What is Global Warming?
The Earth as an ecosystem is changing, attributable in great part to the effects of globalization and man. More carbon dioxide is now in the atmosphere than has been in the past 650,000 years. This carbon stays in the atmosphere, acts like a warm blanket, and holds in the heat — hence the name ‘global warming.’
The reason we exist on this planet is because the earth naturally traps just enough heat in the atmosphere to keep the temperature within a very narrow range - this creates the conditions that give us breathable air, clean water, and the weather we depend on to survive. Human beings have begun to tip that balance. We've overloaded the atmosphere with heat-trapping gasses from our cars and factories and power plants. If we don't start fixing the problem now, we’re in for devastating changes to our environment. We will experience extreme temperatures, rises in sea levels, and storms of unimaginable destructive fury. Recently, alarming events that are consistent with scientific predictions about the effects of climate change have become more and more commonplace.
The massive ice sheets in the Arctic are melting at alarming rates. This is causing the oceans to rise. That’s how big these ice sheets are! Most of the world’s population lives on or near the coasts. Rising ocean levels, an estimated six feet over the next 100 years or sooner, will cause massive devastation and economic catastrophe to population centers worldwide.
The United States, with only four percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 22% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A rapid transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources will combat global warming, protect human health, create new jobs, protect habitat and wildlife, and ensure a secure, affordable energy future.
Malaria. Dengue Fever. Encephalitis. These names are not usually heard in emergency rooms and doctors’s offices in the United States. But if we don’st act to curb global warming, they will be. As temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents spread, infecting people in their wake. Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have linked recent U.S. outbreaks of dengue (‘breakbone’s) fever, malaria, hantavirus and other diseases directly to climate change.
Super powerful hurricanes, fueled by warmer ocean temperatures are the “smoking gun” of global warming. Since 1970, the number of category 4 and 5 events has jumped sharply. Hurricane Katrina, in September 2005 almost became a category 6 event. Human activities are adding an alarming amount of pollution to the earth’s atmosphere causing catastrophic shifts in weather patterns. These shifts are causing severe heat, floods and worse.
Five Things We Can All Do
- Join StopGlobalWarming.org. Together our voices will be heard!
- Spread the world, share the learning. Send this link to family, friends, and colleagues. Share why this is so important.
- Change begins at home. (See the list home-related Action Items)
- Put the heat on your elected officials.
- The power of the pocketbook.