Global warming


Global warming is an increase in Earth’s atmospheric temperature and in this case, the increase has been quite irrational. Earth’s temperature can be controlled and affected by radiation or short-wave energy which is visible and ultra violet light. Due to Global warming effects, the heat energy is passed on into the air rather than escaping into space. Consequently, the Earth will emit long-wave ‘infrared’ radiation as its surface warms up. The greenhouse gases which include carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, nitrous oxide, and methane can trap the long-wave radiation to further warm the atmosphere. Together, these gases create a natural greenhouse, or ‘blanket’ effect that warms the Earth since they are mixed throughout the atmosphere. It has devastating effects on the society, natural environment and the world economy.

The root cause of the problem

Earth has been warming faster than any other time and human activity is to be largely blamed for this incidence. The growth of industrialization has vigorously increased such human activities as now most factories and other industrial sources pour out huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Weart, 2008). Carbon dioxide is the biggest contributor to Global warming due to the immense increase in greenhouse gases, while the burning of fossil fuels has significantly raised its atmospheric levels to the highest for last 20 million years. Natural disasters such as coastal flooding, dry periods, habitat destruction and food shortages that we are currently experiencing globally, are just signs of a perilous future that awaits the planet if nothing is done to reduce global warming. Although industrialized nations are seen to be huge emitters of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it is the poorer nations that will feel the great effects of global warming.

The threat to the environment

Human activities associated with Global warming such as the burning of fossil fuels emits sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere to form acid rain that can occur in the form of snow or even fog. Acid rain will fall on Earth to flow across water systems, runoff water, and also sinks into the soil to cause huge ecological effects. The acid rain will have an impact on streams, wetlands, and other aquatic environments. This will make water toxic to fish, clams, crayfish, and other aquatic animals. The acid rain also releases aluminum into the soil that will damage forests and other vegetations to consequently change how plants grow. These human activities also deteriorates the ozone layer to emit out extra ultraviolet B radiation that will affect the reproductive cycle of phytoplankton, which are single-celled organisms such as algae. This will in turn degenerate the populations of other animals as the phytoplankton makes up the base rung of the food chain (Maslin, 2007).

Proposed solutions to the issue

By using energy-efficient bulbs and other appliances in our homes, and utilizing solar and wind power, biofuels, natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable hydrogen, less energy will be produced into the atmosphere. Simple tasks such as switching off the light and other appliances when not being used would also help in reducing energy emission.  Carbon sequestration is also seen as a potential way of capturing carbon dioxide discharged from fossil fuels and storing it underground.  Tax increase on carbon would also discourage fossil fuel use (David, 2006).

Possible consequences if issue is unchecked

We might experience higher temperatures that would cause more heat waves, droughts, rising sea levels, and melting ice. Warmer oceans would mean an unfortunate recipe for storms and other flooding disasters which can be catastrophic for low-lying coastal cities. Forest fires would also be a common phenomenon as heat, drought, and dead trees, which are the three ingredients needed for such large-scale burning are on the rise due to Global warming. Global weather patterns would be altered and this will in turn deplete environmental order and beauty as we know it, thus affecting agricultural productivity and disturbing our food supplies (David, 2006).Global warming would also affect both human and animal health as the extra ultraviolet B radiation can cause cancer and other ailments.

Issue relation to Saint Leo’s core values of Respect and Responsible Stewardship

Since God our creator blessed us with an abundance of natural resources, it’s our duty in the spirit of service to employ all our resources into protecting both our ecosystem and community, in order to promote sanctity, serenity, and development from such man-made disasters. We should all take strides as a community and see to it that God’s natural beauty is preserved since it’s a gift to humanity.

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