Is it time to become worried?



The climate is warming at a cracking pace, which poses a serious threat to the

environment and to people. There is a lot of talk about the climate change but what is true and what just intimidation?


No one can deny that climate change is reality, or deny the destruction it causes or the increase in the average temperature of the Earth. Many of the causes leading to global warming are human-induced, such as greenhouse gases caused by industry, agriculture and travelling.  What really counts are our everyday choices, it is not insignificant how we travel and on what we spend our money.


Climate change is a fact. The rise of global average temperature causes various problems and changes, and while the global warming proceeds it breaks the diversity of nature, decreases agricultural productivity, causes floods, droughts and hurricanes and also widens the distribution of tropical diseases.  In dry areas agricultural prospects weaken, which leaves countless people without any source of livelihood.


Those who suffer the most are the poorest people. As little as an increase of 1,5 C  by the year 2080 can expose 50 million people for famine, 200 million for malaria, and 2 milliard for shortage of water.  Worryingly often these people live in the areas which already get exposed to poverty, diseases and famine.


Climate change and the media


Climate change has become an issue that is constantly discussed by the media. Newspapers, television and the Internet are bubbling with information and good ways for everyone of addressing the problem of global warming.


Last autumn class 9F of Pielisjoki Comprehensive School participated in a competition arranged by the Union of biology and geography teachers and the Union of first language teachers. The theme of the competition was Climate Change in the Media.  Almost a hundred schools from various parts of Finland entered into the competition, and, in the end, a collaborative project of Pielisjoki School and a comprehensive school in Juuka was chosen as the winner of the upper level of comprehensive schools.


The prize was awarded in an award ceremony in Helsinki on the 16th of March, in which the prize was handed out by the president of the Republic, Tarja Halonen, who also held a speech at the ceremony.


- I felt elevated when I got to shake hands with the president, said Joonas, who participated in the award ceremony afterwards.


Only two members of the class got to participate in the ceremony, yet the whole class had been working hard on the project. The project contained among other things of a visit to Puljonki Oy in Juuka, and familiarizating ourselves with the operation of a waste disposal plant in Kontiosuo, as well as teaching sixth-formers the facts about climate change and its causes and effects. We also made a plan for a landfill plant, and sent questions concerning bioenergy to minister Mauri Pekkarinen.


Laura visited Iiksenvaara Primary School where she told sixth-formers about the climate change and how to control it.


- It was interesting to work with the project, and of course winning it was great, especially when there were that many competitors, she reflects.


Laura tells how she has received new information on how climate change can be prevented by small actions. Recycling and riding a bike, or walking instead of using a moped are examples of such small actions.


Mikko interviewed Mr Tapani Karhu at Kontisuo waste disposal plant, and also wrote an article about it for the local paper.


- Through attending the competition I received lots of information on for example how you can use landfill gas.


Mikko expresses his concern about the climate change since evidence of it are seen everywhere.


- By using environmentally-friendly cars, by recycling as well as by reducing carbon dioxide discharges and logging of forests, he mentions as possible means to slow down global warming.


Small actions


The concern for climate change is not entirely without cause.  The warming is not going to happen overnight but there are warning signs of it already. The winter has been record short, and natural catastrophes such as tornadoes and tsunamis are increasing in the vicinity of oceans, especially in places where the population is already poor and needy.  In addition to this, a lot worse destruction is yet to come.


There is, however, no reason for fear.  Climate change is not a problem that could not be solved. The means to prevent global warming are well-known to almost everyone, thanks to the media, newspapers, television and the Internet. Of course we know what to do; our actions may be very small, for example turning down the computer or television when we are not using them, switching off the lights when leaving the room and replacing plastic bags by canvas bags. Is the leap for change after all that big?



 More information on the subject: (all projects for the competition). (the collaborative project of Pielisjoki and Juuka comprehensive schools)