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What is climate change?

A child-friendly definition.

Climate change basically means changes to our weather over time. Human activity has changed a lot in the last few hundred years and that it is having a big effect on the temperature of our planet - it's getting too warm, too quickly! 

 

When the planet gets too warm it can cause all sorts of problems! Some places will get too much rain, causing floods and other places won't get enough rain, causing droughts or forest fires.

 

All living things on Earth rely on a stable climate - for their home, food and water - so it's very important that we try to stop global warming which causes climate change. The good news is, there are lots of things we can all do to help!

 

Read on to find out more...

What causes climate change?

Have you ever been into a greenhouse? It gets hot in there! Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane work in the same way - we need them, they keep the Earth warm - but there's too many in the atmosphere now and that's making it too warm. Basically, we're creating too much carbon and not absorbing enough.

 

Too much greenhouse gas production is raising the temperature of the planet caused by:

  • Energy creation – burning of fossil fuels (petrol, diesel, oil, gas and coal)
  • Burning of forests and other organic matter such as peat (like the wildfires in the Amazon and Australia and the recent fires on Saddleworth Moor near Manchester)
  • Food production - cattle for meat and dairy products take masses of land (to feed them and rear them) and create lots of methane. Producing food that goes to waste (over-production) creates needless emissions too.
  • Additional emissions from over-production of unsustainable products e.g. plastic
  • Methane emissions from agriculture, landfill and thawing permafrost
  • Emissions from industry, such as steel and cement manufacture.

Combined with a reduction in CO2 absorbency:

  • Deforestation (to accommodate food production and general 'stuff' production) – trees not taking in CO2
  • Ocean depletion – overfishing/trawling removes CO2 consumers such as algae

Play our new Tree World game to explore the carbon cycle.

What are the effects of climate change?

The Earth and all living things on it exist in a very delicate balance, all reliant on each other. When the balance is upset it causes a ripple effect across everything.

 

Consequences of climate change...

  • A raise in temperature causes the melting of polar ice caps.

  • The ice caps melt into the sea - this causes all sorts of issues! From warmer oceans (ice reflects heat, oceans are darker so absorb more heat) to more diluted seas (less salty) to rising sea levels.
  • This also results in extreme weather across the world (warmer air holds more water and has more energy, making it more volatile), different areas will experience different effects – floods, heatwaves, droughts, fires

  • Extreme weather and changes in the ocean and on land result in loss of habitats for many living organisms and cause issues with food production.

  • When habitats are disturbed it leads to a loss of biodiversity as certain species fail to survive in the new conditions.

  • Living things are all connected, when one is lost this leads to the collapse of eco-systems.

By slowing down global warming we can prevent or delay climate changes to give living things more chance to adapt to the changes.

 

Use our climate change resources to explore this further.

Tackling climate change - what actions can you take?

The Earth is billions of years old! Its climate has changed many times before - going between ice ages and warmer climates - but these changes normally happen extremely slowly which gives living things the chance to adapt. This time humans are thought to be speeding up climate change like never before - so we need to try to slow things down. Here's a few ideas how you can take action with:

  • Be aware of your carbon footprint - What carbon emissions do you create? Can you reduce them or offset them?
  • Reduce/reuse/recycle
  • Change your eating habits - eat more plant-based food. Plan meals and reduce food waste
  • Cycle and walk more
  • Restore green and wild spaces – plant trees, grow wild flowers, encourage eco-systems
  • What type of energy does your home use? Can you change to renewable energy? Can you reduce your energy use?
  • Buy sustainable products/make simple swaps as and when you can
  • Choose local food and produce when you can
  • Check your bank account - does your bank make green investments on your behalf?
  • Raise awareness in others / help in persuading governments and companies to make changes - sign petitions, write to MPs etc.
  • Increase your knowledge and awareness of climate change. Talk to your children about it and encourage them to get involved - we have tried to make this easier for you with our new Tree World game and climate change resources on Busy Things.

There are so many actions you can take at home, in your local community and school - see below ideas of places to look for more information.

Where to find out more about climate change: 

 

To understand more about the climate crisis and look for more ways to make an impact in the fight against climate change we suggest these as great places to start:

 

For climate change information look up these organisations:

Other ways to understand climate change and be inspired:

  • Join groups on social media for advice and inspiration on making small changes - The Lazy Environmentalists for instance.
  • There are many great books that make you think about the subject - The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is a great book for children (adults too!)
  • Watch documentaries and climate related films - BBC Saving Planet series, David Attenborough documentaries, Ice Age: The Meltdown is great for children.
  • Follow activists and thought leaders in this area such as Greta Thunberg.
  • Nasa Global Climate Change includes lots of interactive features to understand the vital signs of the planet.

 

Can you avoid a climate crisis?

We challenge you to create a balanced planet where Beeples can happily co-exist with Tree World’s flora and fauna!

 

Developed for The Great Big Green Week, this fun game is a brilliant way to introduce children to the carbon cycle, carbon emissions and the need for action against the climate crisis.

 

PLAY TREE WORLD FREE

NB: The best is yet to come!! Tree World is currently a beta game (i.e. we're still developing it) - we have so much planned to make it even more impactful! We'd love your input so please let us know if you have any ideas to improve and extend the learning points of the game. Email sally@busythings.co.uk with your feedback and suggestions!

Who can get the best stats?

Please share your results far and wide! We all know playing is the best way of learning - so get everyone you know playing Tree World and thinking about how our actions affect the planet.

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