Understanding Climate Change
"Global warming is one of those things, not like an earthquake where there's a big bang and you say, ; Oh, my God, this is really, has hit us.' It creeps up on you. Half a degree temperature difference from one year to the next, a little bit of rise of the ocean, a little bit of melting of the glaciers, and then all of a sudden it is too late to do something about it. "
Arnold Schwarzenegger (Governor of California and Actor)
The use, abuse and demand for energy resources and the subsequent affect on the environment, in particular the atmosphere, are among the greatest challenges facing humanity today. The terms climate change and global warming appear with increasing frequency in news reports to explain a whole range of natural disasters, floods, droughts, hurricanes and so on. Yet the issues are complex. Until recently, doubts could be expressed regarding the causes of global warming. Now the evidence is so overwhelming that all but a few individuals accept that global warming is the result of human activity.
Geography is one of the few subjects that is capable of making sense of the large amount of information involved in the topic of energy. If Geography can be defined as the study of the earth's surface, the people, culture and their relationships with each other then it can be seen that the subject is uniquely placed within the school curriculum to facilitate an understanding of the issues involved.
On a purely pragmatic level, the new Geography Syllabus covers many aspects of the topics of Climate Change, Global warming and Energy. An analysis of examination questions shows that these are regular and fairly predictable. If for no other reason, this topic is an excellent one to study in order to maximise points.
However, Geography has immediate relevance in the outside world. This is a subject that can be used to help us understand the events that will shape our future.
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