Our Earth has two natural refrigerators: The Arctic Region (surrounding the North Pole), with a surface of 14.5 million square kilometers (equivalent to 5.5 million square miles), and the Antarctica (surrounding the South Pole), which is about identical in size with the Arctic region. Our Earth´s radius is 6.371 km (3.950 miles), and its total surface size is 510.1 million square kilometers (196.9 square miles). The Arctic Region and Antarctica thus, together cover about 5,7 % (per cent) of Earth´s total surface, a significant amount of land and ocean especially when taking into consideration how important both polar regions are for our Earth´s overall climate.
In the past decades, both the Arctic region and Antarctica have warmed fast, in fact, at least twice as fast as the rest of the world. Both the Arctic and Antarctica have been populated for more than 20.000 years, and now the world is discussing the importance and significance of the warming of our South Pole and North Pole and the affect of this on the rest of our planet.
For many, realizing and understanding the meaning of climate change and especially climate change in the polar regions may seem distant. Especially when these regions are scarcely populated, distant, and far away from an average person´s daily life. However, since everything and everyone is somehow connected on our planet Earth, we must all comprehend at least the basics of WHY climate change even at a far distance has effects upon all of our planet, not only in a specific geographical area/region.
Perhaps one way of increasing one´s understanding about the effects of even distant changes, the impacts upon nature and all life on the other side of our planet, can be achieved by being open to learning about different cultures, geography, biology and this can be done in many ways, one of which is reading, another being traveling. Today, no one can afford not being a global citizen, global citizenship being something that the United Nations as an intergovernmental organization has discussed for long already.
Global citizenship involves taking responsibility not only for what happens locally, but also increasing one´s awareness and understanding what happens globally. What our choices are today, and how these affect people elsewhere. We have to take ethical and moral responsibility for our actions, be it in our place of birth, home country, or a country that is being affected e.g. through our way of living/consumption habits. This means that we all have to understand that if we pollute the environment in one geographical region on this planet, it will ultimately affect us all. We cannot outsource e.g. pollution/environmental toxins and go around thinking that it will not come back to ourselves.
What goes around, comes around. It is as simple as that. Our world is round, 360 degrees. It can absorb a lot, but in the end, all that we put out into the atmosphere will come back and take care of the rest. So, we should all be increasingly much careful and considerate about WHAT we put out into our atmosphere, and our environment. If we lose our two natural refrigerators, the Arctic region, and Antarctica, meaning that if these regions change drastically in terms of climate, please remember that it will have serious impacts on EVERYTHING and EVERYONE on planet Earth, including both YOU and ME, not only “some distant animals, plants, and people living somewhere where I do not have to care about”.
Have you ever given thought to what e.g. climate change in the Arctic region and a civil war e.g. in Yemen could have in common? If not, perhaps it is time to take some time for deep reflection and understanding what climate change in one region of the world, and extreme hunger in another, could have in common. Watch Al Jazeera English´s video “How can world leaders end Yemen´s crisis? – Inside Story:
Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.
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