By HYE JUNE SEO
Tired-lone polar bear on melted ice berg | Photo from flickr by Smudge 9000
T-shirts, short pants, ice cream, water parks...summer is coming. The scorching season is again without doubt on its way to us. Whenever it’s summer, we unconsciously look out for clothes that expose more of our skin, or go into stores with strong air conditioning. According to NASA’s global temperature data, 2015 was the hottest year ever and it’s likely that 2016 will be replaced as the hottest year on record. Apparently, weather extremes are not a surprise anymore. I’m sure everyone knows the answer to the question, ‘What’s going on?’ A warning often disregarded, global warming is getting closer to us accompanying more extreme storms or wild fires, melting sea ice, coral bleaching, and a plenty of other disasters.
I remember my first group project that I did in my 2nd year in elementary school. Our group was assigned a task to search about the polar bear and its relation to global warming. Until then, I hardly knew about polar bears and global warming. Thanks to the school project, I managed to know that the climate change is destroying ice on the Arctic Ocean and it is humans that are killing these cute bears. Even though this project was more than 10 years ago, I can still remember it vividly because it was such a shock to an 8 year old. However, the circumstance has only gotten worse, and with the advanced camera technologies, more vivid and live photos are taken now, some capturing the harsh life moments.
"I felt helpless that there was nothing I did for them"
Polar bears may have been one of the first symbolic victims of global warming. However, plants and foods are also in danger. For example, everyone’s sweet remedy “chocolate” is also on the threatened food list. In four decades, the amount of land available for growing cocoa has dropped 40%. In the next 35 years, the temperature in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where 70% of cocoa is grown, is set to rise by 2 degrees Celsius, which will be too dry for cocoa. Plus, the world’s super fruit avocado is in risk, too. Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory predict as much as a 40 percent decrease in avocado production over the next 30 years due to increasing temperatures brought on by climate change. Coffee, beer, beans, wine, apple are no exception either.
"It’s sad, but it’s the truth. We have to do something to stop, or being realistic, slower the process"
Amazingly, The University of Tokyo built a eco-facility in Komaba campus called 21 KOMCEE West. As the target facility of the「Next Generation Energy-Saving Architecture System Verification Project」launched by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), they have introduced an underground water circulating cooling-heating system, radiation panel system, photovoltaic power system and artificial intelligence energy managing system, and also with the cooperation of the University of Tokyo’s research institute of technology production, the building is playing its role contributing to the zero emission of carbon dioxide.