What does it mean, how does it affect us and what can we do to avoid it?
It has now been accepted beyond any doubt that human activity on the planet Earth has accelerated a warming trend in the Earth's atmosphere. According to present scientific data, this ‘Global Warming’ could increase the mean average temperature by as much as 6 degrees Celsius during the next eighty to a hundred years, causing catastrophic climatic changes to occur.
Throughout the history of our planet, there have been constant changes in climate, which have happened over thousands or even millions of years, and have therefore allowed both animals and plants plenty of time to adapt. The changes that are expected during the 21st century, however, will be so rapid that many species will be lost, being unable to cope with the radical fluctuations in their living conditions.
The most obvious effect of a significant increase in temperature is the melting of the polar ice caps and the subsequent rise in sea level, which will cause devastating floods world-wide, and a great loss of life and land.
Additionally, as the sea ice, glaciers and ice fields decline, exposing more ocean surface, rocks, trees and other vegetation, this will lead to the absorption of even more heat from the sun. Warmer oceans absorb less carbon dioxide and melting ‘tundra’ regions will release vast quantities of methane gas, further increasing the ‘greenhouse effect’. A state may be reached when the warming of the earth’s atmosphere simply goes ‘out of control’, as temperatures rise exponentially in an upward spiral.
By now, most of us are aware that air pollution from factories, power stations and motor cars, together with the burning of forests, are the main causes of ‘Global Warming’. It will be interesting to see how many of us are ready and willing to do something positive and avoid that worse case scenario, even though it poses the single greatest threat to our future existence on the planet.
What can you do?
Lo creamos o no, las soluciones no son tan complicadas o imposibles de aplicar a nuestras vidas diarias, y ya que todos nos veremos afectados directamente por los resultados, desde luego que es en nuestro propio interés el participar todo lo que podamos. Se trata de utilizar menos de todo, ahorrar energía, comprar productos alimenticios producidos localmente, reciclar nuestros desperdicios, plantar árboles, invertir en negocios éticos y presionar a los políticos para que actúen antes de que sea demasiado tarde.
Believe it or not, the solutions are not so complicated or impossible to apply to our daily lives. It’s all about using less of everything, saving energy, buying organic locally produced food, recycling our waste, reducing travel, planting trees, investing in ethical businesses and lobbying politicians to act before it really is too late.
You can personally reduce your consumption of energy, installing energy saving devices (low consumption light bulbs and electrical appliances, etc) wherever possible, and don’t leave them switched on when not in use. (a 100w light bulb burned for one hour can send up to 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere!)
You can also plan your use of motor-powered transport, reduce your journeys to a minimum and choose economic models that use less fuel and pollute less.
The Future of energy production:
If the manufacturing process and efficiency of solar panels and other alternative energy generators can improve more rapidly, then the price of these systems should fall sufficiently to be at least economically competitive with the other more polluting forms of energy production.
The future of world energy use depends on those who would like to conserve non-renewable resources, as well as reduce to a minimum, the emission of polluting gases, now internationally recognised as a key factor in the climate changes we are just beginning to experience.
There is a real possibility for reducing further damage to our communal life-support system 'Planet Earth', but its success depends on all of us!
If we all begin now to evolve ecologically, maybe we are not yet too late!