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Global Warming Affecting the Wildlife

Introduction

Global warming is the constant increase in earthly temperature for an extended period. Global warming has been witnessed since the pre-industrial error. For centuries scholars have been trying to determine the leading cause of global warming. Some academicians believe that global warming is a hoax used by organizations to acquire funding sources (Saunders, 2017). However, most scholars illustrate that it indeed exists, and if it is not handled correctly, it will cause adverse effects both for humans and animals. Although humans are considered the main perpetrators of global warming, wildlife is the most affected species. The livelihood of wildlife depends on the ecological system of a niche. Therefore, the habitat’s destruction interferes with wildlife’s ecological cycle; hence, they can become extinct. Therefore, people should plant trees, reduce fossil fuels, use clean and renewable energy, and restore habitats to mitigate global warming while reinstating wildlife numbers.

Effects of Global Warming on Wildlife Due to The Melting of Icebergs

Global warming causes the melting of icebergs which eventually results in habitat loss. Numerous wildlife depends on the icebergs for breeding and survival. In other words, cold waters are their habitat; hence their livelihoods depend on that environment. However, an increase in the world temperatures caused by global warming results in the destruction of these niches. Global warming makes the glaciers melt, forcing the wildlife that depends on the icebergs to relocate to other areas (Johansen, 2006). As a result, the natural ecological circle can be altered, leading to the distinction of wildlife. According to Gilchrist (2018), the northern white rhino, one of the rare species found in Sub-Saharan Africa, became on the verge of extinction when the only surviving male rhino died in 2018 because of global warming.

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Similarly, animals that depend on the iceberg will also go extinct when all the icebergs they depend on for breeding purposes melt. Polar bears and penguins are some of the animals that are considered to be adversely affected. According to WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in October 2019 classified polar bears as species of threatened animals (Adopt a Polar Bear., n.d.). They can go extinct if proper measures are not taken to preserve their habitats.

Additionally, global warming makes an environment unfavorable for wildlife. According to Brittel (2017), thousands of penguins die each year on the coastline of Antarctica as a result of extreme weather. Global warming implies increasing temperature, but Brittel (2017) illustrates that it causes changes in wind patterns, water currents, and fluctuating temperatures. Therefore, it has made some areas where penguins are located have more ice coverage than usual. The temperatures can also be low compared to the ordinary temperatures experienced (Ratnayake et al., 2019). As a result, wildlife that depends on such an environment can find it challenging to cope with the new climatic changes caused by global warming, thus making penguins die in thousands. Moreover, it becomes complicated when a loose iceberg strikes a Mertz Glacier, as in western Antarctica in 2010 when the iceberg hit a giant glacier and formed a new iceberg (Brittel, 2017). This action can change the patterns of water current, thus affecting the surrounding environment. As a result, penguins that depend on water currents for fishing can be adversely affected.

Initiatives to Reduce Global Warming and Restore Wildlife

One of the leading causes of global warming is the cutting of trees. According to Houghton and Nassikas (2017), the forested cover has decreased over the centuries; however, the green vegetation cover acts as carbon sink. Therefore, they absorb greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Niu et al. (2017) illustrate that greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere deplete the ozone layer. As a result, the ozone layer, which is meant to prevent the earth from receiving direct sunlight heat, becomes porous, allowing the heat to penetrate the ground. After penetration, the heat radiation becomes trapped in the atmosphere, thus causing global warming (Niu et al., 2017). However, Ratnayake et al. (2019) assert that high vegetation cover can act as a coolant as they absorb heat and other greenhouse gases that cause the heat to last for long on the earth’s surfaces. The vegetation also releases clean air, such as oxygen, that the wildlife can use to survive (Niu et al., 2017). Therefore, people should plant trees to reduce global warming, ensuring that nature is sustained.

Fossil fuels are also significant contributors to global warming. Ever since fossil fuels were discovered, the use of fuels has increased. According to Ritchie and Roser (2017), several fossil fuels are used daily, and factories rely on the fuel to perform their operations. The transport and automobile industry also uses fossil fuels to ensure that their locomotives can move. However, the burning of fossil produces greenhouse gases that cause global warming (Van Wilgen, 2016). It is not that the greenhouse gases have heat themselves, but they retain heat for an extended time, increasing the earthly heat. Therefore, the continued burning of fossil fuels increases greenhouse gases, raising the capability to retain heat on the earth’s surface (Ratnayake et al., 2019). Therefore, humans should lower their usage of fossil fuels to reduce global warming.

Fossil Fuel Reserves.
Figure 1. Fossil Fuel Reserves. Source: (Ritchie & Roser, 2017).

Although the energy demand is rising, people should switch to clean energy and renewable energy. Renewable energy is the source of fuel that replenishes itself; hence it can never be exhausted. Switching to renewable energy will therefore preserve the environment in many ways, for instance. Currently, mining of fossil fuels can cause pollution, especially where there is oil leakage, resulting in the pollution of the environment. According to Ritchie and Roser (2017), oil spills that occur degraded the environment, especially seawater. The oil spreads a layer on top of the water, and this lowers aeration in the water. As a result, aquatic life that depends on the water is destroyed. Therefore, the entire life circle of nature is destroyed, which can cause the extinction of most wildlife (Ratnayake, 2019). For example, polar bear depends on fish in the seas for nutrition. However, the fish’s death in the waters caused by oil spillage will decrease polar bears, thus interfering with the natural life circle. Therefore, people should switch to clean energy sources that never pollute the waters or atmosphere, and this act will ensure that wildlife is restored.

Preserving the natural ecological environment is another activity that people can use to eradicate global warming while protecting wildlife life. With the increase in the human population, the arable and habitable areas have diminished in size as the current population tries to clear land for settlement, industries, and agriculture (Van Wilgen, 2016). As a result, they infringe on the sensitive environments, thus degrading the habitats of the wildlife. For instance, humans have used steam to melt the icebergs that offer a perfect habitat for the polar bear and other aquatic wildlife. As a result, melting the ice reduces the breeding environment of wildlife, thus lowering their numbers. However, according to Doyle (2016), large icebergs reduce global warming. This is because icebergs have a shiny surface reflecting the sun’s heat, which minimizes the ground’s ability to absorb heat radiations. The icebergs also create an ocean bloom that scientists estimate to absorb 10 million to 40 million tons of carbon annually (Doyle, 2016). As a result, the icebergs reduce global warming. Therefore, humans should preserve them and desist from forcefully melting them to find space for human settlement, agriculture, and building industries. Additionally, the polar bear that essentially depends on the icebergs for survival will have a habitat to encourage conservation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, global warming affects wildlife in numerous ways, especially when the icebergs melt, causing a rise in sea waters. The melting icebergs destroy the habits of the aquatic life that polar bears and penguins depend on. Additionally, it makes the surrounding environment unbearable becomes it raises the temperature of the area, thus making numerous wildlife die. However, humans can perform multiple activities to reduce global warming and restore wildlife. Planting trees and increasing the vegetation cover is one activity that people can perform to lower global warming. Vegetation cover acts as carbon sinks; hence they help in absorbing the greenhouse gases. Shifting from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy can also lower global warming, helping to restore wildlife. The burning of fossil fuels produces carbon footprints which can cause global warming. Finally, people can help in restoring the already degraded wildlife habitats.

References

Adopt a Polar Bear. (n.d.). Web.

Brittel, J. (2017). The complicated story behind 18,000 dead penguin chicks. NRDC. Web.

Doyle, A. (2016). Giant icebergs have surprise role in slowing warming. Climate Central. Web.

Gilchrist, J. (2018). The northern white rhino should not be brought back to life. The Conversation5.

Houghton, R. A., & Nassikas, A. A. (2017). Global and regional fluxes of carbon from land use and land cover change 1850–2015. Global Biogeochemical Cycles31(3), 456-472. Web.

Johansen, B. E. (2006). Global warming in the 21st century. Praeger.

Niu, H., Kang, S., Shi, X., Paudyal, R., He, Y., Li, G., Wang, S., Pu, T., & Shi, X. (2017). Insitu measurements of light-absorbing impurities in snow of glacier on Mt. Yulong and implications for radiative forcing estimates. Science of The Total Environment, 581–582, 848–856. Web.

Ratnayake, H. U., Kearney, M. R., Govekar, P., Karoly, D., & Welbergen, J. A. (2019). Forecasting wildlife die‐offs from extreme heat events. Animal Conservation22(4), 386-395. Web.

Ritchie, H., & Roser, M. (2017). Fossil fuels. Our World In Data. Web.

Saunders, K. L. (2017). The impact of elite frames and motivated reasoning on beliefs in a global warming conspiracy: The promise and limits of trust. Research & Politics4(3), 2053168017717602. Web.

Van Wilgen, N. (2016). Climate Change: Briefings from Southern Africa. Bob Scholes, Mary Scholes & Mike Lucas (Eds.): book review. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa71(2), 205-206. Web.

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