the climate question
We have released so much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that our planet's atmosphere is now like a thick, heat-trapping blanket.
As Canadians we are intrinsically connected with the environment. The Canadian wilderness conjures up images of pristine lakes, vast tracts of forests and endless coastlines. However, Canada is also a country that is disproportionately affected by climate change due its amplified effects at higher latitudes. Thawing permafrost, sea ice loss and coastal erosion are already witnessed in the Arctic and extreme weather events across the country from droughts in Western Canada to flooding across the Prairies have had severe environmental implications. Ecological disturbances such as the northward spread of plant species and changes in migratory patterns have also had a detrimental effect to native flora and fauna.
Globally, sea levels continue to rise, deserts continue to expand and the climate has become more unpredictable. Governments are realizing the cost of doing nothing is not an option and recent talks at COP21 in Paris demonstrate that the tide of public opinion has shifted towards creating a more sustainable future.
However, what can we do as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint and what role can our faith play in guiding our decisions?
The goal of the Green Khutbah Campaign is to create a roadmap that Muslims can adopt to become environmentally active and to develop more sustainable lifestyles. This involves combining traditional Islamic principles regarding stewardship with the ideals fostered in the environmental movement.
The roadmap that was developed for this year’s campaign is called the “Three C Climate Plan” which includes curbing consumption, conserving energy and commuting smarter.
What is climate change?
Life on Earth is possible because of the warmth of the sun. While some of this incoming solar radiation bounces back into space, a small portion of it is trapped by the delicate balance of gases that make up our atmosphere. Without this layer of insulation, Earth would simply be another frozen rock hurtling through space. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important gas in this layer of insulation.
Carbon is stored all over the planet — in plants, soil, the ocean, and even us. We release it into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide through activities such as burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and cutting down trees. As a result, today's atmosphere contains 42 per cent more carbon dioxide than it did before the industrial era.
We have released so much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that our planet's atmosphere is now like a thick, heat-trapping blanket. By disrupting the atmospheric balance that keeps the climate stable, we are now seeing extreme effects around the globe. It's like a thermostat that's gone haywire — it just doesn't work the way it should. The result: the climate changes, and it gets warmer. Extreme weather events also become more common.
Global warming has already begun. Since 1900, the global average temperature has risen by 0.7 degrees Celsius, and the northern hemisphere is substantially warmer than at any point during the past 1,000 years.
- Source (David Suzuki Foundation)