Global Warming: How is it affecting our earth?by Brooke B.
*Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns. Human activities are the main drive of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels.*
Global warming affects every single person on earth, and it’s progressively getting worse each day. As the youth and future generations, it is our job to reverse the actions made from the past. The first step to making a change is understanding what is happening to our earth scientifically. And, despite the massive amounts of evidence, people still don’t believe their actions are slowly destroying our home. Therefore, I have some examples of how global warming is affecting our earth progressively.
The global temperature has risen 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century, and the ocean is absorbing the increasing heat onto the top 100 meters of its surface. The heat in the ocean has gone up 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
The shrinking ice sheets have been losing 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 to 2019. The glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world, for example, the Alps. Satellite observations reveal that the amount of snow cover has decreased rapidly. The global sea level has risen about 8 inches in the past century. Both the extent and thickness of arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades.
There are many more examples of how climate change is affecting the world today, but then this article would be full of depressing effects and not how we can reverse them.
But, first, we have to be educated about what is happening. The greenhouse effect is the main reason why the earth is warming day by day. This is shown in the picture above. The greenhouse effect consists of when the light from the sun reaches the earth, some energy is reflected back into space and some is absorbed and re-radiated as heat. Most of this heat is absorbed by greenhouse gasses and then radiated in all directions, warming the earth.
The five main greenhouse gasses that contribute to the greenhouse effect are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas out of all five gasses, and increases as the earth’s atmosphere warms. Carbon dioxide, which is a big part of the earth’s atmosphere, releases naturally through respiration (humans breathing out carbon dioxide) and volcanic eruptions. Non natural releases of carbon dioxide are mainly through human activities including deforestation, land use changes, and burning fossil fuels. Humans have increased the carbon levels in the air by 48% since the Industrial Revolution began (the Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States in the period from 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840).
Note: 1760 was the year the Industrial Revolution began.
The third gas is methane, which is one of the more active greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. It’s a hydrocarbon gas (molecules of carbon and hydrogen in various combinations) produced both through natural processes and human activities through waste in landfills, agriculture (especially rice cultivation), ruminant digestion and manure management associated with domestic livestock. Fourth is nitrous oxide; a powerful greenhouse gas produced by soil cultivation practices (commercial and organic fertilizers), fossil fuel combustion, nitric acid production, and biomass burning. And lastly, chlorofluorocarbons (also known as CFCs). CFCs is a gas made of synthetic compounds entirely of industrial origin, mostly regulated in production and released to the atmosphere. CFCs contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer, which protects humans from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. Because of this, CFCs are also considered a greenhouse gas.
Although it may be difficult to stop all of these greenhouse gasses going into our atmosphere, we can, as a school, do the little things that can help our environment and community get cleaner and better for students and teachers together.
Biking or walking to closer places around your home instead of driving.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (we’ve all heard this phrase before, let’s put it into action).
Educate yourself on the issue (educating more people at Julius West on how we can help our planet).
Volunteer for cleanups in our community, get involved!
Conserve water; the less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that will eventually end up in the ocean.
Learn how to choose sustainable seafood choices.
Shop wisely, buy less plastic and bring a reusable shopping bag.
Plant a tree! They help save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change.
Don’t send chemicals into our waterways.
Energy efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This may seem like a lot, but if we work together as a school and community, we can achieve a clean and sustainable environment in Julius West and eventually, Montgomery County.