Climate Extremes and Its Threat on the Arctic

2020 was a year pervaded with uneasiness and unforeseen environmental changes: the devastating wildfires throughout Australia, California, Brazil and Siberia; the brutal natural disasters in India and Central America; the pernicious droughts in Zimbabwe and Madagascar. But most of all, we saw the extreme rise in climate change. In fact, the World Meteorological Organization confirmed 2020 as one of the warmest years on record- just another reminder of the relentless control of climate change.

Climate change includes the rising of sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, and accelerating ice melt, which are all results of global warming. With the global temperatures rising, the health of the Earth and its living organisms are imperiled. The Arctic has also seen immense changes in heat, in which a heatwave accelerated the melting of sea ice in the East Siberian and Laptev seas, while delaying the Arctic freeze by two months. This is critical, especially since the sea plays a huge role in climate change, by reflecting heat from the Sun; it acts as a jacket that is losing its cover over the ocean and fueling global warming.

The area near the Arctic (on the coasts of Alaska) is now at risk of being drilled. This act would damage the coast forever and bring the planet towards a direction that is irreversible. Climate change is interconnected with all other kinds of systems, such as wildlife and indigenous societies. Just this year, awareness was spread about the Arctic Refuge and its risk of being sold for energy development- this disregards the protection of the people, wildlife, and natural resources located there. Polar bears are especially susceptible to the harm from this energy development, as they are one of the endangered species that solely rely on the coastal plain for their survival.

However, it is not just the aftermath that affects these polar bears; their lives are jeopardized by the process of gas and oil exploration. This drilling also has a 75% chance of spilling- which can prevent polar bears from protecting themselves from the cold- and polar bears are exposed to the danger of consuming the oil.

That being said, it is crucial to be informed, as it lays out the basis of how to make a change concerning the Earth’s global climate. Climate change has changed our lives drastically, but we must have faith that we are all capable of shifting our lifestyles and putting aside our differences to preserve life on Earth, whether it’s modifying diets or gradually switching to renewable energy. If everybody were to contribute, then little by little, we’ll be able to look back and see the progress we made.