Growing Pains

An Alien To The Status Quo

Climate Change For Dummies

Climate Change For Dummies

When you hear the words “climate change,” the pictures that might come to mind are melting ice caps and polar bears stranded on floating ice. For the longest time, this is what I pictured. I also envisioned a dystopian scene with erupting volcanoes and vast wastelands. This is not to say these things aren’t happening now; rather, it’s to say that these vast wastelands crept up on us while we waited around for a big bang change. While these images are certainly a part of the story, climate change is a vast and complex issue that affects every aspect of our planet and our lives. It is now disproportionately affecting the Global South. It’s not daunting to understand climate change; we just need to grasp the basics if we are to reverse its effects. For 99.99999% of the population not trying to populate other planets, this is the only planet we will ever know. So, for the dummies in the room, let’s break down climate change.

What is Climate Change?
Climate change is a significant, long-term change in the average weather patterns on Earth. While the climate has always been changing naturally over millions of years, the current trend of rapid warming is primarily driven by human activities. We have to blame the Industrial Revolution because this was the beginning of the large-scale burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. It was also the beginning of the traditional 9-5 jobs that have led to the burnout of an entire generation but that’s neither here nor there. The fossil fuel burning has led to an increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere.

The Greenhouse Effect: Earth’s Blanket
Earth is naturally wrapped in a warm blanket that is blanket is made up of gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). These gases trap heat from the sun, which keeps our planet warm enough to support life. This process is known as the greenhouse effect.

However, burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes have added extra layers to this blanket, trapping more heat than necessary. This leads to a rise in global temperatures, a phenomenon commonly referred to as global warming. We have felt that in the unprecedented heat waves we faced this year. At a certain point, I believed that the Earth was trying to boil us.

Evidence of Climate Change

Rising Temperatures
The most obvious sign of climate change is the increase in global average temperatures. The last few decades have been the warmest in recorded history. This rise in temperature is not uniform; some regions experience more drastic changes than others. This April has had us burning in our houses.

Melting Ice and Rising Seas
Glaciers and polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate, contributing to rising sea levels. Coastal cities and islands are particularly vulnerable to this change, facing increased flooding and erosion. We’ve also seen this with our own Lake Victoria.

Extreme Weather Events
Climate change is linked to more frequent and severe weather events. Hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves, and heavy rainfall are becoming more common, causing widespread damage and displacement.

The Impact on Nature and Humans

Ecosystems and Wildlife
Changes in temperature and weather patterns disrupt ecosystems and threaten biodiversity. Many species struggle to adapt to the rapid changes, leading to shifts in population, migration patterns, and in some cases, extinction.

Human Health and Livelihoods
Human health is also at risk. Heatwaves can lead to heatstroke and dehydration while changing weather patterns can affect the spread of diseases. Also, agriculture and water supplies are jeopardized which impacts food security and livelihoods.

What Can We Do?

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The most effective way to combat climate change is by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This involves transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Energy efficiency and conservation are also key.

Reforestation and Conservation
Planting trees and protecting forests help absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Conservation efforts are crucial to maintaining biodiversity and protecting ecosystems.

Sustainable Practices
Adopting sustainable practices in agriculture, industry, and daily life can significantly reduce our carbon footprint. This includes reducing waste, recycling, and supporting eco-friendly products and companies.

Policy and Advocacy
Government policies play a crucial role in addressing climate change. Supporting policies that promote renewable energy, conservation, and emission reductions is essential. Advocacy and education can also help raise awareness and drive collective action.


There is a story often told about a frog that jumps into a pot of water placed on a stove. As the water gradually heats up, the frog, acclimating to the rising temperature, believes its environment remains unchanged. Oblivious to the subtle but dangerous increase in heat, the frog does not jump out of the pot and eventually succumbs to the boiling water.

This tale is a metaphor for how we, as a global society, are dealing with climate change. Like the frog, we are immersed in an environment where the changes are gradual and often imperceptible on a day-to-day basis. The temperature increases slightly each year, sea levels rise slowly, and extreme weather events become more frequent and severe. Yet, many of us continue to believe that our environment remains largely the same, failing to recognize the growing threat.

Just as the frog could have saved itself by jumping out of the pot early on, we have the opportunity to mitigate the effects of climate change if we act promptly and decisively. Ignoring the gradual but dangerous rise in global temperatures, akin to the frog’s fatal inaction, could lead to catastrophic consequences for our planet. We must acknowledge the changes happening around us and take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy sources, and protect our ecosystems. By doing so, we can avoid the fate of the frog and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

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