Wouldn’t it be great if we could live in a world where we didn’t have to worry about rising temperatures, more species becoming extinct, or loss of land due to rising water levels? These are all effects of global warming. Global warming, which is a gradual rise in the earth’s atmospheric temperature, is caused by greenhouse gasses. We all need to become more aware of the problem and do our part to help reverse the effects of global warming.
In order to understand what we need to do, we need to understand the problem. The gradual rise in earth’s atmospheric temperature is caused by the output of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are those gases released into the air that trap the suns light rays and cause a greenhouse effect. Some of the greenhouse gases are Carbon Dioxide, or CO2, Methane, or CH4, Nitrous Oxide, or N2O, and Fluorinated gases. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, like oil, coal, and natural gas. Methane is released into the atmosphere through the production and transportation of coal, and through the decay of organic waste. Nitrous oxide is released in the air by the combustion of fossil fuels. Fluorinated gases are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases, but they aren’t emitted in large quantities.
People have a huge influence on the emission of greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere. For example, the high demands of fossil fuels such as oil and coal are one of the leading causes to the output of greenhouse gases. When the gases are released in the atmosphere, temperatures increase globally.
Rising temperatures don’t just mean people are going to buy more air conditioning units. The effects are serious and not easy to fix. Increases in temperature may directly affect human health. There will be more extreme heat waves in the summer and less extreme polar fronts in the winter. People with heart problems, asthma, the elderly, the very young, and the homeless will be more venerable to extreme heat.
Some other major effects of global warming are raising water levels, more pollution, more endangered species, melting glaciers and ice shelves, more flooding of low level areas, and increased salinity of land water bodies.
There are many things we can do at home, at work, and on the road. These are small easy things that we can all do without a problem. At home, you can recycle most plastics, glass bottles, and used paper and newspaper. If everyone in the United States changed five incandescent light bulbs to the more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs, we could prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions of ten million cars.
You can help by heating and cooling smartly, also. Insulate your home and find windows that are energy efficient. Another thing that will reduce greenhouse gases and save you money is use a push mower instead of a gas mower. You can do the same with your car by investing in an energy efficient hybrid car, or a car that uses 85 percent ethanol fuel, which is more earth friendly than traditional gasoline. When you drive, there are many ways to improve your gas mileage simply by not using the gas and brake pedals as much. Don’t accelerate too quickly because it uses more gas. Reduce the weight in your car. Check your tires. By having your tires properly inflated, you can reduce the amount of friction from the road and improve your mileage.
Another thing you can do on the road is use public transportation, carpool, ride your bike, or simply walk. When you ride a bike or walk, you reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, save money, and improve your health. Plants remove carbon dioxide in the air through a process called carbon sequestration. By planting trees and other plants we can slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.
The government has done many things to conserve fossil fuels, improve energy efficiency, and lower the output of greenhouse gases.
Congress has given the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, the power to write regulations in order to enforce environmental laws. One such law, the Clean Air Act, regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. The law gave EPA the power to create the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, to protect public health and regulate hazardous air pollutants.
So there’s the problem, and there’s the solution. Because America is the leading cause of global warming, we as Americans need to do our part to save our planet. The government can help get things done better and faster. Together, we can all do our part and make the world a better place.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
at 10:00 PM