El Niño: Managing our carbon footprint in the Philippines

El Niño: Managing our carbon footprint in the Philippines for 2024

With increasingly concerning high temperatures, reaching an average heat index of 40°C/104°F and above in April, it’s imperative that we begin managing our carbon footprint to gradually heal our environment. PAGASA warns that temperatures will rise to dangerous levels in May, exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon, which also affects the Philippines. But what exactly is El Niño?

What is El Niño/La Niña?

El Niño, which translates from Spanish as ‘the Christ child’ or colloquially as ‘the little boy,’ refers to the phenomenon of elevated ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Over time, ‘El Niño’ has come to describe irregular and intense climate changes rather than just ocean temperatures. The 2023-2024 El Niño was officially declared by the World Meteorological Organization in July 2023. Forecasters predict an 85% chance of El Niño ending around April-June, with La Niña developing from June to August. El Niño, associated with warmer conditions, leads to droughts, dry spells, and heavy rainfall, impacting farmers and causing severe flooding and landslides in the Philippines.

In contrast, La Niña, translating to ‘the little girl,’ involves periodic cooling of ocean temperatures in the same Pacific region. Unlike El Niño, La Niña can have positive effects, such as promoting upwelling—a process where strong eastward trade winds push cold, nutrient-rich water upward, benefiting fishing industries in South America. La Niña is also known as ‘anti-El Niño’ or ‘El Viejo,’ meaning ‘the old man.’

Relation to our Carbon Footprint

El Niño isn’t just about ocean warming; it highlights broader climate change impacts. Being mindful of our carbon footprint not only benefits the environment but also our health.

Simple ways to reduce our carbon footprint include:

  • Recycling
  • Managing email clutter
  • Conserving water
  • Supporting local products
  • Recycling, for instance, significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions by saving energy. It’s crucial to adopt these practices consistently.

Conclusion

While scientists predict the end of El Niño and the onset of La Niña, climate change continues to affect global weather patterns severely. Southeast Asia still feels the lingering effects of El Niño, with temperatures soaring dangerously high. Urgent action is needed to mitigate global warming impacts. Although La Niña may provide some cooling effects, it won’t fully counteract the heat intensified by climate change. By adopting sustainable lifestyles and advocating for reduced carbon emissions, we can slow down climate change and mitigate the aftermath of El Niño.

References:

by: Beatrice

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Published on June 17, 2024.
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