The days of wondering whether the Earth's climate is being seriously impacted by human actions seem to be over. Though not all of our elected officials are on board quite yet, recent surveys show that 89 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents and 70 percent of Republicans already believe global warming is at least partially the result of our dependence on burning fossil fuels.
But, there are still people out there who think climate change is not being caused by human action, which is just one of the reasons tens of thousands will fill Manhattan's streets on Sunday for the People's Climate March, expected to be one of the largest ever demonstrations of its kind. If you're still not convinced that climate change is real, here are 7 reasons you should think again:
1. California Is Turning Into One Big Desert
The situation in the Golden State is so bad -- with 60 percent facing "exceptional drought" -- that California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed three bills that regulate the state's groundwater use for the first time over. Farmers are expected to lose $800 million in crops this year and wildfires are scorching an unprecedented amount of land. If that's not enough evidence, check out these horrifying gifs of the water crisis.
2. It Is Absolutely Getting Hotter
Over the past 130 years, the global average temperature has increased 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, with more than half of that increase occurring over only the past 35 years. Also, the 12 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998 and every one of the past 35 years has been warmer than the 20th century average according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. In fact, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, with August marking the 38th consecutive time the global temperature was above the 20th century average for that month. 2013 was also the hottest year on record in Australia since record-keeping began in 1910, with NASA definitely tying that summer heat increase to global warming.
3. It's Definitely Something We're Doing
Detailed measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have been taken continuously for more than 50 years, with those levels up 25 percent since 1957. In fact, those CO2 levels are higher today than at any point in the past 800,000 years! The majority of climate scientists agree that human activity is responsible for this thanks to the burning of coal, natural gas and oil.
4. The Holy S--- Moment
Two studies that came out earlier this year when reported that major glaciers in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet seems to have become irreversibly destabilized and their collapse appears "unstoppable." Why should we care? Because their collapse could cause a 2-10 foot rise in sea levels, which would flood many coastal regions around the world.
5. The Greenhouse Effect Is Real
The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change reported in 2007 that global warming is "unequivocal," and that human-produced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are chiefly to blame, to a certainty of more than 90 percent.
6. The Oceans Are Dying
The acidity of surface ocean waters have increased by 30 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution, caused by the increase in the amount of humans emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to NASA research. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year, causing the dying off of corals and aquatic life.
7. Don't Try Blaming The Sun
According to the National Climate Data Center, the amount of solar energy at the top of our atmosphere has followed its natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs, with no net increase. Over that same period, global temperatures have risen significantly, meaning that it's "extremely unlikely" that solar influence has been a major driver of global temperature change.
What can you do? You can make your voice heard and join the 100,000 marchers expected in New York for the People's Climate March on Sunday. And if you can't make it, click here to find out what you can do in your area to make a difference.