With another successful Earth Day coming and going, we should all pat ourselves on the back for all the eco-friendly things we do such as conserving water and recycling. But we must also realize that we need to take additional steps in order to begin reversing global warming. I’d like to take this opportunity to write a hypothetical blog post (backed by facts, of course) about what would happen if our world continues to get hotter.
The signs of global warming are already abundantly clear. Weather is unpredictable, carbon dioxide is being released into the environment at a staggering rate of 1000 tons per second, and the ice caps are getting smaller and smaller each year. Global warming affects our world as a whole, but I’m going to zero in on a few animals—elephants and dolphins—both of which are used for animal-assisted therapies. Let’s explore how continued global warming would impact their lives.
Elephants are used in animal-assisted therapy in South Africa by Dr. Swanepoel. Dr. Swanepoel was interested in dolphin-assisted therapy, but since there is quite a shortage of dolphins in South Africa, he turned to elephants instead. “Elephants are gentle with their young, protective, and seem to sense when they are near a child or a disabled individual,” Dr. Swanepoel says. “Many children with disabilities need therapy and behavior interventions that may not be conventional… Animals work magic with these children. It is my hope that I will be able to share this success with other children who might benefit from Elephant Assisted Therapy.”
If global warming continues to worsen, elephants and other animals would suffer the consequences greatly (click here to read full reports). Large mammals in Africa migrate between wet- and dry-seasons in order to find the best places to graze at that time. Climate change will make these seasons more unpredictable, causing elephants to migrate at the wrong times because they think that a season has come early. If this happens, they will be to locations where food and necessary resources aren’t available. Even if they continue to migrate at the appropriate times, continued climate change will negatively impact the health of the plants they eat. Elephants need at least 300 pounds of food each day, so food must be readily available for them. Elephants are such kind, resilient animals, and they should be protected from extinction or further endangerment at all costs (click here to read further) .
One of the biggest problems our oceans face today is acidification. The amount of carbon dioxide released by people is absolutely astounding. This carbon dioxide is causing the oceans to become more acidic, as the ocean absorbs 1/4 of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Since dolphins are air-breathing mammals, increased levels of carbon dioxide are the last thing they need. Breathing will become harder and harder for them if the water continues to become more acidic. Dolphins are smart, happy animals who can make huge, positive changes in the lives of the children they work with.
This article was a bit more depressing than what we typically post, but that’s because climate change is a huge issue we all should be aware of. We can do small things to help reduce our carbon footprints. Try eating meat fewer days in the week, walking places with your pet when you would typically drive, turning off lights when you leave a room, and researching products before you buy them for your pets, making sure they are eco-friendly. Climate change as a whole is irreversible, but we can work together to lessen its negative impact.