Today, March 23rd, is Earth Hour day, whose goal is to raise awareness regarding global warming. Today’s article, written by Nour Fitiany, our own environmental warrior, introduces the concept of global warming.
Contrary to popular belief, global warming, or the increased temperature of the globe, is actually a natural occurrence. The Earth has natural periods of warming and cooling. In fact, the Earth is now 5° hotter than it was 10,000 years ago. The issue today is the rate at which the temperature is rising. The Earth’s temperature has risen 0.7°c in just the past 50 years (now let’s take a few moments to do the math…). that’s right, folks, the Earth’s climate has been heating up much faster than usual; faster than some living things can adapt to. Soon the Earth, along with all its inhabitants, are going to be experiencing some pretty serious side effects – we’re talking ice melting everywhere (you can say goodbye to those ski trips); sea levels rising, meaning some cities may end up partially or completely under water; an increase in floods, droughts, and scorching temperatures; and finally massive species (including human) migrations and extinctions, which would drastically alter the global ecosystems.
So why is global warming happening at such an accelerated rate all of a sudden? Well let’s take a look at how global warming occurs in the first place. Let’s start by explaining the greenhouse effect. Imagine standing in a glass box that’s directly being hit by the sun and you might as well be standing in an oven. Well the Earth’s atmosphere is kind of like that glass box, and Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and water vapor trap just enough of the sun’s heat within the atmosphere so as to support life on Earth. In fact, without GHGs, our atmosphere would be roughly 30° C cooler. The thing is, GHGs like CO2 are generally released by volcanoes, respiration, and the decomposition of organic material; it is also naturally absorbed by trees and various plants.
In recent years, GHGs have increased substantially due to the increased human activities of burning fossil fuels (such as coal and oil), clearing forests, factory farms, burning waste and creating landfills of rotting garbage; this means more GHGs and less forests to absorb all the CO2. What this means is that more heat is trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to increased global temperature and you got it – GLOBAL WARMING. Almost everything we do that consumes energy, fuel, water, material (paper, plastic…etc.) is directly connected to and affecting climate change. In fact, humans have increased the amount of GHGs by more than a 30% since the industrial revolution.
So what can we do to stop it? Well we can’t exactly reverse the industrial revolution, but what we can do is slow down and stabilize the process of global warming to the point where the most damaging impacts can be avoided. It all starts with reducing, reusing and recycling everything:
* Reducing electricity and water consumption means hydroelectric factories pump less GHGs into the atmosphere (which not only kills us slowly, but also ruins our once beautiful horizons).
* Reducing consumption of paper, as paper production is one of the biggest culprits in GHG production
* Reducing consumption of all material means less fossil fuel is burned to make new material and ship it around the world.
*Reducing our consumption of gas and petroleum (by car pooling, walking/biking when possible, and better public transport) mean less GHG are released into the atmosphere from our vehicles.
*Reusing things again and again. For example, using both pages of a sheet of paper, not just one.
*Recycling “trash” by turning it into other things that can be used again means less garbage ends up in a landfill. [Editor’s note: An excellent example, which T3rf De supports whole-heartedly, is the Trochet project. We’d be very happy for you to visit their site]
Please share some things you do to help fight GLOBAL WARMING on #T3rfDe. Together we can stabilize climate change and ensure that our kids have a safe, warm (but not too warm) planet to live on.
Our contributor today is Nour Fitiany. She is obsessed with trash and finding ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle it. She is the founder of Recycle Your Jeddah, and is a great believer and Jeddah’s movement toward becoming a green city. She also likes long walks on al-Mamsha.
Greenhouse Effect – BBC
Mother Earth news: fossil fuel and atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide