Melting Point: The Issue of Global Warming
What is Global Warming? Well, it is just that, our planet is getting warmer. Due to increased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in our atmosphere, we are retaining excess heat that usually is radiated into space. This excess heat that is being captured by our CO2 enriched atmosphere is now causing a rise in temperature that could affect nearly every aspect of life. If we do not stop our excessive carbon dioxide output, major changes could happen to our environment and our economic well being.
You emit CO2 emissions almost everywhere you go, every time you drive your car, have a fire in your fireplace, and even when you use your gas stove to cook a ...view middle of the document...
In the past year “nearly 1000 tornadoes” have swept across the Unites States in the Midwest, “killing more than 500 people”(Begley). The Midwest has experienced the wettest April in over 100 years, causing flooding over thousands of miles. This all happened while Texas was plagued with the driest month in a century and in 2010 a drought hit Russia which “killed an estimated 15,000 people”. This weather is causing severe damage on both sides of the spectrum (Begley).
With this damage to the environment comes damage to its indigenous species. Everyday you see commercials on T.V. asking for donations to help save endangered animals. These dangers are very real, as the effects of global warming on wildlife are “a good deal more complicated than previously thought” (Weir). These conditions are causing wild life to migrate and find different forms of prey, disrupting the food chain. Due to increased levels of competition and predators, some species may even go extinct. People have tried to identify at-risk species and intervene, but intervention could be extremely risky due to the unknown consequences. There are several examples of this in the United States such as the Asian Carp. In the early 1970’s fish farmers in mostly Southern states began importing Asian carp from China to help clean their commercial ponds. The Asian carp quickly spread into larger water systems and started to damage the natural ecosystems. They are often known to uproot vegetation and muddy water through their habit of rooting in the mud for food, destroying the habitat of other species in the process. This is a prime reason why they must find “biological realism” when moving species to friendlier environments (Weir). If a species is introduced into an ecosystem there is chance that it could thrive too much, endangering the other species. When playing with global warming it sometimes leads us to playing Mother Nature and more often than not hurting the balance of nature than not helping at all.
Even more of a motivation to decrease our CO2 production is that the rising temperatures are exponentially increasing the green house gas production of own planet, through forest fires and the release of trapped gases. We have sparked the fire that is Global Warming.
Until recently we haven’t known we have been sitting on a ticking time bomb of green house gases for thousands of years. Under the areas of permafrost in the arctic, “massive amounts of greenhouse gases… will likely seep into the air over the next couple decades” (Borenstein). Permafrost is soil that has been in below freezing temperatures for over 2 years. This soil may contain substances such as carbon, peat, and methane, two of which are green house gases. The thawing of the permafrost is considered more of a threat to global warming than the cutting down of the forests due to the enormous pool of green house gases that are trapped in the soil. This large carbon pool represents more carbon than currently exists...