ITT Technical Institute
Simple Solutions to Global Warming
The most prominent concern that affects the environmental health of the world today is global warming. Although government agencies are making significant strides in providing solutions to global warming, the ultimate solution may lay in the hands of the individual citizens. Simple things, such as the way electricity is used in homes, the production of waste, and the choice of transportation can have a positive impact on global climate change.
Merriam-Webster defines global warming 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 (“Global warming”). The buildup of these greenhouse gases can cause harsh changes to the Earth’s climate resulting in dangerous effects to human health ("Climate change basics"). The majority of greenhouse gases come from the burning of fossil fuels used to produce energy; although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices emit gases into the atmosphere, as well ("Climate change basics"). The lives of future generations will depend on the choices made today regarding solutions to global warming.
Government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are just a few dedicated to solving this worldwide dilemma of global warming. They focus their time on solutions restricted to levels much higher than the average human can reach. However, the results achieved may not have as significant an impact on global warming as the results from the simple solutions individual citizens can contribute.
The Earth has gone through many cycles of temperature change during the billions of years of its existence. Volcanic eruptions, sunspots, and the natural wobble of the Earth’s
rotation cause these heating and cooling events to occur naturally and slowly over millions of years ("What causes global," 2007). However, over the past century, the Earth’s temperature is rising faster than ever and cannot be tied to any naturally occurring event. Scientific data indicates that the current rise of temperature is directly related to the human-created emission of greenhouse gases ("What causes global," 2007). The EPA informs that “greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer” and “human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years” (2012). The burning of fossil fuels for energy is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from man-made activities. The chart shows how electricity production, transportation, industry, commercial businesses, residential homes, agriculture, land use and forestry make up this source ("Sources of greenhouse," 2012).
Whether on a government or personal level, discovering solutions to global warming can be intimidating. So what can one person actually do to slow and reverse the effects of global warming? Actually, there are several ways humans can make a contribution; these include the way electricity is used in homes, waste production, and the use of transportation.
Greenpeace International informs, “Every household in the world today uses electricity in different ways. Within the OECD (industrialised countries), an average European household
consumes 4,667 kilowatt hours (kWh), whereas a household in the U.S. consumes 11,209 kWh, and in Japan 5,945kWh of electricity per year” ("Your energy savings," 2007). Although electricity is plentiful in most areas, an extreme amount of energy is needed for its generation, and before it ever leaves the power plant over half of it is lost as waste heat. Another 10% is lost as it travels through the transformers and along electric lines on its way into homes due to attenuation ("What...