Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Global warming, is it bad? I know that my dogs seem to shed year-round now, and when I lived in Washington State winters were becoming milder and spring and summers were getting nicer towards the end of the 10 years I lived there, but are there other side effects? What causes it? And How can we combat it?
Let’s start off by defining what Global Warming is. We are able to track temperatures around the globe dating back 100’s of years ago, and when analyzing the temperatures there have been significant increases in global temperatures specifically dating back to the start of the Industrial Revolution. What changed at that point was there was new technology available and production and manufacturing increased significantly. Many factories started being built and the rate at which fossil fuels (oil and coal) were burned skyrocketed, putting large amounts of Carbon Dioxide into the Air. Carbon Dioxide acts like a blanket and traps heat received from the sun thus slowly warming the planet. Along with Carbon Dioxide the amount of methane in the atmosphere is increasing significantly and methane traps heat far better the carbon dioxide.
Now you may say wait Jason, you just said global warming was caused by man and their Carbon Dioxide emissions while making a sweet new iPhone, where does Methane come into play?
Methane is naturally locked into frozen ground, and frozen into ice along the see floor. As global temperatures rise it causes the permafrost to thaw releasing large amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere, and as the Earth warms so do the ocean temperatures, which melts the Methane Ice on the sea floor and it too gets released into the atmosphere. If you ever see news articles about giant holes being found in Siberia, it was from the ground thawing and releasing Methane into the atmosphere.
There are many Side effects of Global warming, besides it just being an early spring and nice summer or my dogs just shedding year-round. Glaciers are melting at a record pace, this causes a loss in year-round water supplied by the mountains to the grounds below with no new ice being created for future water needs. Sea levels are rising, you know that house you bought along the beach, it may be closer to the water a few years down the road. Sea ice is melting earlier every year and contributes to changes in plants and animal’s habitats diversifying where certain plants and animals are now found and where they use to be. This can disrupt the ecosystems; some fishing grounds and habitats have been devastated by these changes affecting how hard it is for the fishing industry to find fish. Another example is the Lone Start Tick, it used to be just found in the South Eastern Corner of the United States, Thanks to warming and mild winters that would normally have killed off these ticks, they are now able to spread farther and faster, they have been reported as far north as Maine and are spreading westward too. What’s wrong with that, its just a tick? Well this tick, when it bites you, the human body has a reaction with its saliva that now makes anyone being bit, allergic to red meat, what a way to ruin your now longer summer BBQ’s. In 1994 there where only 10 confirmed cases of this and it has skyrocketed to 2,370 cases in 2017.
While Climate change isn’t an exact science and there are so many factors that play into possible outcomes, like reflection of sunlight back into space caused by white surfaces like clouds and snow cover. How much CO2 is being ingested by plant life globally? How many forests are being cut down or burned releasing Carbon Dioxide back into the atmosphere? Increases in forest fires in the US and Canada releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. Mount Etna and other active volcanoes releasing huge amounts of gasses, man made emissions from factories, power plants, planes trains and automobiles. Climate scientists are doing their best to try to predict the outcomes of global warming but there is a very large amount of data to be tracked and considered, and maybe even unknown variables yet, like the Atlantic Ocean Current. It takes warm water from the equator north to the Arctic, the water cools and sinks and heads south. The conveyer of water helps regulate global temperature and it has slowed to a 1,000 year low, caused by melting ice pouring fresh water into the oceans and changing the salinity of the ocean, which affects the current. If you’ve seen the movie The Day After Tomorrow (2004), this was the premise for the start of the next Ice Age, there is evidence that that current stopped during the last Ice Age in Earth’s history, and that may be starting now.
There are many things you can do to help combat global warming. Use renewable energy for your house, Solar Power, Geo-thermal, choosing utility companies that uses wind energy if possible. Weatherize your home, as heating and Air-conditioning can be half of a house’s energy use. Using energy efficient appliances in the house, reducing water consumption means less water that energy is used on to treat, pump, and heat your water. Eat the food you buy as 40% of food on average ends up in landfills. Use LED Lightbulbs, unplugging electronics when they are off and not needed, drive fuel efficient vehicle, when possibly take the train instead of driving or flying.
While I still may not have some of you convinced that Global Warming is a man-made event, it is important to point out that The Earth has gone through major cooling and heating cycles in the past, before man. That may be the basis some people think Global Warming being caused by man is a hoax. When you look at the numbers though, yes the Earth has gotten hot and cooled on its own in the past, but the Earth has not heated this quickly before mankind. Heating of the Earth has greatly accelerated since the Industrial Revolution, and nature may not be able to adjust fast enough to the rapid change. We need to act now before we reach a tipping point of no return and invest in future technologies that may be able to clean Carbon out of the air and reduce our Carbon foot print. In the long run we may be able to slow down global warming, and if I’m wrong, at least those who have invested in renewable energy sources will have lower utiity bills, and the environment will be a little cleaner.