We repeatedly hear the term “global warming”. The very subject usually produces arguments by some that it truly exists and by others that it is a myth. Proponents of the argument for global warming identify melting glaciers, rising sea levels, dying cloud forests and changing habits of wildlife as proof that global warming is occurring. Antagonists of this concept cite historical cyclical temperature changes and the resulting wind and storm patterns as proof that global warming is a myth. In fact, the average global temperatures and concentrations of carbon dioxide have fluctuated cyclically for hundreds of thousands of years. These fluctuations occur with the Earth’s changing positions relative to the sun.
During prior cycles, emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere were balanced by GHGs that were naturally absorbed by the land and water. This balance enabled human civilization to develop in a consistent climate. There were periods of interruptions to this balance—volcanic eruptions that emitted particles, which cooled the Earth’s surface and El Nino, which has its own short and predictable cycles. Something different is happening now and is occurring on a large, consistently measured level. Humans have increased the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a level 33 percent higher since the industrial revolution. Historically, changes of this magnitude resulted over thousands of years. They now are occurring at this rate over mere decades. Such a rapid rise in greenhouse gases pose unique challenges to life, forcing many living things to be able to adapt.
While environmentalists use the term “global warming”, scientists refer to this phenomenon as “climate change”. As the Earth’s temperature climbs, wind and ocean currents travel in patterns that cool some areas while warming others. Additionally, the amounts of snowfalls and rainfalls are impacted. Global warming or climate change is of concern because it produces extreme weather, ranging from severe storms to extended droughts. This, in turn, poses challenges for all living creatures in terms of food supply, water supply, and threat to life from severe conditions.
We can control the emission of greenhouse gases through green living. To save our planet, let’s live green, be green.