When you have fever and you visit doctor, they record your body temperature and if it is higher than the normal body temperature of 98.6 degree Fahrenheit, it means that the body is hot and is not well. Similarly, when the temperature of our planet increases above its normal limit, it means that our planet is suffering! The rise in our body temperature is called fever whereas in the case of our planet it is termed Global Warming. Every day, when the sun’s rays reach the earth, a group of gases called greenhouse gases [Water Vapour, Carbon-dioxide, Methane, Nitrous oxide] trap a part of the heat and keep our planet warm enough to survive. Absence of the Greenhouse gases would mean that earth would be 30 degree colder –too cold for most species. However, the levels of these gases in the atmosphere increases, they will absorb more heat and make earth too hot for us to live! Pollution, razing forests, burning fossil fuels like coal and petrol, increases the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and this causes global warming. From 1880, the earth today is warmer by 0.8 degree Celsius. This has resulted in rapid melting of ice in the Polar Regions, Higher sea levels, flooding of low lying islands and coastal areas. It has triggered climate change and the extinction of several animal and plant species.
If the rise of 0.8 degree Celsius can have such alarming consequences, what will be the future of mankind if the global warming continues at this rate? Here are some ways which affect our climate:
More than 200,000 acres of rainforests are burnt every day. At this rate the world’s rainforests will completely vanish by the end of this century. One person travelling by plane for one hour produces as much carbon-dioxide as an average Indian produces in an year. Between 34-80 fish species have become extinct since the late 19 century, six since 1970. In 1999, just 8 nations were responsible for nearly 50 percent of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions. If all our newspapers were recycled, we could save about 250 million trees each year! In Glacier National Park, the number of glaciers has dropped from 150 to 26. None will be left within the next 30 years! The present carbon-dioxide concentration is the highest in the past 420,000 years and possibly in past 20 million years. The Mediterranean Sea is quickly turning into stagnant sea affecting many of the sea’s plant and animal species! Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60V bulb for 6 hours.
Our every action right from switching on washing machines, electric stoves, radio sets, music systems, computers to using refrigerators add to Global warming. Some ways by which we can lesser our carbon footprint are as follows:
Using a geyser for an hour generates 3.3 Kilograms of carbon-dioxide. If you cut the use of geyser by just an hour a day, you can stop the release of 1204.5 Kilograms of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere annually. One dripping tap in a house wastes 13 litres of water per day. Therefore the wastage of water in an year is equal to 4745 litres of water. Recycling paper uses 90 percent less water and 50 percent less energy than to manufacture new paper. It also produces 36 percent less carbon-dioxide. An air-conditioner [2.5 tons] used for an hour generates 3 kilograms of carbon-dioxide. If we go without air-conditioning for an hour a day, the release of 1095 kilograms of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere per year, can be prevented. Using a microwave oven for an hour generates 1.3 kilograms of carbon-dioxide. If you eat food without using your microwave to heat it, just for an hour a week, you can stop the release of 67.6 kilograms of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere annually.
Our everyday actions have far reaching consequences. It determines whether life on earth will flourish or perish. One thoughtful action or a simple change in our habit will go a long way in saving our planet. So let’s take a resolution from today and start doing our bit.