How can I help stop global warming?
What Causes Global Warming?
Scientists have spent decades figuring out what is causing global warming. They've looked at the natural cycles and events that are known to influence climate. But the amount and pattern of warming that's been measured can't be explained by these factors alone. The only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of GREENHOUSE GASES (GHGs) emitted by humans.
There are two meanings of the term "greenhouse effect". There is a "natural" greenhouse effect that keeps the Earth's climate warm and habitable. There is also the "man-made" greenhouse effect, which is the enhancement of Earth's natural greenhouse effect by the addition of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels (mainly petroleum, coal, and natural gas).. Greenhouse gases trap some of the infrared radiation that escapes from the Earth, making the Earth warmer than it would otherwise be. You can think of greenhouse gases as sort of a "blanket" for infrared radiation-- it keeps the lower layers of the atmosphere warmer, and the upper layers colder, than if the greenhouse gases were not there. About 80-90% of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect is due to water vapor, a strong greenhouse gas. The remainder is due to carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other minor gases. It is the carbon dioxide concentration that is increasing, due to the burning of fossil fuels (as well as from some rainforest burning). This is the man-made portion of the greenhouse effect, and it is believed by many scientists to be responsible for the global warming of the last 150 years. In addition, the concentration of methane, although small, has also increased in recent decades. The reasons for this increase, though, are unknown.
A second cause for global warming is the SOLAR ACTIVITY. Over the past few hundred years, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of sunspots, at the time
when the Earth has been getting warmer. The data suggests solar activity is influencing the global climate causing the world to get warmer.
And the third reason for global warming are particulates and soot - Global dimming. The main cause of this dimming are particulates produced by volcanoes and human made pollutants, which exerts a cooling effect by increasing the reflection of incoming sunlight.
So , what can an individual do to stop global warming?
We need to put some effort in changing some of our habits. Following those simple steps, you can contribute to stop global warming:
Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb
CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. They can save you $100 a year on your energy bill.
Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer
Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment.
Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases
Do not leave appliances on standby
Use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that's switched on for 3 hours a day
Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action. You can save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 50°C.
Move your fridge and freezer
Placing them next to the cooker or boiler consumes much more energy than if they were standing on their own.
Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly
Even better is to replace them with newer models, which all have automatic defrost cycles and are generally up to two times more energy-efficient than their predecessors.
Don't let heat escape from your house over a long period
When airing your house, open the windows for only a few minutes.
Replace your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing
Cover your pots while cooking
Doing so can save a lot of the energy needed for preparing the dish. Even better are pressure cookers and steamers: they can save around 70%!
Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full
Take a shower instead of a bath
Use less hot water
Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.
Be sure you’re recycling at home
You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates.
Recycle your organic waste
Around 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions through the methane is released by decomposing bio-degradable waste. By recycling organic waste or composting it if you have a garden, you can help eliminate this problem!
One bottleof 1.5l requires less energy and produces less waste than three bottles of 0.5l. As well, buy recycled paper products: it takes less 70 to 90% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide.
Choose products that come with little packaging and buy refills when you can
You will also cut down on waste production and energy use... another help against global warming.
Reuse your shopping bag
Most products we buy cause greenhouse gas emissions in one or another way, e.g. during production and distribution. By taking your lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of a disposable one, you save the energy needed to produce new lunch boxes.
Plant a tree
A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%..
Switch to green power
In many areas, you can switch to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar. In some of these, you can even get refunds by government if you choose to switch to a clean energy producer, and you can also earn money by selling the energy you produce and don't use for yourself.
Buy locally grown and produced foods
Buy fresh foods instead of frozen
Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.
Seek out and support local farmers markets
They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth. Seek farmer’s markets in your area, and go for them.
Buy organic foods as much as possible
Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!
Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible
Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates
Sharing a ride with someone just 2 days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds a year
Don't leave an empty roof rack on your car
Drive carefully and do not waste fuel
You can reduce CO2 emissions by readjusting your driving style.
Check your tires weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated
Proper tire inflation can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Since every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference!
When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle
Try car sharing
Try telecommuting from home
Telecommuting can help you drastically reduce the number of miles you drive every week.
Air travel produces large amounts of emissions so reducing how much you fly by even one or two trips a year can reduce your emissions significantly.
Encourage your school or business to reduce emissions
Encourage the switch to renewable energy
Protect and conserve forest worldwide
Forests play a critical role in global warming: they store carbon. When forests are burned or cut down, their stored carbon is release into the atmosphere - deforestation now accounts for about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Make your city cool
Cities and states around the country have taken action to stop global warming by passing innovative transportation and energy saving legislation.
Article by Ivana K.