Green House Gases Emissions!
What YOU can and need to do:
YOU read the title of this hub and YOU came to check it out; that means YOU have taken a step closer towards what we all need to do in the near future.
It seems that Greenhouse Gases Emissions, Carbon footprints, Carbon Offsetting, Global Warming, Pollution and all the other aspects of the dangers to our Eco-environment are finally getting some of attention throughout all of the arms of the media. Unfortunately not all people are on board yet and many are getting tired of hearing about what they call 'Doomsday predictions'.
What Are Greenhouse Gases?
The way I understand it: the earths atmosphere is made up of a chemical cocktail and this medley acts similarly to the glass of a greenhouse. It lets the sunrays enter right through the atmosphere all the way down to the earth surface from where some of the heat gets reflected back up into space. Some of this heat (dare I say it) is not as hot as it was when it burnt through coming down. This heat gets trapped in the chemical gases of the atmosphere which are also known as the “greenhouse gasses” . This trapped heat the cause of what we are referring to when we say Global warming. If we were going to try to identify or name some of these major gases they would be Water Vapour, Methane, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrites oxide and what ever is contained in our Industrial Smog. Some of these gases like the water vapour are in fact a natural occurrence and a result of the continuous happening of the water cycle. Unfortunately the combo of the industrial gases are exclusively a cause of human error and disregard of our surroundings.
When hearing carbon footprints most everyone automatically thinks of car fumes, travel by planes, trucking every type of equipment and products back and forth on our highways, fuel for powering all of our homes, factories and schools etc. However there seems to be one aspect that we always take for granted and that is our footprints on our water systems.
Yah, I know I know, we can't walk on water so how could we be leaving footprints...well it's what we are doing to our soil, our air that is leeching into the water systems--into our lakes, rivers, oceans and underground reservoirs and that is what is leaving GIANT sized 'carbon footprints' worldwide and that is what needs to be corrected most urgently.
WE--all of us living in the developed parts of the world seem to take this most vital resource in our stride without giving it much of a thought. We open a tap and out comes hot or cold water, some extra purified, some pushed through a tank of salts to remove minerals and such to 'soften' it. Heaven forbid, we might shower in hard water or have spots on our glasses as they come out of the dishwasher. There are millions of gallons of chlorinated water sitting in swimming pools. To have safe clean water the sewage plants worldwide have to pump chemicals into the water systems every minute of every day. Unfortunately the remaining sludge eventually reenters the eco-system including all the chemical residues.
Don't get me wrong I'm spoiled enough too, to have two showers a day in my perfectly clean Well water so I'm really not suggesting that we should use untreated water and such but there are many ways we can save and become 'carbon offsetters' instead but we'll get into that a little later.
Where does water come from?
Water comes from either underground or surface water supplies. Groundwater is found in between soil particles and cracks in underground rocks. These underground water collecting areas of soil and rock are called aquifers. These are the sources for springs and wells. Actually almost two thirds of the worlds water shed comes from these underground origins which also makes the remaining third of groundwater supply one of our most valuable resource.
Obviously water found in ponds, lakes, oceans, streams and rivers are surface water however both of these water sources are interconnected to each other and therefore if one water source becomes contaminated chances are that the contaminant will find its way to the other watersource also sooner or later.
The Water Cycle!
I'm sure everyone will remember this from school but here is a quick refresher on the endless circulation of water. This water cycle which goes from atmosphere to earth and back to atmosphere is called the hydro-logic cycle.
The different stages of the water cycle are: Precipitation, Evaporation, Infiltration, Recharge, Transpiration, Condensation and Surface Runoff.
Precipitation- clouds become heavy with droplets of water then fall to earth in the forms of rain, snow, hail or sleet all depending on the air temps. Some of the precipitation evaporates even before it reaches earth, some water is taken up by plants and is transpired (plants giving off water vapour, similar to evaporation). Some of the water which falls onto the soil runs over the surface of land and becomes surface-run-off flowing into nearby lakes, streams and rivers or some might seep into the ground through porous soil and cracks in rocks, also called infiltration and recharges the aquifers, more will evaporate and thus reenter the cycle. As the vapour rises into the atmosphere it cools and condenses. When water vapour condenses it turns back into a liquid and at that point the water droplets start to collect together forming clouds...thus starting the whole cycle again.
I had to add the water cycle just as a reminder that no-matter what our life style might be we can negatively affect our environment. What we do today leaves residues for the generations to come and why it is important that the water cycle be included into our thinking when we discuss leaving our 'Carbon Footprints' and when we try to work on 'Carbon Offsetting'.
Let me explain just one of these stages of contamination. As the water cycle circulates it 'travels' through the atmosphere it picks up particles of pollutants which then fall down onto the earth, into the lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. The soil and rocks etc act as a filter but the influx of more and more of these unavoidable chemicals and pollutants that have been collecting up in the soil over the industrial era are meeting up with the chemicals that WE are pouring into the soil under the disguise of fertilizers, weed killers, bug larvae killers and many many more that I can't even think of. I'm sure you know what comes next. Some of this chemical smorgasbord collected in the ground is diluted and finds its way from the aquifers into our surface waters where its affecting all life within from the smallest microbial elements up.
We do not have to be chemistry professors or environmentalists to understand that there is only so much that our old planet can absorb, clean and swallow. Eventually it gets to be too much. Like a sponge when it's saturated it can take up no more.
I honestly believe that we're at the beginning of the end if we do not change our ways. This is not a Hell and Brimstone speech its just a concerned citizen of the world trying to use logic to understand and to spread the word.
What we can do to protect our water source!
Obviously we all want to safeguard access to clean water for our families, our eco-systems and the economy so protecting and conserving the worlds water source is something that each of us has to take on and share some of the responsibility. The hard part to remember is that there is NO NEW water entering the system. The water we have today has been circulating over and over and over again since the beginning of time. If we use more then what is availble in the cycle, we will run out eventually.
Water is for a cool drink, swimming and boating on our favorite lakes and rivers. We fish, we water our livestock, crops, lawns and gardens and of course wash our cars etc however there is always a concern especially in the hot season about the quality and quantity.
If we're using water near a drinking water well or a drinking water intake zone of a lake, we need to be extra careful with what we do and spray and pour onto the land and water. This is especially important to prevent any type of contamination. We also need to be aware of overuse of this precious resource.
Protecting and Conserving Water:
- Look for and repair water leaks in and around the house in pipes and taps.
- Install water efficient shower-heads, taps that have water saving aerators and low-flow toilets.
- Shut water off while brushing teeth, also limit the lengths of the showers.
- Install water efficient appliances (washing machines & dishwashers) and only run them when they're filled.
- Use a lidded rain barrel to collect water for use in the garden and on the lawn. Also remember to join the downspout of the eaves-troughs to it.
- Mow the lawn on a high setting so it doesn't dry out as fast and as much, and only water at night when it's really needed.
- Do not use chemical weed killers, bug repellents and fertilizers in gardens and on lawns. ( use herbal and natural products instead if you really must, and look into using companion planting for weed and bug control).
- Do not use the drains to dispose of paint, cleaners, pesticides and medical prescriptions etc. Most areas, municipalities and communities have household hazardous waste dates.
- Do not use toxic cleaning supplies, read the labels as most of those cleaners are tied to global warming issues.
- Do not spill fuel or oil onto the ground when filling gas tanks of cars, tractors, lawnmowers, snowmobiles and boats etc.
- Make sure to get private well water checked regularly.
- Make sure to get the septic systems checked and pumped regularly.
- Check out 'Xeriscape' landscaping practices (uses water-conserving techniques for gardens and lawns).
- Decommission unused wells properly as these can become pollutant pathways to the underground watersheds.
I'm an avid environmental activist and am so glad that I found CarbonAdviceGroup.com because I now will be able to put my voice online too and point out that we all need to do our bit to reduce the Greenhouse Gases Emissions on all levels. We need to work on saving the many CARBON FOOTPRINTS we're 'causing' to our earths water and atmosphere and we need to work on the CARBON OFFSETTING program etc. to drastically reduce the damage of the past and yet to come.
As I always say many small savings eventually amass to a big. Here is how it works: if you add polluting greenhouse gases emissions to the atmosphere, you can purchase 'Carbon Offsets' thus effectively subtracting some of your carbon footprints. Carbon offsets are simply credits for emission reductions achieved by projects such as wind farms, solar installations, energy efficiency retrofits or simply by planting trees in any corner of the world. You can purchase these credits and use them to reduce your impact to the climate.
We can all do this!
It's easy to set up a carbon-offsetting program for yourself, it just takes a few simple steps. Once you've started to offset your own emissions, encourage your family and friends to come on board too. Purchasing 'Carbon Offsets' are even a great gift idea for weddings and such. You could also start to support businesses that offer 'Carbon Offset' products or services and let them know that that is one of the reasons why you support them. Obviously reducing energy use has to be the first priority but purchasing carbon offsets is one way to encourage the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy, and show our support for action on climate change.
In addition the lifestyles in Asia and Africa are slowly coming on-line with the rest of the developed world. Along with their improved lifestyles will come higher emissions, therefore it is getting more and more important that we in the developed western countries lead the way and minimise our footprints.
If we all work together on this it will slow down the averse effects and possibly halt any more damage and maybe with time our planet might just have a chance of healing itself.
check out these great 'Save water solution' hubs
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Pictures: www.Flicker.com, www.sxc.hu, www.everystockphoto.com and Wikimedia commons