"Climate Change" ... "Global Warming" ... they are words that we hear a lot these days. We're told that the polar ice caps are melting and that species, like Polar Bears, will die and become extinct. Other animal and plant life ... those able to move ... are doing so, changing our ecosystems. There is evidence that our oceans are rising and some say that they will consume land at lower elevations, like parts of Florida. Weather patterns have already changed, causing extreme conditions in many parts of the world. How often, lately, have we heard of an area suffering drought one minute and floods the next?
All of these reports have a couple of things in common ... they are dramatic and they usually tell us that we must act now. But how? They don't tell us what we, individuals trying to do our best, can do to make things better.
Some climate change is part of our planet's natural life cycle. Throughout history, the earth has experienced events such as volcanic eruptions and changes in our orbit. We've gone through ice ages and long periods of warming. All of those events have had an affect on the earth's climate. But in the late 18th century, man got busy with the Industrial Revolution and became the largest contributor to global warming. Humans started burning fossil fuels (coal and oil) and started cutting down trees (deforestation). These activities kicked global warming into "over-drive" by causing a huge increase in concentrations of heat-trapping gasses in our atmosphere.
What does that mean to us? Well, when we use oil products or electricity, we release greenhouse gases. Growing food, burning wood in our fireplaces, raising livestock and tossing out garbage all release greenhouse gases. In fact, everything we do contributes, in some degree, to climate change. So, the way we can "act now" is to live "green" ... to put into action all of the ideas we've talked about in this blog and the suggestions that can be found throughout the blogosphere. We can pay attention to our every action and take the route with the least environmental impact. Every time we reduce our consumption (of everything), reuse things instead of tossing them out and recycle everything that can be recycled, we take a positive step towards slowing global warming.
I'm not a scientist or an expert on climate change. I'm just a person who wants to do the right thing. Perhaps it's true that the earth's course is set ... that there is nothing we can do to stop global warming. On the other hand, perhaps there is a lot we can do. If there is a chance ... even a small chance ... that my actions can help the earth and improve the quality of life, then ... I'm going to give it my best effort.
Won't you join me?
As always ... I would love to hear from you!