Global Warming and its Effects
Global warming has been a top discussion for a while now. Some people believe it is true based on the change in weather, more fires/floods, and severe droughts in some areas while others deny the fact that it is occurring. Recently, the topic of global warming has become more of a political topic. This is probably because a lot of the industries that are causing some of the issues would be affected financially if they were forced to take responsibility for their actions. Global warming however, is not a political topic. It is an environmental global issue that must be addressed in a timely manner. Before we can make any changes, it is important to educate people on global warming, how it started, and ways that we can take steps in the right direction to help improve our Earth.
Earth experienced extreme warming events that lasted for long periods of time about 52 million years ago where there was an increase in carbon, temperature, and ocean acidification. However, it wasn’t until the early 1800’s where scientist discovered that greenhouse gases started warming the oceans. This was around the time the industrial revolution started. While our population was getting bigger, so was railroads, coals, and gas emissions. In 1879 it was discovered that infrared radiation could be blocked by some gases which could possibly affect our climate. During the next industrial revolution around the late 1800s early 1900s, the use of electricity, chemicals, and fertilizers become more common. In 1957 the Soviet Sputnik satellite was launched and was able to help us gain more knowledge that CO2 was not being absorbed by the oceans. These new findings kick started Earth Day which was first held in 1970. The purpose of Earth day is to bring awareness to the issue at hand and to raise concern. In 1971 scientists notice a rapid change all over the globe caused by humans and decided to research the topic even further. Some of these changes were serious droughts and talks of a new ice age. Than in 1975 scientists found evidence that there were traces of gases in the stratosphere from airplanes which causes danger to the ozone layer. In 1979 there were suggestion on using renewable energy sources and in 1981 the people started to question whether global warming was real or not. That is when it became more of a political matter.
For years scientist have been trying to inform people that our Earth is in a state of emergency. The more chemicals, gases, and electricity we use, the more damage we are doing to our environment. Water vapor, CO2, nitrous oxide, and methane contribute a lot to global warming. These gases absorb and let off heat radiation in the atmosphere and make it hotter. CO2 is a main contributor to climate change. While plants do use CO2 to produce oxygen, too much CO2 can be harmful. For example, 75% of CO2 can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years and the rest never disappears. Water vapor also absorbs radiation and sends it back which causes warming as well. It leaves the atmosphere quicker than other gases, but isn’t necessarily due to humans. However, it does increase the greenhouse effect when added to the already large amount of CO2. Where do these gases come from and why are humans responsible? When humans burn fossil fuels to warm up a house, use fossil fuels to run cars, burn vegetation such as trees, or to make certain chemicals, it produces CO2. Raising animals for red meat also contributes because they produce methane when they digest their food. Landfills, mining coal, and transporting natural gas can also produce methane which stays in the atmosphere for about 10-12 years and traps more heat than CO2. While growing plants helps with global warming, some farmers use nitrogen in the soil by using a lot of fertilizer which turns into nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide can stay in the atmosphere for over 100 years. As you can see, a lot of these gases are from humans through electricity, transportation, industries, and agriculture.
There are many ways we can solve these problems and things that we can learn from everyone around the globe to better our environment. Transportation is a big one that we can fix. Switching to electric cars, walking, riding the bus, carpooling, or riding a bike can help burn less fossil fuel. When you are at the store bring your own reusable bags instead of stockpiling a bunch of brown bags under your sink. Recycling bottles and cans not only gets you some cash back for your items, but it also helps keeps landfills clean. Going solar will also save you some money and it is great way to help with global warming because it reduces the use of electricity. Also, unplugging items that are not being used or turning the lights off in a room that no one is in is also a way to use less electricity. Eating less red meat helps reduces methane in our atmosphere which is what cows and other animals breathe out. Eat more healthy by growing your own fruits and vegetables. Not only do they taste better, but it cuts down the energy that factories use to gmake processed food and cuts down on food packaging. Instead of using the dryer, you can hang up a clothesline and dry your clothes outside. There are a so many ways that you can help reduce global warming. Even if it is just a small step, it is a small step into the right direction.
Global warming is only becoming more real and we must hold industries accountable for their actions before we can move forward. A big part of moving forward is educating others on this matter. I think that a lot of people are in denial about climate change because no one has taken the time to share their knowledge first. We are so quick to point fingers as a society which won’t get us anywhere. In order to overcome this or even make a dent in it we will need to work with other countries around the globe. We have to share our knowledge and listen to theirs in order to find more environmentally friendly technology or to change our ways all together and move in a new direction. Climate change is bigger than all of us, but even the smallest change can help.