How Can You Help the Earth to Survive?

Topics: Climate change, Carbon dioxide, Global warming Pages: 5 (1780 words) Published: December 5, 2012
How Can You Help the Earth to Survive?
Try to imagine living in a world where weather conditions, like hail the size of oranges or hurricanes with unseen wind force, are reality. In the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”, scenes with disastrous weather conditions like the one mentioned above, are shown as a result of greenhouse effect and global warming, if they continue to increase. Fortunately, what the movie shows us is not very realistic, and the outrageous weather conditions are most likely never going to happen. However, it is worth looking at what the movie is trying to express – the question about what global warming can cause if it continues. During the last decade, global climate changes have been an issue facing the world. For a period, the topic of many debates was whether or not the climate actually was changing, but now, science has evidence and proven that the climate certainly has been changing. The changes are primarily a result of the emissions of greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide, and experts claim that a number of human activities are the reason for the emissions. The exact consequences of global warming are still unknown, but the question is no longer what will happen, the question is “How do we solve this problem?” That having said, global warming is a problem we can solve. Scientists know more about the climate and the effect of greenhouse gases, than ever before, which makes it helpful in finding solutions. Leaders all over the world are discussing energy policies and making detailed plans of how the amount of greenhouse gases that is released every day, can get reduced. Scientists search for how the efficiency of energy consumption can be increased, and tools like wind power and solar panels are already at hand. However, it is not only scientists that can solve this problem. We at Eckerd, together with the rest of the world’s population, can reduce the emission of carbon dioxide drastically, just by small changes in your lifestyle. If you know what to change, it is easy to develop environmentally friendly habits. The problem with the greenhouse gases is that they accumulate in the atmosphere. When the Earth radiate the heat from the sun back out to space, the greenhouse gases hinder the heat from doing that, and that is what causes the global warming.

Until very recently, the human activities have been insignificant for the climatic changes (Steffen et al. 81) and the atmosphere contained only about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. But after the industrial revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere started to rise. Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas, has, during the last fifty years, contributed to the rapidly increased concentration of carbon dioxide, and the concentration went from about 310 parts per million to 380 parts per million of carbon dioxide (Steffen et al. 103). As already mentioned, it is uncertain what the exact consequences of global warming are, but if the emission of carbon dioxide continues as hitherto, things can get out of control. The environmentalist, Bill McKibben, mentions in his article, “Carbon’s New Math”, that a number of reports indicate that 450 parts per million carbon dioxide is a threshold we need to stay below (para. 3). If the emission of carbon dioxide continues as it is doing right now, the threshold will be reached in only fifty years. Therefore the urgency of the issue is obvious, and action needs to be taken now.

According to Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth, we need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent (qtd. in Miller para. 3). To reach this goal, the first step is to find out how much carbon dioxide you emit every day. The average U.S. household produces about 150 pounds of carbon dioxide per day. This number is more than twice the European average and almost five times...
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