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A Part of Everyday Life: Our Response to Global Warming

Essay by   •  July 18, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,528 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,259 Views

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A Part of Everyday Life: Our Response to Global Warming

by

Thesis: Although global warming is a worldwide issue, local governments and the average

citizen can play a role in diminishing problems associated with this climate change.

I. Introduction

II. What is global warming

III. Current effects of global warming

A. Early Springs

B. Extreme Weather Events

IV. Long term effects of global warming

A. Sea Level Rises

B. Natural Disasters and growth of deserts

C. Extinction

D. Water systems altered

V. Worldwide organizations

VI. State and City environmental regulations

A. Turbine Power

B. Hybrid City Vehicles

VII. Individual actions

A. Recycling

B. Green Restaurants

VIII. Conclusion

The television news is often filled with references to global warming. Global warming is mentioned during weather predictions, as a factor in allergy warnings, in descriptions of new legislation and in special features about what we can do to help the environment. Although global warming is a worldwide issue, local governments and the average citizen can play a role in diminishing problems associated with this climate change. The effects of global warming are mostly negative with disturbing predictions for our future. In contrast, what is being done to help the environment is encouraging.

Global warming has become the household term for an increase in the temperature of our climate. The Environmental Protection Agency defines Global warming as an average increase in temperatures near the Earth's surface and in the lowest layer of the atmosphere (1). The EPA further states that the Earth's greenhouse effect is a natural occurrence that helps regulate the temperature of our planet; our life on Earth is possible because the Sun heats the earth and our climate is not too hot or too cold to support human life. When the Sun heats the Earth, some of the heat is trapped in the atmosphere by clouds and greenhouse gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide (2). Human activities are contributing to global warming by adding excessive amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These activities include driving cars, using electricity from coal-fired power plants, heating our homes with oil or natural gas, and cutting down forests (West).

Already our planet is feeling the effects, some good and some bad, of the higher climate temperatures attributed to global warming. Satellites measuring when land turns green found that spring "green up" is arriving eight hours earlier every year on average since 1982 north of the Mason-Dixon Line. People may appreciate smaller heating bills from shorter winters, a longer growing season, and maybe even better tasting wines from some early grape harvests. But biologists also foresee big problems. The changes could push some species to extinction. That's because certain plants and animals are dependent on each other for food and shelter. If the plants bloom or bear fruit before animals return or surface from hibernation, the critters could starve. And plants that bud too early can be devastated by a late freeze (Borenstein 2). With Spring coming earlier and Fall lasting longer, we fight allergies from February through November instead of March through October. According to an article published by National Geographic, average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average, arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, glaciers are melting and coral reefs are dying off. Extreme weather events, such as wildfires, heat waves, and strong tropical storms, are also attributed in part to climate change by some experts "Global Warming Fast Facts".

The predictions for the long term effects of global warming are just as numerous as the short term, however, they seem much more serious. National Geographic's article "Global Warming Fast Facts" listed these potential problems for the future related to global warming:

* Sea level could rise between 7 and 23 inches by century's end. Rises of just 4 inches could flood many South Seas islands and swamp large parts of Southeast Asia.

* Some hundred million people live within 3 feet of mean sea level, and much of the world's population is concentrated in vulnerable coastal cities. In the U.S., Louisiana and Florida are especially at risk.

* Glaciers around the world could melt, causing sea levels to rise while creating water shortages in regions dependent on runoff for fresh water.

* Strong hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and other natural disasters may become commonplace in many parts of the world. The growth of deserts may also cause food shortages in many places.

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