Earth Day is a day to celebrate our Mother the Earth, this planet of ours that is unique certainly in our solar system and probably rare in our galaxy and universe, in that it can sustain life. It is a day to say a special thank you to Nature by doing something nice for her. Many groups and individuals take this day to plant trees, do pollution clean up, etc.
WHAT IS GLOBAL WARMING?
We are destroying the planet. Each and every one of us is responsible for our actions and behaviors that have led to pollution, global warming and destruction of nature. Carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet habitable. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and temperatures are rising. The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real, it’s already happening and that it is the result of our activities and not a natural occurrence. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. We’re already seeing changes. Glaciers are melting, plants and animals are being forced from their habitat, and the number of severe storms and droughts is increasing. The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade. At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles. Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide. The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050. More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.
WHAT CAN I DO?
While we could never stop the natural cycles of warming and cooling in the climate happening we can reduce our own personal contribution There are many things that you as an individual can do. These include: Be energy efficient in your choices. There are many energy efficient alternatives to every day items, whether it be a compact fluorescent light bulb, a more effective refrigerator, or a hybrid car the smallest change will have a big impact on climate change. Use renewable sources of energy and make your home more energy efficient. There are often tax incentives and long term savings to be made by switching to renewable sources of energy. If you are in the US you can visit http://www.dsireusa.org to see the various grants and incentives available in your state. Educate yourself and others. There are a whole host of websites with information on climate change. The more you know the bigger, more effective difference you can make in your community.