On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. The heavy focus this year is on the dangerous effects of climate change. Earth Day is an excellent time to get some insight on what is happening to the world around us.

How is climate change affecting people all over the world?

Higher Temperatures- The five hottest recorded years all happened since 1997. Heat-trapping gases emitted by power plants, automobiles, deforestation and other sources are warming up the planet.

Changing Landscapes- Higher temperatures and changing weather patterns are forcing trees and plants around the world to move toward polar regions and up mountain slopes. These plants are trying to adjust to the changing climate by moving toward cooler areas. As a result of the plant life making changes, the animals that depend on them will have to as well. This may be problematic due to development in those areas.

Rising Seas- The change in sea level is due to the fact that warmer water takes up more room than colder water. To add insult to injury Melting glaciers are dumping even more fresh water into the oceans. Sea levels have risen between four and eight inches in the past 100 years. Current projections suggest that Its possible sea levels will rise between 4 and 36 inches over the next 100 years. Just to put things into perspective, if sea levels increased to 36 inches every east coast city from Miami to Boston would be swamp!

Stronger Storms- Research indicates that these climate changes will cause hurricanes and tropical storms to become more intense. This means longer lasting, stronger winds, and more damaging to coastal ecosystems.

Understanding these threats and making small changes in our everyday life is curial. Why not start with something small? Go home and Replace your five most frequently used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR® qualified products. Not only will you be helping the global problem but also put $70 a year in energy bills back in your pocket!

Source: Nature Conservancy