Global warming is never a light topic. It is a disorder that is happening in our planet. It could affect all of us and can blow the entire planet. What is global warming anyway? How can it possibly affect our future and our entire planet? What can we do to eliminate or at least diminish its occurrence? Let me explain the global warming phenomenon the easiest way I can by using cooking as an illustration. Imagine that fire in the burner being the sun, the pan being the ozone layer, and a piece of meat being the planet Earth. While the fire continues to immensely glow, the meat on the pan also starts to cook because it is being heated by the fire underneath the pan. Sans the pan, the meat would surely burn in just a few seconds. The role of the ozone layer is very much similar to the pan as it protects the full force of the sun’s heat from entering into planet Earth; otherwise, we would have been burned millennia ago. Unfortunately, mankind’s selfishness and other natural activities cause the constant depletion of the ozone layer and its hole is even apparent in Antarctica. Because of such phenomenon, global warming, the increase of Earth’s temperature, has occurred.
Who’s to Blame?
Basically, global warming is caused by two events: man-made pollution and pollution caused by nature. Let’s segregate. You probably know what man-made pollution is. This is the very pollution when factories and manufacturing companies release greenhouse gases during the creation of their products, particularly plastics. Now, we should not blame it on the business tycoons alone. If you have ever tossed your plastic water bottle or household garbage into a river or lake, then you could have contributed man-made pollution. If you have been a supporter for illegal logging and illegal fishing with the use of dynamites that damage even the fishes’ habitats underwater, then you are supporting man-made pollution. If you use your car even when running errands to a nearby store that’s only two blocks away, then you are contributing to the amount of greenhouse gases that’s already in the environment. On the one hand, these greenhouse gases are also needed to keep the Earth warm, especially during the cold season. The main greenhouse gases include water vapor; carbon dioxide; methane; and ozone itself. Of the mentioned gases, water vapor comprises the biggest percentage of up to 36-70% while ozone activity is the lowest comprising 3% only in the pie. However, the increase of industrial and technological activities has apparently amplified the presence of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, causing the depletion of the ozone layer and, thus, the gradual rise of Earth’s temperature.
What to Expect?
One of the many horrible effects of global warming is the fact that some countries would slowly submerge into the sea if the gradual heat-up continues. For one, our planet is composed of ¾ water and ¼ land. The composition alone tells us that if water continues to uncontrollably rise, we could all be like Titanic. The depletion of the ozone layer has caused the gradual melting of the polar ice caps in the Greenland. Because of the hotter temperature, glaciers and ice sheets are melting, which affect the rising sea levels in the world. Read this: the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society that the rise of sea levels has doubled since 1950. It has reached to an increase of 3 millimeters per year from 1993-2010. Such increase could trigger another Sandy-like flooding in Manhattan once in every decade and the some parts of New Jersey and coastal Connecticut may also be affected.
Heat waves are another apparent effect of global warming. Ever dreamt of locking yourself inside a freezer because of too much heat? If you did, you’re not alone. Australia has experienced one of the hottest summers in its territory during the summer months of 2012-2013 since its last heat wave phenomenon in 1910. Scientists predict that if depletion of ozone layer continues, heat waves will continue to come until 2040. During the said duration, records of forest fires and heat strokes were experienced. Britain also experienced heat waves in 2013 as its temperature has risen to 32.2C from its usual 27C. A number of seniors were hospitalized due to heat stroke when heat wave hit Philippines last 2012.
The rise of the ocean and atmospheric temperature has direct correlation with the strength and intensity of hurricanes and storms that the planet has experienced for the last few years. In 2005, records of flooding and storms worldwide have increased and in 2007, the worst flooding experience hit Britain. Recently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency predicted that the US would experience an increase of at least 45% in flooding by 2100 if global warming continues.
Drought is another horrible effect of global warming. Countries like India, Pakistan, and some parts in Africa have experienced severe drought conditions for the past few years while some countries have experienced severe flooding and storms. Too much heat that causes drought can drastically decrease water supply, which could lead to starvation and lack of enough nourishment for the body. This also means that agricultural output will lessen and that water shortage may mean disputes and arguments for survival.
If you think that we, humans, are the only ones suffering from global warming; you’re wrong. Loss of biodiversity may develop as species tend to kill those that are not supposed to be included in their list of sources of food. For one, the rising record of polar bears killing their own cubs and females have been studied to be related to global warming as their natural habitat, which are glaciers and polar ice sheets, have been slowly diminished. Because of this, they have hard time finding food like penguins since the latter have also migrated to other areas due to loss of natural habitat. Aside from these, forest fires, deforestation, and ocean warming have caused the natural habitats of millions of land and underwater species, linking to loss of biodiversity.
How to Stop Global Warming?
You don’t need to a scientist to help stop global or at least reduce its effects. We can do a lot of thing and make simpler ways to help. At home, in school, or in the office, choose lighting fixtures, appliances, and gadgets that are eco-friendly. Eco-friendly stuffs mean that they don’t consume too much energy and generate too much heat. Examples would be the use of LED lights or CFLs. These light bulbs emit less energy without sacrificing the quality of light that they product. They don’t also emit too much heat, long lasting, and help conserve energy as well. For those who are planning to invest on vehicles, opt for hybrid cars as they don’t emit too much exhaust and don’t use fossil fuels to move or you could try to buy a green bike. Bicycles are great when you run for light errands at a nearby shop. You get to exercise plus you also get to minimize the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the air. Turn OFF all appliances, lighting fixtures, and gadgets that aren’t used at home, in school, or in the office. You can save both electricity and money by doing these. Finally, the ever renowned Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle methods are always applicable in all areas of our lives and in anywhere we go and settle. Learning more about how you can stop global warming can also be achieved by getting memberships from green groups and organizations and researching online as well.
Let us help one another in making this planet a better place to live in.