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The world is getting warmer – and we’re feeling the effects

Last updated: Sep 5th, 2019

The term ‘global warming’ has been banded around for years, so much so that we’ve become somewhat desensitised to it. The glaciers are melting. The sea levels are rising. The polar bears are starving. We care for a while, but soon cast it aside. Why? Because it’s not happening on our doorstep.

Well, now it is. With record-breaking heatwaves and sweltering temperatures becoming more and more frequent, climate change has hit us hard in 2019:

  • July 2019 was recorded as the world’s hottest month on record
  • The UK recorded its highest ever temperature of 38.7°C on 25th July 2019
  • The top 10 warmest years have all occurred since 2002
  • In August Iceland unveiled a plaque to mark the loss of Okjökull, which lost its glacier status in 2014
  • In Greenland record-breaking temperatures of 22°C on 1st August resulted in the melting of billions of tonnes of ice

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that ‘warming of the climate system is unequivocal’ and they can say with 95% confidence that human influence has been the primary cause of warming.

In the UK when the heatwave strikes, we bask in it; treat it like the summer we never have. We sedate ourselves with ice-filled water bottles, air conditioning and summer duvets. We hitch up the hem lines and get burnt in the process. We essentially make small changes to adapt to our surroundings because we’re feeling the effects first-hand. So why can’t we do the same for everything we’re not feeling first-hand?

Earlier this year, school strikes became a global movement in their demand for action on climate change. Over 1 million students across 125 countries skipped school and protested to include more material on climate change in the national curriculum.

And on 28th August, 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg (who inspired the movement), arrived in New York after a 15-day, 3,000-mile journey across the Atlantic. She sailed from Plymouth on a zero emissions yacht to the US to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit.

At least it seems whilst the temperature’s rising, so is a younger generation of activists.


Get your geography students talking about climate change

The world’s recent heatwaves and glacier disappearances are great physical examples to discuss with your geography students. They’re seeing and feeling the very effects of climate change, which makes it a hugely topical issue they can relate to using current, real life examples.

Download our FREE climate teaching resources to kick-start your discussion: