We often act ungrateful towards the beauty and the resources which are provided to us by the god which often leaves our future at stake. News channels are busy debating about, which actor is leading the Indian cinema right now but no one really considers the hundred times more important issues which are Global Warming and Deforestation. Global Warming is a term almost everyone is familiar with. But, its meaning is not understandable by the majority of those. Global Warming refers to the gradual rise in the overall temperature of the atmosphere of the Earth. On the other side deforestation is the cutting down of trees in the forest in a large number. This activity has always been a threat to our environment. But still many humans are continuing this ill practice. This is also causing an ecological imbalance which is harmful to both, critters and the mother Earth.
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, but since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning of fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and gas), which produces heat-trapping gases and a rise in temperature is seen as a result. Climate change is a long-term shift in weather conditions identified by changes in temperature, precipitation, winds, and other indicators. Climate change can involve both changes in average conditions and changes in variability, including, for example, extreme events.
The earth’s climate is naturally variable on all time scales. However, its long-term state and average temperature are regulated by the balance between incoming and outgoing energy, which determines the Earth’s energy balance. Any factor that causes a sustained change to the amount of incoming energy or the amount of outgoing energy can lead to climate change. Different factors operate on different time scales, and not all of those factors that have been responsible for changes in earth’s climate in the distant past are relevant to contemporary climate change. Factors that cause climate change can be divided into two categories - those related to natural processes and those related to human activity. In addition to natural causes of climate change, changes internal to the climate system, such as variations. In ocean currents or atmospheric circulation, can also influence the climate for short periods of time. This natural internal climate variability is superimposed on the long-term forced climate change.
CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change can also be caused by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and the conversion of land for forestry and agriculture. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, these human influences on the climate system have increased substantially. In addition to other environmental impacts, these activities change the land surface and emit various substances to the atmosphere. These in turn can influence both the amount of incoming energy and the amount of outgoing energy and can have both warming and cooling effects on the climate. The dominant product of fossil fuel combustion is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The overall effect of human activities since the Industrial Revolution has been a warming effect, driven primarily by emissions of carbon dioxide and enhanced by emissions of other greenhouse gases. The build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has led to an enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect. It is this human-induced enhancement of the greenhouse effect that is of concern because ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases have the potential to warm the planet to levels that have never been experienced in the history of human civilization. Such climate change could have far-reaching and/or unpredictable environmental, social, and economic consequences.
SHORT LIVED AND LONG LIVED CLIMATE FORCES:
Carbon dioxide is the main cause of human-induced climate change. It has been emitted in vast quantities from the burning of fossil fuels and it is a very long-lived gas, which means it continues to affect the climate system during its long residence time in the atmosphere. However, fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, agriculture, and forestry-related activities emit other substances that also act as climate forcers. Some, such as nitrous oxide, are long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, and so contribute to long-term climate change. Other substances have shorter atmospheric lifetimes because they are removed fairly quickly from the atmosphere. Therefore, their effect on the climate system is similarly short-lived. Together, these short-lived climate forcers are responsible for a significant amount of current climate forcing from anthropogenic substances. Some short-lived climate forcers have a climate warming effect (‘positive climate forcers’) while others have a cooling effect (‘negative climate forcers’).
If atmospheric levels of short-lived climate forcers are continually replenished by ongoing emissions, these continue to exert a climate forcing. However, reducing emissions will quite quickly lead to reduced atmospheric levels of such substances. A number of short-lived climate forcers have climate warming effects and together are the most important contributors to the human enhancement of the greenhouse effect after carbon dioxide. This includes methane and tropospheric ozone – both greenhouse gases – and black carbon, a small solid particle formed from the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels (coal, oil and wood for example).
Other short-lived climate forcers have climate cooling effects, most notably sulphate aerosols. Fossil fuel combustion emits sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere (in addition to carbon dioxide) which then combines with water vapour to form tiny droplets (aerosols) which reflect sunlight. Sulphate aerosols remain in the atmosphere for only a few days (washing out in what is referred to as acid rain), and so do not have the same long-term effect as greenhouse gases. The cooling from sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere has, however, offset some of the warming from other substances. That is, the warming we have experienced to date would have been even larger had it not been for elevated levels of sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere.
ABSENCE OF TREES BEING THE MAJOR CAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Since about 1960, forests, soil and oceans have steadily absorbed 56 per cent of all the carbon dioxide humanity has put into the atmosphere, despite the 50 per cent rise in the emissions. Trees are being cut down at an alarming rate. They were formerly recognised as the lungs of our planet as they absorbed carbon dioxide and released oxygen for us to breathe. While the figures released in June showed deforestation breaking all the records last year. Forests and trees store carbon. When they are degraded or completely cleared, e.g. by fire – a process referred to as deforestation – this stored carbon has the potential to be released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change.
HOW PLANTING MORE TREES CAN MAKE THE CONDITION BETTER
The tree plantation helps majorly to the environment as it reduces the pollution and other toxic gases in the atmosphere. Trees inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen , they act as a filter which helps the living organisms to breathe for survival. Planting trees helps to increase the oxygen level and decreases the harmful gases present in the atmosphere.
OTHER BENEFITS OF PLANTING TREES
As referred above, they are the only source of oxygen. They take up the carbon dioxide from atmosphere and release oxygen. Planting more trees can help in reducing the levels of air pollution as they absorb pollutant gases and filter out the particulates. It also maintains the temperature of an area at a lower level than an area that does not have trees. They are also the habitat for birds and many other animals. Trees are also a source of fruits and flowers. Benefits of planting trees also include reducing soil erosion and slow the run off.
Trees planted in an area around a society can be used as a park for children and adults. They provide space for recreational activities like picnics and morning walks. Presence of trees and forests also make activities like hiking and trekking more fun for people who are interested in adventure.
Trees are not only a source of oxygen, they are also a source of biotic materials like wood, resin, fiber, honey, rubber and many others. These are the raw materials for many industries.
AIR AND ATMOSPHERE
Trees breathe in Carbon dioxide and breathe out Oxygen. This cycle has been provided by nature to sustain other living beings. The primary resource of our survival is the oxygen that we breathe in. The oxygen received in our lungs is transported by red blood cells to the entire body for producing energy. Further, the Carbon dioxide breathed in by the trees is one of the greenhouse gases. This and other greenhouses, when released into the atmosphere form a layer and trap the heat from the sun. They result in the increase of the atmospheric temperature. This harmful Global Warming and the eventual Climate Change affects the livelihood of all creatures on the earth. So, one of the primary benefits of planting trees is to get clean air for breathing and reduce the Greenhouse Effect.
WATER AND SOIL
Next to oxygen in the air, water is the next vital element that sustains living beings. Trees receive the rainwater and hold them in the land. This prevents clean water from flowing into storm water drains. Further, they act as watersheds and hold the flood waters for some time before slowly releasing them into the earth and atmosphere. So, they maintain the water table of an area and provides us with potable water. Moreover, the root system of the trees hold the soil underground. They deter the top soil from being washed away during rains and floods. Thus, benefits of planting trees include prevention of soil erosion, which reduces the dangers of landslides.
BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM
Trees contribute to a rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystem. Birds, animals, insects and fungi make their home in the trees and contribute to a diverse ecosystem. This balanced environment in turn contributes to the wellbeing of human beings. Trees are producers of food and are found at the bottom of the food chain. They produce their own food through photosynthesis and contribute significantly to the entire ecosystem. So, the benefits of planting trees include the fruits and nuts that we obtain from them. They are highly nutritious and good for food. Further, trees are rich source of medicines that could heal our diseases in a natural way.
HEALTH AND WEALTH
Apart from providing clean air, water and food, the benefits of planting trees are significant in their contribution to the mental health of human beings. Their greenery and freshness act as stress busters to release the human mind. Thus, the benefits of planting trees finds a place in the creation of positive vibration in the atmosphere. The trees on the highways provide a soothing effect to the riders. They act as shields for residences and commercial establishments on busy roads.
ECONOMY AND DEVELOPMENT
Trees reduce our dependence on cooling systems to a large extent during summer. They also act as windbreakers during winter, reducing our dependence on heating systems. Thus, they cut down our utility bills and contributes to the economy. So, the benefits of planting trees has an impact on the growth and development of a nation itself.\
Trees have a lot of importance in our lives, and it provides seamless service for the environment. We have somehow not protected them and perhaps that is why as on today we are being affected by global warming, severe pollution and other ill effects of deforestation. Nevertheless, the conclusion is that natural systems around the world are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases, and that these temperature increases are very likely to be the result of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.