Glaciers cover 10% of the earths surface and hold 69%of the earths fresh water. They are a vital part of our planet, and without them, the world as we know it would disappear.
The 1st of today’s glaciers formed in Antarctica, around 34 million years ago. They were quite small, but would soon grow, eventually becoming the giant rivers of ice we see today. Or at least we saw yesterday, today, it would be more appropriate to describe them as small streams! However, these were not the 1st ever glaciers to appear on our dear planet. Around 2.4 billion years ago, the entire earth was frozen over- this was called the ‘Huronian glaciation’. It is believed this was stimulated by 250 million years of very little volcanic activity, not much CO2 being released into the atmosphere and a reduced greenhouse effect. Since then, there have been several more ice ages and we are in fact currently living in the quaternary glaciation.
The quaternary glaciation consists of alternating glacial and interglacial phases . A glacial period is a time span within an ice age that has colder temperatures and advancing glaciers. An interglacial period is the opposite of the this: a time span within an ice age that has warmer temperatures and receding glaciers. This is a natural cycle, however unfortunately for us, our planet is heating up at never before seen rates.
Climate change is most likely the worlds most pressing problem at this very moment in time. Did you know? The planets average surface area temperature has risen about 0.9 degrees celsius since the late 19th century. That is incredibly fast and is a result of human activity- that means we are the ones doing this to our home! It is our fault! By Burning fossil fuels, cutting down the rainforest, farming large numbers of cows and spraying bug spray, we are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This is what causes global warming.
But, you may be wondering, why is global warming a bad thing? Because it IS a bad thing. Something that could destroy many lives and cause devastation on our planet. It is causing glaciers to melt, which in turn will result in rising sea levels and more floods. In fact, parts of London could be submerged by the sea in the next 80 years, provided we carry on as we are. It is also causing more droughts, making parts of he earth uninhabitable and forcing animals and people to find new homes.
Glaciers are some of the things that are suffering the most. In New Zealand, the Tasman glacier is retreating, on average, 180 metres a year. Scientists guess that this particular glacier will completely disappear in the next 10-19 years. The world’s glaciers are loosing 369 billions tonnes of snow and ice each year. These figures are the biggest they have ever been and we need to do something about it.
So what can you do? Firstly, if you are still at school, you could attend the climate change strikes that are happening in many different countries all over the world, this will help bring awareness to the issue at hand and hopefully persuade the leaders of the world to do something about the climate crisis. Secondly, you could try to buy locally sourced products, this will help reduce the amount of carbon emissions being released from the driving, sailing and flying entailed in the distribution of products. Next, you could make sure to turn off lights and plug sockets when you are not using them, so as not to waste electricity. Finally, you could try to walk or cycle more, or even rely more on public transport like buses and trains. This is only a small number of the many things that you could do to make a difference to the climate.
Never underestimate the power of doing the little things, such as turning off a light switch or walking to the shops, it will have an enormous impact and will take us a step closer to the solution.
Thank you for reading. I hope that I have said something that might resonate with you and that you will do everything in your power to change the world and be part of fixing our home.
This is a really pressing issue and not enough is being done about it, so I would really appreciate it if you could do something. We’re all in this together and everyone needs to contribute to mending our planet. If we’re not careful our grandchildren will grow up without glaciers. We don’t want to deprive them of seeing this beautiful physical landform, so let’s work together to stop the climate crisis!