Climate change is, sadly, mostly our fault. While we feel and hear about the consequences every day, we often turn a blind eye to how our damage is hurting those who can’t speak for themselves. From the land to the sea, climate change is affecting all the animals on this planet.
Temperature Increases, Goat Body Size Decreases
According to Phys, research from Durham University suggests that climate change is real and has real consequences, such as making Alpine goats smaller. Researchers studied the goats, formally known as Alpine Chamois, for 30 years. Amazingly, the current goats are 25 percent smaller in body size than their counterparts of the same age in the 1980s. This shrinking trend is nothing new; many species are already getting smaller because of climate change.
However, this research is intriguing because of the magnitude and speed of this change. Researchers also noted that this change could negatively impact their survival. Over the course of 30 years, they found that the goats’ habitat became 3-4 degrees (Celsius) warmer. Usually, when the temperature changes, changes also occur with the food source and that correlates to changes in body size. Yet, the warmer weather didn’t affect the goats’ food.
The warmer weather started changing their behavior. When the weather is hotter, per habit, the goats will spend more time lounging around and resting. If they are resting more, then they are looking for food and grazing less. Their original size is what helped them survive freezing winters, so their survival is precarious.
The researchers suggest that similar behavioral and anatomical changes could occur in domestic livestock. Naturally, this could affect our agricultural sector.
Damage to Sea Turtles’ Eggs and Populations
Six species of sea turtles are already endangered, but increased sea levels from climate change are eroding the beaches where they lay their eggs. Warmer weather might be too hot to incubate the eggs and sand temperature determines the sex of the turtle, with warmer temperature producing females. In one species of turtle (the Loggerhead turtle), 90 percent of the population is already female; if things keep getting hotter, then there will be no males for the females to reproduce with.
Warmer Water Makes Breathing Difficult for Lobsters
Lobsters may look resilient, but they aren’t immune to the consequences of climate change. For cold-blooded animals like lobsters, higher temperatures mean that they have to expend more energy for simple things, like breathing. Temperatures above 69 degrees F make breathing so hard for lobsters that they can enter physiological stress. When so much energy is spent just trying to breathe, other important things, e.g. reproducing and looking for food, aren’t a priority.
How You Can Help Stop Climate Change
Stopping, or slowing down, climate change is going to take a massive effort. Luckily, there are simple steps we can all take. The David Suzuki Foundation has ten easy tips that we can all follow. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more tips for inside and outside of the office. Do it for the innocent animals who are paying the price for our mistakes.