Earth’s climate affects us in fundamental ways. It’s not just about how warm or wet you might feel. It’s about where you live, how you travel, what sort of foods can be grown, and therefore, what you eat. In fact, climate is a fundamental underpinning of human existence. Ours is a powerful species. And ever since we arose some 200,000 years ago, humans have been influencing our planet. But over the last couple of centuries, our influence has extended to the atmosphere as we’ve put excess greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. And that has affected the climate system. I invite you now to join my friend and colleague Professor Lesley Hughes to investigate how Earth’s climate system works, how humans have influenced it, what the implications of that influence are, and most importantly, what can be done about it. Thanks, Tim. I’m Lesley Hughes. I’m an ecologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. About 20 years ago, I became interested in climate change.
And specifically, how climate change in the future could affect the species and ecosystems that I was studying. Way back then, the term carbon footprint hadn’t, I don’t think, even been invented. And climate change certainly wasn’t the hot political, economic, and environmental topic it is today. But over the last two decades, I’ve witnessed enormous impacts of climate change already, not just on species and ecosystems, but on the very fabric of this planet. And over that time, I’ve become increasingly convinced that there is simply nothing more important than understanding and solving the climate problem. I believe the very future of the human race rests upon this. This four part subject begins with a look at our future climate and how it will affect the environment around us. In the second module, we backtrack a bit, and look at some of the science that underpins our understanding of the future, what we know, and how we know it.
And how it sets us up to predict and cope with future things. In the third module, I’ll tackle the multitudinous ways in which climate change is going to affect our lives– where we live, how we live, our health, what we ate, just about everything. And I’m warning you, by the end of Module Three, we’ll all be feeling a bit depressed. But the one good thing about the fact that humans are causing climate change is that if we’ve caused a problem, we should also be able to fix it. And in Module Four, I’ll be looking at all of the ways in which we can indeed fix the problem. I firmly believe it’s not too late. We need to get going pretty quickly. And thank you for joining me along the journey. .