Climate Change: Overview

The Mississippi at twilight.
Over the past century, humans have made remarkable advances in technology. We've built automobiles, computers, and rockets, and more progress is being made every day. Yet, the marvelous technology we've created has a downside. Since the Industrial Revolution, we've emitted over one trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and have polluted much of our land, sky, and water.

At this point, climate change is inevitable, and we're already seeing its effects. Over the past few decades, the emissions from factories, vehicles, and many other sources have caused average temperatures to rise, storms to increase in intensity, and droughts to become more frequent. Many unique organisms are becoming increasingly rare, and some have already been lost. National parks (including the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area) are one of the places being hit hardest, because they often are home to rare wildlife and biomes.

Fortunately, improvements are already being made. Advances in technology have given us more fuel efficient vehicles, water saving plumbing, advanced recycled materials, and more. Numerous communities are working toward emitting and wasting less around the globe. In fact, cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul have seen drastic reductions in water usage over the past decade, without putting forth too much effort.

Slowing climate change doesn't need to be tough. Putting forth a little effort as an individual, a family, or a community can make a huge change. With a little cooperation, we can start to turn the effects of global climate change around.


Did You Know?