kids play at beach
"Climate change risks should be assessed in the same way as threats to national security or public health."

So how can individuals make a difference to reduce global warming?

You may have heard the term carbon footprint: a measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions for a business, product, activity, or person. The goal is to make your carbon footprint as small as possible.

The first contributory factor that comes to mind is transportation: how much fuel does your vehicle use? Do you even need a personal vehicle?

To drive a large SUV appears to be the current fad in the US. But does one really need a 15mpg vehicle when a 30mpg vehicle will get you there? For many there's a disconnect between consumerism and its effect sustainability.

Hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles [EVs], even modern clean diesel vehicles can get 50-60mpg with very low emissions.

Consider using public transportation. How about a scooter, a bike, or even walk for short trips?

How thermally efficient is your home? Heating and cooling requires energy mostly from fossil fuels. Why not use solar panels for electricity and heating water?

The products you buy make a difference. Avoid buying plastic. Refuse plastic bags when you shop. Bring your own bag to the grocery store. Only buy new stuff when necessary. Repurpose items you no longer use if possible. Recycle everything!

Consuming meat increases your carbon footprint 2.5x over a vegetarian diet and 3x over a vegan diet.

The web servers that host these web pages run on wind power.

The huge data centers like Google, FaceBook, and Amazon run a significant proportion of their servers with wind power and plan to go 100% shortly.

Global Warming
via Steve

Global warming is for real; statistical records prove it. Average global temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate because greenhouse gases created by burning fossil fuels and coal have changed the way our atmosphere retains heat. Radiation hits the Earth and bounces back towards space but now not as much escapes.

Without greenhouse gasses the Earth would be too cold to support life, but there's a balance that humans have knocked out of whack.

Carbon dioxide is created when any material containing carbon is burned, such as oil, coal, natural gas, or wood. Methane from livestock and fracking also contribute to greenhouse gases.

Since the outset of the industrial revolution in the late 1700s, the carbon dioxide concentration in Earth's atmosphere has increased by about 34%, most rapidly from about 1960 onward. Human activities currently release about 37 billion metric tons of CO2 per year, which equates to about 5% of natural CO2 emissions. Natural processes absorb the equivalent of all natural emissions plus about 57% of man-made emissions, leaving an additional 16 billion metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere each year (2011).

During March of 2015 CO2 levels were sustained at 400ppm, the highest value since measurements began.

"Over the past few years we have seen an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, winters, massive floods, heat waves and droughts." - Ph.D. biologist Richard Hilderman

With temperatures rising both the land and oceans heat up. More heat means more evaporation; the oceans lose more water to the atmosphere and must dump it somewhere. Warm ocean fueled storms create rain and wind; coastal storms become more frequent and extreme. More heat means the already dry semi-arid and desert areas become dryer due to an increased rate of evaporation. Weather patterns we think of as normal change.

As water heats it expands increasing in volume. Ice in polar regions is melting. Glaciers are receding. The ocean level has risen 17.5cm (7 inches) in the last 100 years. According to NASA satellite imagery sea level rose 6.4cm from in just 10-years (1993-2013). so the rate of rise is increasing in tandem with CO2 levels.

With climate patterns shifting many places that are heavily inhabited no longer have enough rainfall to support the population, while other areas that already get lots of rain now get even more having to deal with periodic flooding.

The effect of global warming is polarizing weather patterns even if the yearly averages remain the same. Ten is the average of 9 and 11, but so are 1 and 19.

Earth recycles everything as our ecosystem is in fact a closed system. The amount of water stays the same; it just moves around. Distribution is the issue, and as this changes due to global warming humans will have to adapt by using less water in already arid climates...or move.

Green lawns in desert areas don’t make sense. Would we rather have food, or a nice lawn?

Most humans are not good with rapid change. We get comfortable with things as they are, as they have always been, and expect status quo to continue. There is a sense of entitlement. Some with faith believe a greater power is in control so their actions are of no consequence. In fact every choice we make as a consumer counts toward the quality of our environment and for future generations.

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