but by cutting your carbon footprint it is decreasing the amount of greenhouse gasses which slows down the melting.
Support the Polar Ice Project
The Polar Ice Project is committed to stopping the Arctic ice from melting by partnering with top scientists and organizations to have human-power behind the solution. One solution that has shown promising results is the use of very small hollow glass microspheres. These objects are spread in a thin layer at strategically chosen regions of the Arctic to improve the reflectivity of sea ice, this mimics the natural reflection process talked about earlier. By supporting the Polar Ice Project, they will be able to reverse the melting of the ice caps and slow climate change.
Here at Stand Up To Trash we believe that anybody can do a small act to make a big difference and become knowledgeable to the organizations, such as the Polar Ice Project, and spread the word through our community.