Climate Change: What Can We Do To Combat It?
ARTICLE TITLE: Climate Change: What Can We Do To Combat It?
With the current Presidential race heating up as both Republicans and Democrats parade their best (and worst) out in front of the cameras in a bid to win their respective party’s nomination. One of the hottest topics – both fugitively and literally – is climate change, with the Republicans and their supporters typically denying it even exists and Democrats issuing rallying calls to fight against the decline of our environment. But to the average man and women – who is probably worrying more about their next paycheck or how to put their kids through college – do on a local level to help prevent an ecological disaster that could very well prove to be the bane of their children and their children?
But just what is climate change, and how does it stand to affect us as a race? According to the U.S. Department of Ecology, heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide are causing a general upswing in the overall temperature of the Earth, leading to an increase in the elevation of seawater due to the subsequent melting of snow and ice in polar regions, as well as other related maladies such as drought, fires, extreme changes in weather patterns, and flooding.
“Scientists project that these trends will continue and in some cases accelerate, posing significant risks to human health, our forests, agriculture, freshwater supplies, coastlines, and other natural resources that are vital to Washington state’s economy, environment, and our quality of life,” they said. “Because so many systems are tied to climate, a change in climate can affect many related aspects of where and how people, plants and animals live, such as food production, availability and use of water, and health risks. For example, a change in the usual timing of rains or temperatures can affect when plants bloom and set fruit, when insects hatch or when streams are their fullest. This can affect historically synchronized pollination of crops, food for migrating birds, spawning of fish, water supplies for drinking and irrigation, forest health, and more.”
While the weather has always fluctuated throughout time, the overall picture is one of factors indicating a drastic and final change in the climate of the planet; this is a fact, but how much have recent events contributed to climate change, and who are the biggest offenders on a global scale? Environmental blog Yellow Pages Goes Green attempts to shed some light on these questions, and unfortunately, in many ways, the United States is to blame – along with many other world powers – for the ongoing damage to the environment that may one day deliver a hefty toll upon our children.
"As the 2014 Climate Summit was taking place at the United Nations, preceded by the People’s Climate March in New York City, which drew over 300,000 participants (similar events were also held in nearly 2700 other locations in 150 countries throughout the world), it was reported by the Associated Press that scientists studying 16 incidents of what they termed “wild weather” last year have determined that over half of them are connected to global warming caused by man’s unabated use of fossil fuels," they said. "Heat waves that occurred in Australia, China, Europe, Japan and Korea bore the fingerprints of made-made climate change, as did extreme amounts of rain in parts of India and the United States, and severe drought conditions in New Zealand and in California."
The ways in which we can combat climate change are numerous, and we unfortunately don’t have the space to cover them all here, but in instances like these, Google can be an invaluable informational resource. But among the ways of fighting global warming that we WILL discuss here in this article are among some of the more basic, obvious, yet wholly effective, such as using a car pool with co-workers as opposed to commuting alone; riding a bike instead of driving; and a plethora of other options that don’t involve driving a motor vehicle to excess. In today’s society using a car is almost unavoidable if you want to eat, work, and be social, but there are ways to curtail your impact upon the environment in this regard, and they’re easy to do once you get used to them.
There are also several useful steps one can take, as suggested by The Nature Conservancy, to make your voice heard and your carbon footprint upon the planet far smaller, and they all involve thinking before doing. It’s all a matter of common sense, after all.
“Every day you make choices about how to get to work, what temperature to set your thermostat, what products you buy, and a range of other things big and small. Many of these decisions have an impact on your ‘carbon footprint’ – how much fossil fuel consumption, and therefore greenhouse gas emissions, result from your choices,” they said. “A wealth of information is available on low-carbon choices you can make. Biking to work instead of walking. Using more efficient light bulbs in your home. Unplugging electric devices when not in use. These actions and many others reduce your carbon footprint and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that promote climate change.”
Global warming is a very real issue that simply shouldn’t just be debated and paraded about by politicians looking to score a vote come election time; it should be on the minds of every man, woman, and child, on a day-by-day basis, as those are the people who can truly make a difference in the long run.