Global Warming: How would you explain the effects of greenhouse gases on children?

That is, our child is interested in more complex, abstract or scientific concepts, even if he is still not able to understand everything. His generation has grown up with worrying information about the environment, climate and the future of our little blue planet, perhaps he will ask us questions about this very soon. Fortunately, as parents we have many resources at our fingertips to help our children understand what global warming is all about.

Definition: What is global warming?

Climate change, climate change, global warming… whatever the term is used, the observations are the same, and the consensus in the scientific community is: The Earth’s climate is changing at an unprecedented rate due to human activity.

Therefore, it is best not to shorten the incident when talking to the child about it. He will grow up in this world of instability, so you too can prepare him for these changes and make sure that he is aware of the reaction … but also of the importance of these actions.

What is the greenhouse effect policy?

To fully understand the concept of global warming for a child, it is important to explain to him quickly and simply what it is. Greenhouse effect. Taking precise examples of how it would be best to express oneself through simple words that fit the child’s ageA garden greenhouse. Our children have already noticed that it is warmer in the greenhouse than outside.

He is then explained that this is the same principle for the earth, where it is good thanks to the greenhouse effect. Our planet really Surrounded by a layer of gas that traps the sun’s heat. Without this layer of so-called “greenhouse” gas, it would be -18 degrees Celsius! The greenhouse effect is therefore a natural phenomenon, which is essential for the development of life on Earth.

Once this is understood, we continue to carry the risks of this phenomenon. We tell our child that, although vital, this greenhouse can have an effect It turns out to be dangerous if it is too present. Just as a grandfather’s (or neighbor’s) tomato dries out when it is too hot in a greenhouse, life on Earth is threatened if the temperature rises too much.

Co2, gas …: What is it made of and what causes it?

However, for almost 150 years, contaminated human activity (transportation, factories, intensive farming, etc.) Increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The main ones are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, tropospheric ozone, as well as halocarbon.

These gases accumulate in our atmosphere, which we can qualify as the “protective bubbles” of the planet according to our child’s vocabulary. And this accumulation results in an increase in the average surface temperature of the earth: it is global warming.

Why is this natural phenomenon being widened now?

If this natural phenomenon is currently being broadened, it is clearly associated with human activity. According to the fifth assessment report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published in 2014, among the economic sectors that are increasing the greenhouse effect, Power (Production of electricity, heating, etc.) responsible for 35%, Agriculture (Soil mining, logging, etc.) by 24%, Art (Heavy industry, manufacturing, etc.) by 21%, Transportation (Products and people) 14% and The building (Construction, maintenance, etc.) by 6%.

And the latest IPCC report, published in early April 2022, warns that harmful carbon emissions have never been so high in human history between 2010 and 2019 … so we need to act quickly to reduce these emissions.

Is Global Warming Dangerous?

Differences between weather and climate

When talking about a baby’s temperature rise, it’s important, of course, depending on his or her age Explain the difference between weather and climate. Otherwise, when winter comes, he will probably tell you that you lied to him with stories of global warming!

Weather refers to the weather at a particular place and at a particular time. This is a one-time forecast. Indicates the climate All atmospheric and climatic conditions (Humidity, precipitation, pressure, temperature, etc.) Specified for a region, or, in this case, for an entire planet. It is considered that it takes about thirty years to observe the weather and atmospheric conditions to estimate the climate of a geographical area.

Climate change is therefore not as perceptible from one day to the next, as the weather may be. Unfortunately, it’s not that it was so cold this winter that the global climate isn’t going wrong … Once the phenomenon of global warming is explained to our children, it is not important to hide the consequences from them, without being dramatic. While being realistic.

Consequences of climate change

According to recent scientific estimates, the Earth’s surface temperature may rise Extra 1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius in the 21st century.

The first consequence, and perhaps the most obvious, is Sea level rise, Especially due to thermal expansion (when water is warmed, its volume increases), melting of glaciers and disappearance of ice holes. It is projected to increase by 30 centimeters by 2050, regardless of the reduction in our carbon emissions. This means that, according to the American Agency for Oceanic and Atmospheric Observations, sea levels will rise in 30 years, as they did in the last century. After that some islands and certain coastal cities disappeared, so its number increased. Climate refugees. Today, 3.3 to 3.6 billion people are at high risk for climate change.

It also causes warming of the sea Extreme weather events (Typhoons, cyclones, floods, heat waves, droughts, etc.). Humans, but also plants and animals, may not be able to adapt quickly enough. Many species are at risk of extinction. However, humans depend in part on the existence of this species. We think specifically Bees and other pollinating insectsWhich allows the plant to bear fruit.

Note, however, that if our environment were to change drastically, nothing would suggest that life on Earth would disappear completely.

We can take action for the environment and climate

Explaining global warming to a child means fighting this phenomenon or at least sharing solutions to slow it down. Otherwise, the child runs the risk of feeling discouraged, frustrated and completely helpless which makes him anxious but beyond him. We talk thenEco-concern, An increasingly widespread form of anxiety among young people. A survey published by The Lancet Journal in September 2021 revealed that 50% of the 10,000 young people aged 16 to 25 surveyed said they were worried, sad, angry, helpless and guilty in the face of global warming.

To allay our child’s fears, we can already reassure him that various countries are committed (slowly, acknowledged) to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and that the fight against climate change is now a major issue.

Then, we can show him that it is up to everyone to change their lifestyle and eating habits to protect our planet. This is it The theory of small steps, or hummingbirds, According to which everyone has their responsibilities and role in this ongoing struggle. There are many actions that a child is capable of understanding and accepting, such as:

  • Sort waste,
  • Walk, bike or take public transport instead of car,
  • Eat less meat,
  • Buy low package products and gradually adopt a zero waste method,
  • Buy second-hand items if possible,
  • Choose a shower rather than a bath,
  • Reduce heat by wearing a sweater,
  • Save energy by turning off standby equipment …

In this sense, parental behavior is essential, because it can Give children hopeThose who understand that it is possible to take action on a daily basis against climate change, the “small steps” that go from end to end – and if everyone is involved – already do a lot.

Finally, there is Lots of educational resources, On the Internet, in bookstores, and in children’s publishing houses. We should not hesitate to rely on these supports, especially if the issue of global warming affects us too much, if it worries us, if we do not consider it legitimate to explain it or if we are afraid to reduce it.

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