Did you know there’s a difference between climate change and global warming? These two terms can be mistakenly used synonymously, but they aren’t the same thing! Global warming is a result of climate change, but there’s more to it than you might think! Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about our environment’s health status.

Climate Change vs. Global Warming 

Climate change means the changes and disturbances to the Earth’s climate. It’s not just a term for the increase of global temperature, but also refers to changes in wind and precipitation patterns, the rising of sea levels, the melting of the polar ice caps… The list goes on and on.

Climate change can be traced back to two driving factors. For one, natural occurrences (which have occurred in cycles for billions of years) due to changes in Earth’s orbit, volcanic eruptions, and fluctuations in the ocean patterns that affect the sea-surface thermal reading. For another, human practices have intensified and accelerated the process of climate change. Ultimately, human activity has led to more extreme increases in temperature and changes to weather systems. 

Global warming, on the other hand, refers to the alarming rise in the temperature on a global scale; it means that the Earth’s climate is heating up, and this was initially noticed between the years 1850 and 1900. But wouldn’t that mean global warming started before the industrial period? You’re 100% right! However, the main cause of global warming is the release of greenhouse gasses. 

Here’s how it happened: non-eco-friendly practices in the past, such as the burning of fossil fuels, have resulted in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which, in turn, have increased the concentration of greenhouse gasses trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. This has ultimately led to the “enhanced greenhouse effect.” The evolution of other practices, like the driving of cars, the exportation of food across the globe, the utilization of air conditioners, and so on, have led to a significant rise in the Earth’s temperature. To be exact, each decade since 1880 has seen an increase of 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit (0.2 degrees Celsius)! Though this fact may seem overwhelming and scary, global warming has surprisingly had a positive impact on our community!

Amidst all the differences across the globe, climate change is bringing countries and governments to work together to mitigate the current situation from worsening and inspire hope within us all! This is not to say we’re letting governments and activists take the lead while we all watch — there are some things we can do to help limit the damage. Did you know that even just by buying food grown locally and seasonally, you’d be doing your bit for the environment? There are plenty of ways to become eco-conscious — it doesn’t have to mean that we turn off our computers and never turn them back on again, or ride our bikes continent to continent. It all boils down to knowing what our options are, and how we can ímplement them into our lives!