Lately I have heard about global warming and how this affects the weather and the air we breathe. I have heard adults talk about how the weather is changing, and how global warming and climate changes are related. It seems that the climate is changing and that the earth is warming up.
The warming of the earth causes increases in temperatures and decreases the natural habitat of many species. In fact, many species are losing their ability to adapt to the changes in temperatures and we are losing a number of ecosystems. Many agree that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet.
Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have become more frequent and this type of weather has often caused deadly flooding and other natural disasters. The change in severity seems to be most apparent in North America where weather instruments are the most reliable, although severe weather is being experienced throughout the globe.
Additionally, researchers have found that climate change more than doubles the likelihood of severe flooding. Similar studies are now under way to examine whether last year’s deadly Russian heat waves and Pakistani floods can be scientifically attributed to global warming.
Scientists have spent decades figuring out what is causing global warming. One of the first things scientists learned is that greenhouse gases are a major contributor to global warming and that humans emit them in a variety of ways. The major contributors to these greenhouse gases are combustion from fuels used in our cars, energy used in our factories, and gases created from the generation of electricity. Other contributors include methane released from landfills.
Thankfully, we have started to do something about climate change and global warming. People have started to understand the meaning of recycling and how it can help conserve natural resources and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are created. By conserving natural resources and by recycling, we can save trees, protect our ecosystem and increase the levels of breathable air.
As an example, landfills are beginning to capture methane gas and convert it to electricity, thus reducing emissions and creating renewable energy. Currently, more than 30 landfills’ gas-to-energy projects are coming online in the United States, and even more are currently under construction. Gas-to-energy projects currently generate sufficient electricity to provide energy to more than 400,000 homes per day, offsetting almost two million tons of coal combustion per year. These projects also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Many companies across the United States are implementing waste reduction programs and are beginning to implement sustainable practices. Automobile companies are building more energy-efficient cars, reducing the amount of CO2 that is created and emitted into the atmosphere, thus helping to avoid climate change.
I know we cannot change the past, but we can definitely change the future.
Alex Oseguera is in the fifth grade.