In the midst of the political and economical issues the world is facing, very few are giving attention to the more serious matter concerning mankind. Some may notice the baking hot weather they are experiencing than the usual while some dry and hot areas in the world may go through more days and nights of chilly weather. This is all because of climate change and Earth is getting an unpredictable place to live in. Worst is the thought that someone or something out there has a plot of devastation against the human race including the animals and other organisms on the planet.
In an article for the National Geographic News, it was stated that there is little uncertainty that the planet is warming. Over the last century, the average temperature has climbed about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 of a degree Celsius) around the world, and that European plants now flower a week earlier than they did in the 1950s and also lose their leaves 5 days later. Space probes to the planet Venus show the worst possible scenario that could happen to Earth if the carbon dioxide concentration of our atmosphere continuously increases.
Venus’s atmosphere is 98 percent carbon dioxide and its resulting temperature is 477 Celsius (nearly 900 Fahrenheit), hot enough to melt lead. Though there is no danger of the earth’s atmosphere ever approaching that of Venus, if the trend of carbon dioxide absorption persists, there is no doubt that it will, sooner or later, lead to major warming (Nebel pp.38-382).
Different studies and views have been made regarding Global Warming but still, scientists and scholars alike cannot form a consensus as to what is the real cause of the climatic changes that people are experiencing. Hence, the question remains, do humans contribute greatly to this dreaded global warming?
Global Warming and the Humans
Hundreds of years ago, emitting carbon dioxide into the air was not a problem because there were more than enough trees and vegetation that recycled the emitted carbon dioxide into useful gases like oxygen. However, in the past few decades, expansion of industry and technology has caused a great increase in carbon emissions caused by factories, cars, consumption of fossil fuels among others while the number of forests, which is supposed to filter the carbon dioxide emissions, has continued to decrease over time. Because of this, excess carbon dioxide continues to accumulate in the atmosphere.
The continuous burning of oil, coal and natural gas can produce a steadily increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Like water vapor, carbon dioxide and certain other gases absorb and hold heat in a sort of blanket around the world (The Green House Effect 154). This phenomenon has been characterized as the carbon dioxide effect, also commonly called the greenhouse effect because it is analogous to the solar heating that occurs in a greenhouse, or in a car when it is left parked in the sun (Nebel 381).
Various forecasting has been made as a result of the Green House effect and an increase in carbon dioxide only means a rise in temperature of the biosphere as a whole. Melting of the polar ice caps and subsequent worldwide tropical climate would be the most important effects in the rise of temperature. It was also estimated that if all of the Antarctic ice should melt, the sea level would rise 400 feet and this could happen within a short time as 400 years (Odum 33).
Also, the rising sea level would cause massive flooding of all coastal and low-lying regions and unprecedented heat waves causing massive die-offs or at least reproductive failure of many species including humans. This degree of warming is not likely to produce the catastrophes noted, however, the effects may still be severe. There are some regions in the globe that are likely to see an “increase in rainfall other areas, a decrease” (Nebel 383).
Perhaps, others might be asking if why the so-called greenhouse effect is not yet evident despite numerous reports of its occurrence. But contrary to that notion, several incidents already took place, which some consider as a warning sign. The 1999-2002 national drought was one of the three most extensive droughts in the last 40 years; In 2002, the Western United States experienced its second-worst wildfire season in the last 50 years; The current pace of sea-level rise is “three times the historical rate and appears to be accelerating and over the past 25 years, some penguin populations have shrunk by 33% in parts of Antarctica, due to declines in winter sea-ice habitat” (Consequences of Global Warming).
Now, it is clear, we, humans, are the great contributors to why global warming is happening. We are the ones who continuously destroy our environment. We are the ones who are so hungry for development that we forget to take care of our natural resources. we are the ones who, despite the numbers of advertorials and campaigns initiated regarding the environment, keep on trying to move forward and neglect the environment which should have been one of our primary concerns.
We are being nurtured by our natural resources. We lived and borne by it. But records will prove that we are destroying the very source of our life. With the possible aftermaths of extreme carbon dioxide emissions stated above, it is then imperative that policymakers and environmental groups, and every citizen for that matter, continue to find ways on how to help prevent any more damage caused by such gas emissions.
The most practical and probably the most effective approach is by focusing on aspects like agriculture, fisheries, and/or marines. There are lots of initiatives to help uplift the environment by planting more trees, taking care of the water resources and the life underneath them. More so, the environmental groups and the society as a whole should try to monitor the transportation and waste system of the country making sure that no or minimal pollutants are given out to the environment.
Indeed, the role of the government sectors, the environmentalist groups, and every concerned citizen will be detrimental in maintaining a balanced carbon dioxide emission and filtering. Needless to say, immediate and strategic actions should be initiated now before it becomes too late.
“Climate Change and Our Health” Climate Change. Canada. 2007. Web.
“Consequences of Global Warming.” Natural Resources Defense Council. New York. 2007. Web.
“Global Warming: Early Warning Signs.” Climate Hot Map. Cambridge. MA 2006. Web.
Guterl, Fred. “The Truth About Global Warming”. 2001: 38-43.
Handwerk, Brian. “Global Warming Fast Facts”. National geographic Society. Washington, DC. 2006. Web.
Harris, Richard. “Three Views on Global Warming.” National Public Radio. 2006. Web.
Nebel, Bernard J., et al. Environmental Science: The Way the World Works.2nd ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Odum, Eugene P., Fundamentals of Ecology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia & London: W.B. Saunders Company.
“The Consequences of Global Warming for Canada.” Maple Leaf Web. Canada. 2006. Web.
“The Effects of Global Warming.” WWF-Canada. Canada. 2006. Web.
“The Green House Effect.” The New Book of Popular Science.2002. Grolier Incorporated. Danbury, Connecticut.