Despite the controversy over global warming since its arrival to the mainstream, it seems that our planet is definitely getting warmer. According to a report by NASA, 2017 was the third hottest year on Record. On top of that, it was the hottest year on record without an El Niño phase, a climate phenomenon that is known to bring warmer temperatures.

What happened?

This is definitely an alarming fact, but not as surprising if you consider that the five warmest years on record all came after 2010. The news comes after a year marked by major natural disasters like Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, and the plethora of wildfires in California throughout the year.

All of these natural disasters forced the US to spend more than $306 billion because of the damages. This is an all-time record, crushing the previous record of $215 billion spent in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina. On top of that, 2017 was the hottest year on record for five US states, namely Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This all adds up to show us the effects of pollution, burning of fossil fuels, and more.

Should you be worried?

Although it's shocking that the temperatures manage to go the to the top of the all-time rankings every year, there's definitely a silver lining. We still have very cold poles and the cold air systems still function properly, bringing us cooler temperatures around the world in a regular enough fashion.

For now, these temperature numbers don't mean much. Natural disasters have been happening since the creation of the planet, and they will keep happening on a regular basis, with or without hotter temperatures.

Still, these types of news shouldn't be taken lightly. The choices we make today can affect how future generations will live.

The effects of climate change won't escalate from one day to the next. It takes time, but there's still plenty of things one can do to help the Earth.

How should you help?

It's very difficult to measure the exact amount of damage a specific task is doing to our environment. However, we do have substantial research pointing that the widespread use of fuel-powered cars can contribute to climate alterations.

In addition. the expansion and growth of corporations and products can produce waste that translates to further environmental damage.

However, green initiatives are growing in popularity. From reusing your grocery bags to carpooling to the use of hybrid vehicles, these decisions help you provide your two cents for the help of the environment. Just like the negative effects of climate change, these positive tasks will also take time to be of actual help, but they can make a big difference in the future.