Tau’s Corner: Climate Change

Written by Tauraki Rongo

Today, there’s so much talk about Climate change and greenhouse gas emission, and how it’s going to affect low lying Islands and areas. It’s been talked about for years, so a lot of people have heard about it, but do they really know what it is? Do we really know how this whole beast works or what has brought this beast into existence?

My layman understanding of this is as follows.

If we are Christians as say we are, we should understand that God has created this world with a balanced system. Everything else was created before man and woman. When God saw it was good, He placed man in there to oversee and look after it. Man breathes in oxygen and breathes out carbon dioxide. Plants and trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Immediately we see this relationship between plants and animals and the balance in the whole ecosystem from the time of creation.

Photo courtesy of kōrero o te ‘ōrau.

So why do we have climate crisis today?

Simply put, there is no longer a balance in these two gasses. There is more Carbon dioxide in the air, its more to do with mans activities on earth.

To make it simple to understand, there is a natural blanket of gasses (known as greenhouse gasses) several kilometres above the surface of the earth. The job of this blanket of gasses is to filter the full heat of the sun so its bearable to the plants and animals living on the earth surface. Most of this  heat is reflected out of the earths atmosphere through this blanket of gas.

Just to bring more light onto this, we have to understand that Carbon Dioxide does not only come from the air animals breath out. It also comes from the smoke from the burning of wood, and fuel (fumes from cars) and other things. So over the years, all the burning and fuel use have created much much more Carbon dioxide and other gasses in the air. These have gone up into the atmosphere and have added to make the blanket around the earth thicker. If we look at this properly, we will see that the thickening of this blanket have also prevented some of the heat that have come through from the sun being reflected or getting out. This is what has caused what they call global warming.

So because of the thickening of this blanket of greenhouse gasses, and some heat from the sun not getting out, the earth atmosphere has warmed up. This have changed weather conditions across the earth and some countries are experiencing conditions they have never experienced before hence the need to help peoples resilience towards these changing conditions.

Most of us know that the poles of the earth furthest form the equator are filled with ice. Now with the thickening of this blanket of gasses in the warming of the earth, the ice at the poles are starting to melt. So with this meltdown slowly taking place, sea level is slowly rising. Some of our islands especially atolls and low lying islands are at risk of disappearing.

Photo courtesy of kōrero o te ‘ōrau.

I hope this have given you a basic understanding of Climate change, global warming and sea level rise.

In the next editions, we will talk about resilience and how global warming is related to economic development.