The beautiful Arctic scenery, the icecaps and icebergs are disappearing. And it is our fault.
Since the industrial revolution, more coal and oil are being burnt, hence the levels of carbon dioxide and methane have been skyrocketing - causing world temperatures to rise, and ice melting at an unnatural rate. Indeed, evidence shows that 95% of the world’s thickest and oldest sea ice (frozen sea water) has already melted, and one third of the world’s remaining glaciers (formed on land) will be gone by 2100.
The natural thaw-freeze up cycles are being disrupted by human actions, for example ice break up in the Northern Hemisphere happens 9 days earlier, and freezing occurs 10 days later than it did 150 years ago.
But why does all of this matter? Why do we give blocks of ice so much importance?
Glaciers and sea ice are not just pointless pieces of floating ice, placed on Earth for design - they hold much more than you might think. They trap natural gasses such as methane in giant bubbles, which will be released into the atmosphere once they melt away; this in turn will aggravate the greenhouse effect we are currently suffering from. On the same note, there are microscopic organisms that are trapped in ice, which can potentially be extremely lethal to human kind. These are pathogens that have not been seen or studied, and therefore could infect whole countries before cures to these ancient diseases are found - if they are found.
Moreover, the release of freshwater into the sea will lead to changes in salinity, although not uniform. Changes in the level of salt concentration in the sea will cause ocean currents to change - currents are essential to provide some less-mobile sea creatures with food and nutrients they need to fluorish. This is not the only way that we may lose biodiversity, the retreating of sea ice means that entire arctic lands are shrinking - at this rate, the global population of polar bears will reduce to 10,000 individuals by 2050.
The melting of sea ice and glaciers has been increasing exponentially in the past decade and if we are not careful, we will quite literally drown in a matter of years. The Greenland ice sheet is disappearing four times faster then 16 years ago and contributing 20% of sea level rise. Average sea level has risen by circa 23 centimeters since 1880.
This means that farm land and clean water sources have been, and will be contaminated with salt water, leading to the creation of hostile environment for crops to grow.
These are just a few of the terrifying consequences we are facing.
This isn’t a natural disaster movie - this is reality. But note that this does not have to be the end - we can still turn it around, but it won't be done by one person, in one day. So I urge everyone to be aware of this, educate others and make right choices. Inform yourself, learn about the effects of your daily actions, talk to people about these issues, talk so much and so loud that someone will listen.