Instructor Emily Smith
9 November, 2012
Global Warming: Human Activities
Global warming is commonly believed as a downfall to our planet and life as many individuals know it on earth. Bill McKibben, author of “The Environmental Issue from Hell”, states, “ When global warming first emerged as a potential crisis in the late 1980’s, one academic analyst called it ‘the public problem from hell’”(Mckibben 746). However, this only seems a way to scare individuals and comply with the desires from government officials mainly in the United States but also in other countries. Global warming is the theory that the Earth is constantly heating up above normal levels due to elevated amounts of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) in the atmosphere, which deteriorates the ozone and corrupts the greenhouse effect which maintains normal conditions of life (Courtney). Worldwide, global warming is happening, and most of the reason this is happening is because of manmade activities that cause pollution to our environment. Most often, the finger is being pointed at governments and industries, but there is sometimes where the finger needs to be pointed at the individual consumers.
First, it is well known that transportation is one of the leading causes of global warming pollution. A large amount of automobiles burn some type of fossil fuel usually gasoline or diesel. Automobiles release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, out of the muffler. Small cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) supply an enormous amount of global warming pollution. SUVs are targeted more for being a major supplier of carbon dioxide. Mckibben states, “ If you switched today from the average American car to a big SUV, and drove it for just one year, the difference in carbon dioxide that you produced would be equivalent of opening your refrigerator door and the forgetting to close it for six years” (Mckibben 748). SUVs are well-known for their poor fuel efficiencies and carbon discharge from the vehicle. The purpose of SUVs is not being used as they once were, by hauling a large number of individuals and goods from place to place. Today, SUVs are used by individuals who work daily to get from home to work or just to even take a ride in.
The planet earth’s atmosphere is much like a greenhouse. Heat finds its way in and cannot always find its way out. The gases that are emitted from vehicles are layering the earth’s atmosphere causing it to trap and lock the heat in. Greenhouse gases are also deteriorating the ozone which is about thirty miles above earth. The ozone is like a greenhouse gas that traps the heat in the stratosphere.
Global warming is a serious issue that needs to be taken control of, not only by individuals of communities, but government officials as well. Individuals often complain that we as a nation are not doing enough to promote an eco-friendly environment. However, there are individuals out there that are really committed to changing energy use and becoming more eco-friendly. McKibben states, “Even if you got 10 percent of Americans really committed to changing their energy use, their solar homes wouldn’t make much of a difference in our national totals” (McKibben 749). The 10 percent of individuals that want to make a change would not be enough to persuade other individuals and government officials to do the same for a better environment. This issue needs to be turned into a political issue, but the only way to do this is if it “becomes a personal issue first” (McKibben 749). Individuals usually do not make a change for the better, such as becoming eco-friendly, until the individual has experienced the issue their self.
When campaigning, representatives sometimes use global warming as a scare tool to get individuals to vote for them. Representatives say individuals should become more eco-friendly, such as recycling and saving energy by simply turning off a light, or if we do not do something about...