SCI207 Dependence of Man on the Environment
Prof. Lynne Trevisan
November 26, 2012
How Humans Contribute to Global Warming
Scientists know more than ever before about how the Earth’s climate is changing and what that will mean for people, habitats and wildlife across the planet (National Geographic, 2012). Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace (National Geographic, 2012). This climate change is affecting our health as well as our economy. Lately, the earth has been showing many signs of climate change. It is not cooling down at all causing the presence of global warming. Global warming can be defined as “an increase in the earth's atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution” (Merriam-Webster, 2012). This paper will explain why human activity is a substantial cause of global warming and discuss what can be done by the human race to stop global warming. According to National Geographic, “Levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have gone up and down over the Earth's history, but they have been fairly constant for the past few thousand years” (National Geographic, 2012). Over the past few years there has been some record high and low temperatures. “Through the burning of fossil fuels and other GHG emissions, humans are enhancing the greenhouse effect and warming Earth” (National Geographic, 2012). “Radiation from the sun is trapped instead of being released back into the atmosphere when greenhouse gases are present. This causes the temperatures to rise while creating negative effect for our environment” (Turk & Bensel, 2011, Section 7.1). “Greenhouse effect can be defined as the global warming of our atmosphere caused by the presence of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which trap the sun’s radiation” (Turk & Bensel, 2011, Section 7.1). Nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide are all greenhouse gases. Nitrous oxide can be produced naturally and by human activity. Primary human-related sources of N2O are agricultural soil management, animal manure management, sewage treatment, mobile and stationary combustion of fossil fuel, adipic acid production, and nitric acid production (EPA.gov). Methane is produced by bacteria in the stomachs of ruminants such as sheep, cattle, and goats and is farted and belched out by the animals (Global Action Network, 2005). Methane can be minimized by changing the diets in farm animals. Feeding them grass only is a good way to do this. According to Agresti, “man-made CO2 emissions account for about 77% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and roughly 3% of the earth’s greenhouse effect (Agresti, 2011). There are many factories and power plants that burn oil, coal, and natural gases when making their products. These gases are released into the atmosphere, polluting the air we breathe, contributing to global warming. There are many disadvantages when it comes to global warming. Imagine if all the ice peaks melted. The sea levels would be overflown causing floods to occur which may force people to relocate. Global warming contributes to our weather patterns causing tornados, hurricanes, or strong thunder storms. During many of these storms, heavy rainfall is present causing floods in our communities. Most of the time when floods are present, a “boil water” advisory is put into place. This is done to reduce illnesses caused by water contamination. Global warming contributes to forest fires. The warm air dries out the forest making it easier for fires to start. These forest fires eventually destroy many of our natural resources. Forest destruction is also caused by humans. Humans use the space to build businesses, homes, and highways. As a result, the homes of many species are invaded. My subdivision was all woods at one...