Is global warming a real problem in today’s world? This is a question that we need to ask ourselves more often because a large degree of the population does not understand that earth is gradually transforming into a planet that could become inhabitable if the rate of pollution and its effects continue at this pace. However, it is important to understand that there are solutions to the negative effects of global warming. Putting a stop to deforestation would allow forests to continue supplying us with oxygen which can contribute in maintaining a healthy and breathable atmosphere for generations to come. Reducing the number of cars on the street in order to avoid emission of harmful gasses could successfully lessen their environment threatening influence. Providing people with correct information and increasing awareness about global warming can also help us to regain control of our planet’s well being. Perhaps, the greatest hopes we have are renewable resources such as wind and solar energy, or hydrogen produced from bio-fuels, and nuclear power decreasing the depletion of important finite resources.
II. Define Problem
Global Warming is defined as a general increase in earth’s temperature. The reason why this increase in temperature is an issue is because it causes the glaciers to melt in the arctic. The water levels from the melting glaciers rise posing a threat of global flooding as well as a universal rise in extreme temperatures. The most dominant cause behind global warming is pollution by humans, and more specifically the emission of greenhouse gases such as chlorofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide. These gases are emitted especially from car fumes, thus an increase in traffic is considered to be extremely dangerous for our planet. Other than the usage of cars, aerosol sprays such as spray paints also contain chlorofluorocarbons, which damage our surrounding environment. Deforestation and burning of fossil fuels is the reason why the greenhouse effect is strengthened itself enough to send harmful radiation onwards the core of the earth. This heats the core of the planet causing global warming. Most of the issues in terms of global warming have started to occur after the rise of the Industrial Revolution, because there was a boost in the use of industrial machinery, thus an increase in smoke, and usage of coal and oil.
Recent studies show that polar bears are perhaps the most effected animals due to the rise of temperature cause by global warming. The rising sea levels are decreasing the number of ice chunks in the arctic which makes it very difficult for the polar bears to hunt. These particular bears depend on seals in terms of their diet, and hunt for them when they come to the surface to breath. Since there is less ice for the polar bears to live on, they have to swim an increased mile to hunt, which uses up most of their energy even if they don’t catch a prey by the end of the day.
The average surface temperature of the planet has raised about 2.0 degrees, greenhouse gases being the largest contributor of this change. According to climate change reports, 2016 was the warmest year up till now with more than 8 months of general summer throughout. Since 1969, the oceans have warmed up to 0.302 degrees by absorbing heat directly from the surface. The ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland have shrunk up to 152 cubic kilometers, which has paved way for an enormous quantity of melt water. Snow caps and snow covers are disappearing from the mountains such as the Alps and the Himalayas. The global sea level raised almost double the amount since the last century, which creates an imminent flooding threat for the entire population of the world. There is a general decrease in low temperature events, which means that high temperature events are becoming more common. This also accounts for the unexpected increase in rainfalls since the 1950s.
The flora and fauna are also severely affected by global warming as it interferes in the workings of the eco system. A sea level rise of just 50 cm could destroy hatching grounds for sea turtles. All of this is even more problematic for species that migrate. Research highlights that due to the effects of global warming, growth of the plants in the future will be stunted. Scientists fear extinction of a number of species because they would not be able to cope with the change in the climate, or the effects of deforestation, pandas being one of the examples. For humans, breathing and other respiratory problems are common due to the polluted air. Heat strokes and increase in skin diseases due to extreme sunlight is also prevalent.
The question remains on how did human civilization actually manage to create a phenomenon such as global warming, and the answer lies in the human activity of the mid twentieth century where industrial and technological advances took over allowing humans to abuse natural resources such as wood and coal for the sake of profiteering and market development.
III. Solution #1 – Reducing Deforestation
Deforestation is a major cause for global warming, thus reducing the eradication of forests can be one of the top solutions for lessening the harmful effects of greenhouse gases. The best way to do this is to employ a set of laws or rules against the cutting of trees for industrial purposes. Wood from these trees is one of the most highly south after resources for top industries, such as paper and furniture markets.
Clear cutting of any forest should be completely banned because it takes an extremely long time for forests to become what they are. Practical solutions or strategies to cut trees should be developed in order to save a number of trees being chopped down at once. It should be noted that it is impossible to stop cutting trees altogether because we depend on wood for a number of essential commodities. However, it can certainly be slowed down or made more efficient in an environment friendly manner.
There are many lands that are cleared of trees in order to form urban settlements. These particular settlements should be made aware of the negative impacts of deforestation as well as urged to plant more trees in that same area. Every time any new sets of trees are cut, planting new ones in their places should be made a priority.
By planting more trees and protecting existing forests, the oxygen levels of our atmosphere are being conserved. If the air we breathe has more carbon content, it can lead to a number of respiratory problems for the population. Dense rainforests protect wildlife and can save certain animal species from going extinct. However, the number of new trees planted never matches the number of trees that are being cut, even though new trees and saplings are being planted under several global initiatives every year.
Solution #2 Reducing Emissions
Heat trapping emissions must be significantly reduced in order to address the issue of global warming. The greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere have very harmful effects in terms of radiation and temperature rise. In today’s modern time, we have enough resources and technology to develop practical and effective solutions in order to curb the emission of harmful greenhouse gases.
On an individual level we can contribute by using less of our emission producing cars and choose to do a few errands on foot, public transport, carpooling, or by bicycle. This way there is a chance of less cars being used. Other than this, items such as body sprays and spray paint cans also include chlorofluorocarbons, so switching to alternates of these products can contribute as well. We can also invest our time into gardening and planting new trees, so that every neighborhood has a good circulation of oxygen.
On a global basis, climate solutions such as increasing the use of renewable energy so that more resources are invested in creating clean energy. This way the earth’s finite resources that are being depleted can be sustained for the future. Countries and states need to put proper laws and bans on the carbon or other pollutants they are allowed to put into the atmosphere.
However, it is difficult to create the same quantities of renewable energy compared to actual energy created from fossil fuels. This problem can be overcome by either reducing energy consumption altogether or allocate more resources towards building new renewable energy generators in different parts of the world. Both of these solutions are neither quick nor easy. It would take a long time and a lot of financial investment to set these plans into motion.
Solution #3 Correcting Misinformation
Spreading awareness in people about important issues such as Global Warming plays an integral role because it allows the people to work towards a united goal rather than have confusions about what’s best for the planet that we all live on. There is a possibility that a certain degree of people do not know what global warming and its negative implications are doing to our planet.
The greenhouse effect for example is a misinformed analogy, because harmful gases such as methane and chlorofluorocarbons do not work in the same way as a proper gardening greenhouse does. Schools and other institutions should hold frequent seminars or activities that can spread awareness in order to reduce the effects of global warming. Major topics to be discussed could be how to minimize deforestation and preserve energy. A number of households have novelty lightings, which in reality are not there for a purpose other than decoration, thus things like these can be cut back on in order to sustain energy. Sustaining energy is very important because it reduces our dependence on fossil fuels that are depleting as we speak. If we lower the consumption of energy in our general daily life tasks, then the energy sector would not be under as much pressure to produce more.
The film and television industry should contribute towards creating shows or movies addressing the imminent threat of core temperatures rising, flooding, animal species extinction etc. It is true that a lot of people consider climate change threats as nothing more than propaganda by the government in order to distill fear into the people. Many anarchists believe that global warming is a hoax created by the leaders of the world to mold the population in a certain way, so that they are easier to control. This is where awareness with proper supporting evidence is needed the most.
IV. Recommended Course of Action – Renewable Energy Investment
Renewable Energy is the type of energy that is created via sunlight, wind, rain, and waves. The reason why this type of energy is considered to be renewable is because it is naturally replenished overtime, making it an infinite resource. Fossil fuels on the other hand are finite resources because they are not being replenished. Hydro Electric Power (HEP) is one of the best ways of generating electricity through fast flowing rivers. It is a way of storing energy and converting it to electricity depending on the usage. Tidal waves in the ocean can also generate energy because one wave is powerful enough to turn a small turbine. If small turbines are assembles on the sea level, small amounts of energy can be stored into the turbines through each wave. Another important aspect of renewable energy is geothermal energy as water can be pumped towards the hot core of the earth so that it can be naturally converted into steam. Solar panels on the other hand utilize the radiation that is given off by the sun, once the panel has been installed, warm water doesn’t remain an issue. Replacing fossil fuel with bio fuel can save a lot of finite resources and consume waste from wheat and sugar.
However, hydroelectric dams and tidal barrages are very expensive to build, and a single dam or barrage does not make a significant difference because the amount of energy produced through this natural way is very less. There is also a threat of flooding the area where the dam is built or drying up the one from where the water actually originates. As for geothermal energy, there aren’t many accessible places for humans to actually pump the water towards the warm core. Bio fuels require farmers to extensively grow wheat and sugar, which can destroy land and habitat. On the other hand when the waste from these bio fuels is burnt, the carbon actually goes back into the environment.
There is no doubt in the fact that global warming is a very real issue, as we can see the changes in our own environment quiet clearly. If human activities continue this way, the next few decades will be worse. It is important to consider that the decisions we make right now will affect our future generations more than they will affect us. Climate change is not as rapid as we would like it to be, even if we start implementing all possible solutions today, it will take a number of years to stabilize the earth.
It is imperative that we as individuals start accepting the responsibility that we have in terms of protecting our environment. The state should dedicate maximum resources towards renewable energy so that fossil fuels should be sustained for the generation to come.