Of all the problems facing the environment today, global warming is the biggest and most serious problem that we need to take care of. Global warming is an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, which results in changes in the climatic conditions. As greenhouse gasses such as Carbon dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide in the Earth’s atmosphere increase and gets in our Ozone Layer, it creates a blanket of gas that traps radiated heat and prevents it from exiting our atmosphere. As a result, temperature rises.
On the other hand, there have been many doubts about the validity of global warming. Many skeptics argued that global warming is a natural cycle and people have nothing to do with it. Most of them even think that global warming is not occurring, they believe that climate models used to establish global warming and to forecast its impacts are not accurate. However, the truth is, global warming is really happening right now. Based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, “the average temperature of the globe has warmed from about 13. 50 C to 14.
50 since the beginning of the 20th century” (Dire Predictions 36). IPCC surely brings the most reliable projections for future climate change and its potential impacts. “The reports are written by thousands of the world’s leading scientists” (Dire predictions 8). Nevertheless, even if we consider the idea that global warming is something that naturally occurs on earth, climate has never warmed up at this high speed. In fact, humans are the core reason it is occurring; the rapid increase in development of cities and technology has raised the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
The advancement in technology has led to population increase and industrialization. To provide housing for the increasing population, we have been cutting down uncountable forests. And when forests disappear, the land loses the ability to absorb carbon emissions from generating electricity, cars, and factories. We have been so focused on finding ways to make our lives easier that we have forgotten to take the environment into consideration. In order to save the planet and its inhabitants, everyone has to take the responsibility to stop global warming.
We don’t need to be influential or powerful to reduce global warming, even college students like us can give significant positive impacts just by doing simple things such as consuming less electricity, emitting less fossil fuel pollution through riding bicycles and walking short distances, reducing the consumption of newly made goods and persuade others in following our actions. As the earth’s atmosphere gradually warms, it is affecting everything from sea levels to the weather and ecosystems around the globe. With the high temperatures, the polar ice caps could melt and cause the sea water level to go up.
“The sea level is currently projected to rise between 0. 5 m and 1. 2 m by 2100” (Dire Predictions 98). This would lead to huge flood that could take out small islands and some coastal cities around the world. There would also be less rainfall in numerous places with the result of drought and severe forest fires. Moreover, this extreme changes in the weather and environment would put a lot of species of animals and plants into extinction. For example, the Polar Bears in the Arctic are being threatened by decreasing ice caps, they cannot eat food because they cannot find land to eat it on and do not have place to rest.
When the plants and animals die, people lose two sources of food, plant food and animal food. Food crisis would lead to increase in food prices and even death for people who cannot afford it. It is like a chain reaction, one thing that leads to another and so on. Global warming also affects people’s health. For instance people with cardiovascular problems are mostly affected by increases in temperature and many have died because of heat wave as well as exhaustion problems. “At least 35,000 people died as a result of the record heat wave that scorched Europe in August 2003” (New Scientist).
As we can see from the disastrous consequences of global warming, which are really bad. One of the simplest actions we can do to reduce the impact is to consume energy wisely. Many people think that electricity has nothing to do with global warming since electricity is not a fossil fuel. But in fact, we use fossil fuel such as coal and oil to generate electricity. It is also undeniable that electricity is a necessity of daily life, but we need to start using less electricity in order to stop global warming.
Where there is no option but to use electricity, then it may be possible to purchase from a supplier who uses non fossil fuel sources to produce it such as wind and solar power. “In the US about half of greenhouse gas emissions come from power plants while about a third comes from transportation” (Dire Predictions 159). Any activity that cuts back on power usage or reduced use of transportation would have a positive impact. For example, when you are feeling a little cold at home on the winter, do not adjust the heater, instead, just put extra clothes on.
If possible, do not turn on the AC on the summer, just open the window or use a small fan because it uses less electricity than the AC. Turning off and unplugging unused sources of power such as televisions, lights and heaters will also help reducing the greenhouse gasses emissions, as well as save you money. We really need to take time away from televisions and computers, instead we can spend more time outdoors doing something that can help the environment such as planting trees or recycling our waste. Trees, when fully grown, will help keep the planet cooler because it absorbs the Carbon Dioxide that we produce.
When you recycle, less trash goes to the dump, and less trash gets burned. As a result, there are fewer greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. There are many people who do not realize that something as simple as walking or bicycling instead of driving a car will help reduce pollution, thus, we have to avoid driving car for unnecessarily short trip. As we reduce pollution, we also give ourself exercise, something important for our bodies. We also have to consider public transportation and carpooling. Carpooling is driving with someone to a place that you are both going to, this minimizes the amount of greenhouse gases put into the air by a car.
Nobody really wants to carpool because they feel uncomfortable sharing a car with someone else but when we think about it, it does not make good environmental sense for a couple of people to drive their own car to go to the same place. For example, four neighbors that drive four separate cars to the same campus or workplace every day, those same four neighbors could cut their automobile emissions by 75% if they started a carpool. We have to reduce our consumption by buying new stuff only when we need to, if possible, just borrow or rent it.
When we purchase something brand new, try to choose recycled products, get things that are durable, reusable and recyclable. We must stop buying products with excess packaging that isn’t recyclable. If possible, we better buy fruits and vegetables from local supplier and try to avoid imported supplies. The more foreign food and supplies that we import the more air pollution from airplanes and boats it will create. Therefore, by reducing consumption we save natural resources as well as help reduce the pollution problems caused by production and waste disposal.
The other things that we can do are to inform and talk to our friends and family about global warming. Our voice is much more powerful than television advertisement or speeches by famous people because they are more likely to trust information coming from us than from someone they don’t know. We often watch a movie, go to a restaurant, and read a book based on a friend’s recommendation. The same thing can be true with the climate crisis; our friends and family are more likely to get involved when we ask them to. We can talk to them about the urgency of the issue, the solutions and more importantly, what they can do to stop global warming.
For example, we can encourage our relatives to change their car to electric or hybrid car by showing them some facts about how hybrid cars can help reducing greenhouse gasses. We have to convince them that each of us can take meaningful action to save the planet and we have to show them that we care about the climate crisis because by doing so, we can inspire them to learn more and get involved. Now, nearly everything we consume, every product we buy, and many of our daily activities involve the use of fossil fuels. Global warming is, in fact, the consequence of our inability to take care of the environment that we live upon.
We have carelessly interrupted the cycles and laws of natures through the destruction and exploitation of the land. Therefore if any form of replenishment is desired, every man has to responsibly take an action as the time is now, because the consequences of doing nothing are just too frightening to comprehend. Although we have dug ourselves a grave through disrupting nature’s cycle, together we can change and make things happen through taking small steps. The survival of our kind and our future generation lies upon our hands, so join me in taking a step towards an environmentally friendly life.
WORK CITED * “European heatwave caused 35,000 deaths – 10 October 2003 – New Scientist. ” Science news and science jobs from New Scientist – New Scientist. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. <http://www. newscientist. com/article/dn4259>. * “Global Warming Skeptics is the recent enhancement in the earth’s average temperature is no reason for alarm? ” Effects of global warming | Causes of Global Warming. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. <http://www. globalwarming. org. in/global-warming-skeptics. php> * Mann, Michael E. , and Lee R Kump. Dire Predictions. New York: DK INC, 2008. Print