With increasingly growing temperatures on our planet, we are now experiencing one of the most dramatic consequences of climate change, represented in the melt of our polar and mountain glaciers. This directly affects negatively all the surrounding natural areas and the life that sustains on these environments, causing a direct and general destabilization that will affect every single living organism in the medium and long term.
Glaciers are amazing natural wonders, but they are not only important because if its natural beauty, but for the several natural habitats that rely on them. Sadly, the damage we are doing to the environment is taking its toll on the very existence of glaciers, its fauna, and flora.
How did we get to this point?
Due to the constant emissions of man-made greenhouse gases, the heat we receive from the sun enters our planet but is unable to “leave”. When the temperature of the Earth increases, we experience as consequence a rapid melt of our glaciers and subsequently, a constant rise on the oceanic water levels.
If we look directly into the closer areas to glaciers, we can notice a significant (and irreversible) damage to the ecosystems that used to be in a perfect balance. Its impact can be evidenced on the food chain dynamics: the change in the temperature affects the local vegetation (in polar glaciers and mountain glaciers as well), herbivores are starting to have fewer sources of food, and as consequence, their predators have less preys to feed. In order to survive, species are moving to areas they feel more comfortable, but in the process, they often mess with the areas they arrive to.
One of the most affected species from glacier melting is the polar bear. According to a recent study from the Exeter University, it is suggested that in the following 10 to 15 years, the Arctic might completely lose its ice on summers. However, today we are already seeing how polar bears are struggling to find steady food sources and shelter. This situation will only get worse unless we do something radical to lower the levels of air pollution and contamination that are currently increasing the overall temperature of our planet.
What can we do about it?
There are several things that we can do in order to mitigate the impact of climate change and its effects on glaciers. First of all, we have to fight misinformation with scientific divulgation about the dangers of climate change and its immediate effects on our environment and natural life. Climate denial could be extremely dangerous for our planet in the medium and long term, so we better be prepared to confront misleading beliefs with solid facts and sustained ideas.
One thing you can do is to evaluate how your lifestyle and your carbon print adds up to the increase of climate change. Modify your transportation habits and your consumption routines, use less plastic and recycle as much as you can. Inform yourself on what you can do to have a more sustainable life and spread these practices across your community, you work, with your family and your friends.
Lastly, support actively green sustainable initiatives from your government representatives and with the leaders of your workplace. Every new potential policy could have a major effect on the mitigation of global warming.