Monday, March 27, 2006

Global Warming - Christian Buck

Christian Buck
3/27/06

Global warming is a threat we hear about everyday. It has fueled large debates on the environment. Most people know what it is and that it is affecting us in some way. What is global warming and what problems does it cause? Is it a major threat to us, will it endanger our lives and lifestyle?
Global warming is the warming of our atmosphere through a large blanket of carbon dioxide and many other chemicals. Like a greenhouse, the heat from the outside world is conducted and stored, which has given global warming the name “the greenhouse affect”. Without some atmosphere of compounds like carbon dioxide, our planet would be like mars; unbearably hot in the day and freezing at night. Our atmosphere keeps life stable and alive in a protected space.
The problem we have at the moment is our atmosphere is becoming too thick. A thick atmosphere makes the temperature rise. As a result the polar ice caps are melting and the oceans rise. Plants and animals unable to adapt are dying at enormous rates. This has happened in the past as a result of natural events, but this time we are helping create another period of extinction.
Cars and their drivers add up to releasing 5.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year and when combined with heating, air conditioning, and other processes that require fossil fuels everyone adds up to releasing 18.7 tons of carbon dioxide annually[1]. The amount of people on our earth is still increasing. We already are supporting over 6.5 billon people. This means to figure the amount of carbon released each year we would have to multiply 18.7 tons of carbon by 6.5 billion people. This number does not include the amount of C02 released by the other species of animals on our planet.
When an organic object dies it decomposes. Decomposing is the act of breaking down matter into simple chemicals and in the process a lot of carbon dioxide is released. Every tree, blade of grass and every insect releases more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. We as humans are the masters of releasing CO2. We start fires, run cars and other tools powered by fossil fuels. Like other creatures we die and decompose. We are very responsible for global warming which in return is affecting our lives at this very moment. We can help reverse the process of global warming. If we can cut down on burning fossil fuel and organic matter, and come up with ideas for efficient energy we will reduce the damage we are causing to our planet. Planting trees can help as well. Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. Massive deforestation is harmful but can be turned around with help from people willing to replant our forest and jungles.

[1] itest.slu.edu/articles/90s/hannan.html

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