Global Warming – Is the cause natural or of human and what are the likely consequences?
Global Warming is an issue that concerns almost everybody worldwide: it is the primary cause for the erratic and sometimes devastating weather that is experienced around the world. Global warming is causing the rise in sea level which in turn causes the flooding of coastal areas and areas with low elevation.
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During the earliest times, the lifestyles of our ancestors were very simple. The air they breathed was clean. The streams were clear and free of harmful organisms. They used natural fertilizers for their agricultural crops. The surroundings were free of household throwaways.
Today, there has been a tremendous growth in science and technology. Such advances have brought about changes in terms of new products, improved equipment, and more effective methodologies. Unfortunately, this same technology which made life easier for us produced wastes which are now affecting the quality of our surrounding air, water, and land. Factories and motor vehicles send tons of pollutants into our air. Excessive air pollution poses danger to our health. It can likewise cause stunted growth and even death to our plants that may lead to global warming. Out streams are polluted by discharges from industrial plants that use chemicals. Garbage and sink wastes are carelessly thrown in our surroundings. Synthetic fertilizers and insecticides pollute our land and farm products. All of this human carelessness can cause global warming.
Are we all aware of the extent of the damages brought by modernization? Have we contributed to such environmental dilemmas especially global warming? What have we done to minimize such danger to our lives?
How can we take care of our environment? We must undertake measures to conserve and preserve our resources and minimize utilization of energy before it’s too late. Our fight against global warming is an initial step toward conserving our environmental resources and energy. We must all join hands for this common goal.
Thesis Statement: This paper scrutinizes what global warming is and know whether this environmental dilemma is cause naturally or of human negligence. This also figures out the consequences of global warming.
A. Global Warming and doomsday
Will global warming spell doom for our world? Scientists believe this to be so. “Much depends on what actions we take now and in the coming years.” Meteorologist Jagadish Shukla of the University of Maryland found out that deforestation would cause rainfall in the Amazon River to decline by more than 26 percent from the current 2.5 m. to about 1.8 m. a year (Bellamy & Gifford, 2000).
At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal and oil, produces sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides which are hazardous to the atmosphere. Findings show that a single smokestack may produce as much as 500 tons of sulfur dioxide a day. When these gases combine with oxygen and moisture, sulfuric acid and nitric acid is formed. The rain will carry the acids to the ground (acid rain) which may cause the depletion of calcium and magnesium in the soil, elements needed by plants for the formation of chlorophyll and wood, or it may cause the release of aluminum in the soil, which are poisonous and can kill the roots of trees (Carwardine, 2000).
A. Global warming: is it natural or man’s carelessness? What its effects?
Every day we go about our own business. Many of us never take the time to look around and see how we are affecting our earth’s atmosphere. Everywhere you look today you are bound to see some factory or machinery polluting our air. Just think how many times you have seen those large semi trucks or big fossil fuel factories emitting thick dark smoke into the atmosphere. We need to come to reality and realize that all that polluting we have been doing over the last half-century is finally catching up to us. It is very easy to detect through scientific research that our earth’s climate is changing, Time magazine reports in its 2004 issue that the earth’s average temperature is increasing at a steady rate. Yes, we all have heard the term “global warming”, however many people don’t know in depth what global warming is, or how our actions will affect our earth if we don’t respond to the issue. If we can educate ourselves on what global warming is and how it will affect us in the near and far future, we can then begin to change our old habits of polluting and create new habits and goals to living in a much healthier and cleaner environment. I strongly believe that global warming is not a natural occurrence but a man’s negligence and carelessness because every time there is technology advancement, in most cases, it affects our environment in some inevitable and unexpected ways.
Moreover, according to research, nitrous oxide or “laughing gas’ is a colorless gas with a sweet taste and odor that is used as an anaesthetic in minor surgery that H2O is responsible for about 6 percent of the human contributes to greenhouse warming. Methane or “cow gas,” on the other hand, makes up about 18 percent of human contributions to greenhouse effect. Cattle, sheep, goats, and other cud-chewing animals give off methane, in burps and flatulence as they digest (Cairncross, 2002). CFCs was discovered by Thomas Widgley Jr., a chemist working at the Frigidaire Division of General Motors, used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners and aerosol propellants in spray cans, medical sterilizers, cleaning solvents for electronic components and raw materials for making plastic foams such as coffee cups. CFCs are estimated to account for 14 percent of global warming. Experts said that what is happening right now is not a matter of adding a few degrees to the average temperature of a community. A rise of this magnitude may cause life, for without the environment, creatures on earth cannot survive (Davidson, 1999).
Furthermore, ozone is an unstable oxygen that occurs naturally in the atmosphere (also called isothermal region), the upper portion of the atmosphere above 7 miles where clouds are rare. The ozone layer absorbs the dangerous ultraviolet-B (UV-B) rays while it allows the needed safe light to pass through. Though easily broken down by other gases in the stratosphere, it is constantly being repaired by the sun’s rays. However, man is destroying the ozone layer which serves as a protective umbrella against the sun’s harmful rays. In fact, the ozone layer is destroyed faster than the sun’s rays can produce it. It is being destroyed by industrial gases like CFCs (Johnston, 2000).
CFCs were invented in 1930 but were discovered hazardous in 1974-only after 44 years of use. CFCs, which are found everywhere, are used in foamed plastic production (insulators, cups, fast-food containers), spray propellants, coolants (refrigerators, air-conditioners) and solvent cleaner (electronic equipment).It is dismaying to know that ozone depletion can be found in the south (Antarctica) and north (Greenland) poles. According to British scientist Joe Farman, 40 percent of ozone depletion can be found in the South Pole. At the South Pole is a huge vortex with clouds composed of tiny ice [articles, giving chlorine millions of tiny spaces through which it can perform its deadly dance with ozone even faster (Simpson, 2000). Both holes at the poles are seasonal, opening and closing each year. In the northern hemisphere, a more populous region, ozone depletion rate is between three percent and seven percent for 17 years, as compared previously to only three percent for 100 years.
What are the effects of Ultraviolet-B rays to human beings and the ecosystem in general? To humans, they can cause skin cancer and cataract as mentioned earlier and damage the immune system. To the ecosystem, they can kill planktons (basic element of the ocean food chain), destroy plant life and crops and change global wind and weather patterns.
In 1978, Canada, Sweden, the United States and other countries banned the use of CFCs in aerosols. However, other uses of CFCs were found, effecting an increase in its production. The US still uses one-fourth of the world’s annual supply of CFCs (Turner, 2000).
However, in September 1987, 24 nations cooperated for the first time to solve this environmental problem and passed the Montreal Protocol. The agreement issued a call for developed nations to freeze the use and production of CFCs at the 1986 level while cutting 50 percent of use and production by 1999.
Still, the CFCs currently rising through the troposphere will take seven to 10 years to drift up to the stratosphere. The troposphere is the portion of the atmosphere that is below the stratosphere, extending outward about seven to 10 miles from the earth’s surface (Bellamy & Gifford, 2000).
If we are to keep the ozone layer, the use of CFCs must be lowered-if not totally eliminated. Consumers must not patronize products that have CFCs, educators and scientists must challenge students to find alternatives, entrepreneurs and industrialists must avoid the use of CFC- solvent cleaners and policymakers must [ass legislative measures regarding CFCs (Jordan, 2005).
In conclusion, of all issues affecting humanity, climate change is the most pervasive and truly global, posing a very real and serious threat to our environment. Climate change is the alteration of the pattern of global climate that may be due to human activity that alters the composition of the atmosphere. Human’s negligence has the big contribution why this phenomenon has occurred. But how can we help in preventing or minimizing the global warming? The first and most important step is to inform and educate the members of our households, and finally the members of the whole community of the dangerous and unpleasant effects of global warming to our environment. Second, their cooperation by refraining from throwing wastes and other pollutants into it must be solicited. Third, any signs of pollutants that can cause global warming from factories and industrial plants must be reported to proper authorities in the town.
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