Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!
This month, I'm featuring Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne!
When I first saw Lotus and Thorn, I immediately thought, high fantasy coming at us! Woohoo! This was entirely based on the cover. I quickly realized that this book was heavily science-fiction-based, and in a very intriguing way. In this story, Earth was abandoned half a millennium, and the humans are now on the colony planet Gabriel. Food is scarce, disease runs rampant, and water is precious. The Curadors, who live in the Dome, can't even leave the Dome without protective gear, because they can no longer survive outside.
I'm taking my topic today somewhat tangentially from this book. I want to talk about climate change and the future of our Earth. There is a good chance that this won't be the last time climate change is featured on Science in Fiction!
NASA defines climate change as long-term changes in the Earth's climate.
Drivers of climate change include:
- Greenhouse gas effect: a natural process in the atmosphere, which involves the trapping of carbon dioxide. Usually the greenhouse gas effect is a good thing! Except that this natural cycle has been disturbed by humans. Greenhouse gases from human activity have been increasing, which increases the greenhouse gas effect, and warms the Earth. Among other things. Lots of positive feedback loops happening.
- Increase burning of coal: this ties in with the greenhouse gas effect. Because humans have been burning more coal and adding more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, climate change has been rapidly sped up.
- Increasing volcanic eruptions: a natural occurrence on the Earth. But increasing volcanic eruptions adds more gases to the atmosphere.
Effects of climate change:
- Increasing temperatures. Also, decreasing temperatures. This depends on location.
- Decreasing water supply.
- Increasing spread of disease.
- Decreasing food supply.
- Rising sea levels.
- Increasing number of extreme weather events.
- Increasing severity of extreme weather events.
- Increasing amount of rain. Also, decreasing amount of rain. This depends on location.
- Increasing melting of ice caps.
- Increasing wildfires.
- Increasing ecosystem stress and collapse.
- Increasing invasive species.
- Other Bad Things.
Recent climate change news:
- 2015 was the hottest year on record. Yup, that was a thing. NOAA and NASA have the data to back this up. While we're talking temperatures, check out this animation, that shows the annual global temperature change, from the mid-1800s to 2016.
- Fort McMurray wildfires were due to climate change. Increasing temperatures and dry conditions are perfect for wildfires. The New York Times has a great article about the Fort McMurray wildfires, and other wildfires in the past that were due to climate change.
- The Arctic, which is usually cold, has had record-low sea ice. This is terrible! The Arctic is one of the regions that keeps the entire globe fairly cool. But there has been less ice, due to melting ice, due to rising temperatures. The winter season has been too warm. More on this at Science Daily.
- Climate change could be causing a shift in the Earth's poles. Wild, right? The Earth is tilted on its axis, and the degree of tilt is dependent on the distribution of mass. If there is a change in the distribution of mass, e.g. when ice melts in Greenland, the poles shift. The North Pole, which usually drifted towards Canada, has started to drift towards the U.K. This is still a topic of research, so there is no causation proven, but the evidence is present. More on this at Science Daily.
- California has been experiencing a drought for years. Anyone Californians here? California has been experiencing quite the drought in recent times, and that's not about to change. It all goes back to the decreased snowpack, which meant less water from the mountains. And a lack of rain is a problem. And it's pretty hot over there, for the most part. All of this leads to a lot of water conservation policies.
I could go on and on. Climate change is real, it's scary, and it's not going away. For anyone that doesn't "believe" in climate change... open your eyes! Our Earth is in a sad state, especially compared to ten, twenty, fifty years ago. Who is to say we won't end up like the Earth of Lotus and Thorn?
What are your thoughts on climate change?