Earth is at critical crossroads. While revolutionary advances in Science and Technology have lifted humanity to new heights of prosperity and longevity in many parts of the world, hundreds of millions of people are vulnerable to the impacts of hazards and natural disasters, extreme poverty, infectious disease and a host of the challenges. at the same time, human activity, especially in the last 100 years, is threatening the health of the environment and potentially posing risks of unprecedented magnitude to our shared future. This threat, of which is highly agreeable, is none other than global warming and climate change.
Let us take time enumerating those things we do that terribly hurt Mother Earth. First is burning. Carbon Dioxide is produced when coal, oil and natural gas or fossil fuels are burned to produce energy used for transportation, manufacturing, heating, cooling, electricity generation and other applications. The use of fossil fuel currently accounts for 50 to 85% of the Carbon Dioxide being added to the atmosphere. Methane, on the other hand, is the second most important of the greenhouse gases resulting from human activities. It is produced by rice cultivation, cattle, and sheep ranching and by decaying material in landfills. Methane is also emitted during coal mining and oil drilling and leaky gas pipelines. Human activities have increased the concentration of Methane in the atmosphere by about 145% above what would be present naturally. Another thing with regard to this issue is the Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which have been used in refrigeration, air conditioning and as solvents. However, the production of these gases is being eliminated under existing international agreement because they deplete the stratospheric ozone layer. Other fluorocarbons that are also greenhouse gases are being used as substitutes for CFCs in some applications. For example in refrigerator and air conditioning. Although currently very small, their contribution to climate change are expected to rise. Other hazardous human activities are of course, with no doubt, are the continuous cutting of trees and smoking. We all know that plants, like trees, take out Oxygen and take in Carbon Dioxide for their food-making process. Due to deforestation, large amount of carbon Dioxide stays on our planet and obviously contributes to global warming. Smoking, on the other side, not only brings perils to our health but more on our beloved Earth. It has the ability to destroy our lungs and the atmosphere, at the same time. Even if it emits little amount of hazardous gases, if the population of the people who smoke will continue to rise, surely, the effects would be much worse than ever. Being simply said, the number of smokers is directly proportional to the amount of gases that destroys the atmosphere.
Gifted with the highest level of intellect, I strongly believe that we can effectively fight global warming. We just need to know some simple facts about it. First, we have to be aware of the scientific consensus that global warming is real, is caused by human activities and presents serious challenges. Scientists working on this issue reported that the observed global warming cannot be explained by natural variations such as changes in the Sun’s output or volcanic eruptions. The most authoritative source of information is the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which draws upon the collective wisdom of hundreds of scientists from around the world. Second, we have to be quite alarmed that the Earth’s average temperature has risen about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past 100 years and is projected to rise another 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 100 years. While Earth’s climate has changed naturally throughout time, the current rate of change due to human activity is unprecedented during at least the last 10000 years. The projected range of temperature rise is wide because it includes a variety of possible future conditions, such as whether or not we control greenhouse gas emission and different ways the climate system might respond. Third and lastly, we have to know and understand that global warming will have significant impacts on people and nature. As temperature continue to rise, precipitation is projected to give more frequently in the form of heavy downpours. We can probably expect more extreme wet and dry conditions. Coastal areas will become more vulnerable to storm surges as sea level rises. Plant and animal species will migrate or disappear in response to changes in climate. While global warming will have impacts on natural and human systems all around the world, the largest impacts will be on many natural ecosystems and on people who lived in developing countries and have few resources and little ability to adapt. All of these things, obviously, are the things we need to know in order for us to finally have the initiative to take actions as soon as possible.
We, as God’s creations that serve as His instrument to take care of this world, can truly minimize our personal impacts on Earth. Yes we can…First, let us reduce, reuse and recycle. Let us do our part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense)will help reduce waste. And whenever we can, we should recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. By recycling half of our household waste, we can save 2,400 pounds of Carbon Dioxide annually. Next, let us save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights, and appliances when not in use. It is also a good idea to turn off water while brushing teeth, shampooing the dog or washing a car until we actually need it for rinsing. By this, we shall reduce our water bill and help to conserve a vital resource. Afterwards, let us buy energy-efficient products. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models, and compact fluorescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less energy than standard light bulbs. Let us avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic and other packaging that cannot be recycled. If we reduce our household garbage by 10 percent, we can save 1,200 pounds of Carbon Dioxide annually. Then, if we have free time and means to plant tree, let us start digging. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of Carbon Dioxide during its lifetime. Finally, let us encourage others to conserve by sharing information about recycling and energy conservation with our friends, neighbors and relatives, and take the opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment. Following these steps will take us a long way toward reducing our energy use and our monthly budget. Of course, less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.
Global warming is a huge environmental and economic challenge that we are facing in the 21st century. However, it occurs so gradually. Because of that, we still have much time to remedy the situation before any disasters take place. Let us use this time wisely. Come on and let us hold hands for the betterment of the next generations to come. Best of luck to all of us!