If you read the newspaper, watch television, or surf the Internet, in one way or another you are aware of this global problem. But the question is, do we have concern? Do we care enough to save our environment from degradation? Saving our environment means saving Mother Earth and to do that we must change our own lives.
Can you feel the heat? It’s because our world is getting hotter. Wherever on the globe you may be, most likely you are experiencing changes in climate. These radical climatic changes are undeniably a world problem facing us today.
Global warming is an increase in the Earth’s average temperature. Natural emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide go into the atmosphere and trap the heat of the earth’s surface. Increases in concentrations of greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming. Why is there an increase in these substances? Scientists generally maintain that since the beginning of the industrial revolution, human activity is responsible, or irresponsible, as the case may be, for much of the climatic change. Aside from atmospheric concentrations of natural greenhouse gases, there are also human made, unnatural greenhouse gases like the by-products of foam production, refrigeration and air conditioning.
Global warming means a change in atmosphere and that means a change in climate. Changing climate produces extreme weather such as severe drought, flooding, windstorms, thunderstorms, tornadoes, landslides and all the natural calamities you can think of.
You can see the effects of global warming starting with a melting glacier. Higher sea levels are caused by thermal expansion of ocean water as a result of the melting glaciers, and land loss produced by the risen sea levels makes global crop and food production decrease. Enormous species extinction is also expected because some types of forests will be forced to ‘migrate’ up the mountains, to cooler regions. And the rapid climate change will be too fast for many ecosystems to adapt. Human health is also in risk. Malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever have increased. The slogan goes, “Warning: cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health,” but the new advertisement is, “Warning: Climate change is hazardous to your health”.
If you read the newspaper, watch television, or surf the Internet, in one way or another you are aware of this global problem. But the question is, do we have concern? Do we care enough to save our environment from degradation? Saving our environment means saving Mother Earth and to do that we must change our own lives. Humans, through our activities, are basically the enemies of our own environment. Our excess energy consumption has, to a great extent, contributed to the increase of greenhouse gases- the energy industry being the number one culprit, followed by industrial sector, then the transportation, agriculture and forestry industries. And nation blaming nation is not going to solve the problem. Rather we should take responsibility for the problem with an understanding that solutions are possible. Each of us can help by participation and cooperation with the programs and policies that our own states or government have implemented, and by joining environmental groups who aim to reduce greenhouse gases emissions.
In our own lives we make simple things complicated because of modernization. Actually, so-called “progress” is a detriment only when we consume more than we need. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The world has enough for human needs, but not enough for human’s greed.” Global warming is a sign of our greed, so we must learn distinguish between our needs and our wants.
Cutting energy consumption is the easiest and simplest way to help bring to an end human induced climate change. Energy conservation for some of us will be difficult, because it means giving up some of the luxuries we take for granted. Some simple things we can do on an individual level to reduce the greenhouse effect are:
- Turn off lights when not in use
- Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth
- Turn off appliances when not in use
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
- Buy energy efficient appliances and lights
- Walk, bike, or take public transportation instead of using a car or, if you absolutely need to purchase a car, buy one that is energy efficient
- Buy locally grown food to reduce the fossil fuel used by transport
- Eat less meat, or better yet, no meat, because the raising of millions of animals for slaughter contributes to the greenhouse effect
Mother Nature provides us with many kinds of alternative, renewable energy sources, such as solar power, wind power, and hydro electricity. China and India have been using these methods and they are now gaining popularity in other countries.
As my environmentalist friend sings, “…we can’t keep doing that, nature’s gonna pay as back, we can’t keep doing that, nature’s gonna pay us back…” He is saying that the harm we are causing to our Mother Earth now, will come back on us later. Global warming is a global warning to us all. We cannot continue doing things unnecessarily for our so-called industrial progress and economic development. Mother Earth is teaching us lessons through climatic changes. She is suffering and her suffering is also our suffering. It’s time for us to take action and take initiative if we are to survive and care enough to give our offspring and ourselves a better and healthier future.
Mother Nature provides us with many kinds of alternative, renewable energy sources, such as solar power, wind power, and hydro electricity.