To whom it may concern,
Have you ever consumed beef? Basked in air conditioning? Or driven when you could have walked or biked? I know that I personally do these things, for example right now I am basking in cold air conditioning and I’m really loving it. Unfortunately, these are all major contributors to greenhouse gases and these are all things that the majority of the worlds population does. So why are green house gases so horrible for the earth? What harm do they really do?
Greenhouse gases for the past 800,000 years have approximately doubled, creating a heavy, heated blanket to suffocate our earth. Naturally greenhouse gases creates a blanket around the earth, they absorb some of the heat from the sun and make it so that earth is livable. The gases that make up that part of the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases.
These gases all come from things you see everyday such as cars, cows, fertilizers, refrigerators, and air conditioning. Carbon dioxide makes up about 80% of the greenhouse gases, which is produced from cars, electricity, and fossil fuel consumption. Methane makes up about 10% of human made greenhouse gases and methane is produced from cows, chickens, and home waste that goes in landfills. Nitrous oxide is a gas that comes from agricultural fertilizers and nitrous oxide makes up about 7% of greenhouse gases. Finally fluorinated gas only makes up about 2% of human made greenhouse gas, this gas is only human made as well and wouldn’t exist in the atmosphere naturally and it has the longest atmospheric lifetime. Fluorinated gas comes from refrigerants, fire retardants, and aerosol propellants. Each of these extra human made gases cause climate change and effect the earth and environment in more severe ways than you may think.
Because of the increased amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere more sunlight and heat gets trapped in the atmosphere. I’m sure you all of heard about global warming, which is another word for this issue, but there is a problem with that term. Global warming implies that everything is just getting warmer when that isn’t exactly the case. While the atmosphere is getting hotter the rest of the earth does carry on with its seasons and climate. Meaning that when it is summer it will get warmer and there will be droughts. From these droughts you can get wildfires or intense storms from the water vapor. Storms will lead to dropping temperatures mixed with greenhouse gas heat or in simpler terms tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. Winter would have the same effect, except there may be less snow until a giant blizzard or there will be intense freezing.
There are ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases you emit. Instead of driving, you could bike or walk or even use public transportation. Eat a chicken burger instead of a beef burger, and an impossible burger would be even better. Make sure to turn off all of your lights when you leave the house, unplug outlets when are done using them. Limit the amount of air conditioning you use, open your windows instead. Compost and use natural fertilizers. Buy non aerosol bug spray and lotion sunscreen. These are all very good ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and even if you can’t do them all, please strive to just do one. Little stones can spread big ripples.
-Claire M. Carroll