Who Said Being Green Is Mean? | Teen Ink

Who Said Being Green Is Mean?

February 2, 2011
By thebushhippie PLATINUM, Sandown, New Hampshire
thebushhippie PLATINUM, Sandown, New Hampshire
24 articles 0 photos 49 comments

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Global warming is the average increase in Earth’s temperature, which results in a change of climate. I’m sure you have all heard of global warming before, but have you ever searched deeper into this not-so-natural phenomenon? No? Well, then let me do the dirty-work for you- I’ll dig deeper and tell you everything I’ve found if you promise to think long and hard about what I’m saying. Deal? Good.

In 2005, the Earth’s temperature had risen about 1.2-1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.67-0.78 degrees Celsius, since 1990, the start of the Industrial Revolution. This increase in global temperature may have started naturally, but humans have definitely made it worse. In other words, Earth may be entering a long stage of warming, but human activities are making it extreme and abnormal. One way we have done this is by releasing extraordinarily large amounts of greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are the main gases contributing to the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide is known as the chief greenhouse gas because it is made by humans in bigger amounts than any other. In fact, concentrations of carbon dioxide are 35 percent greater than before the Industrial Revolution, due mainly to human activity. Right now, humans are just making this problem worse.

Global warming isn’t just happening where you live- this is a worldwide fiasco we’re talking about. For example, the country of Bangladesh, located in south Asia, is having major problems because of global warming. First, the Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and not enough fresh water is going into rivers. Saltwater is going into fresh water estuaries and aquifers, contaminating precious drinking water and farmland. This is horrible because it is damaging the rice that is growing there, ruining their main source of income. In an average Bangladesh family, rice purchases count for 30 to 40 percent of their total expenses. In addition, the population of Bangladesh is predicted to rise to 240 million people by the year 2050. As of 2009, there are about 162 million people living in Bangladesh, which is only around 145 thousand square kilometers. Most of the land mass is about ten meters above sea level. Consequently, a one-meter rise in sea level would shrink the country by 18 percent, leaving thousands of people homeless. These poor people are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, nor are they well-equipped to adapt to changes in Earth’s climate. Bangladesh is suffering because of the ignorance of others. Nations that are big polluters aren’t showing promising signs of drastically changing their ways, or of helping other countries, such as Bangladesh.

Many people and countries are responsible for global warming. For example, the United States of America has allowed its greenhouse gas emissions to rise more than 15 percent between the years 1990 and 2004. The United States contains around five percent of the world’s total population, yet it is responsible for approximately 36 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, coal is a major source of electricity in the U.S. About 27 percent of annual global carbon dioxide emissions, or 2.1 billion tons per year, comes from burning coal.

Another country that is a huge polluter is China. China’s coal use is greater than that of the U.S.A. and Japan combined. Coal fulfills 70 percent of China’s energy needs. If this continues without changes, Chine will soon pass the United States as the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. Also, if it continues it could cause carbon dioxide levels to quadruple in the future.

Right now you’re probably saying, “Well, why should this matter to ME?” Here’s why: if we continue to pollute Earth’s atmosphere as we are now, the cost of damage will be much greater in the future than is we make an effort to change our ways now. Coral reefs are dying, many species of plants and animals are disappearing, heat waves are becoming more intense and frequent, oceans are rising in depth and temperature, storms are causing more destruction- the list goes on and on. If we don’t want our future generations to live in a world where there is very little water, where diseases spread rapidly, where millions of people are homeless due to flooding, we have to act now.

There are a lot of small things you can do every day to help the environment. First, you should carpool, take the bus, or walk places whenever possible to avoid taking your own car. This way fewer carbon dioxide emissions are going into our atmosphere. Next, use energy-efficient light bulbs in your home and replace old appliances with EnergyStar ones. This will save you energy as well as money. Also, remember to recycle whenever possible. If everyone made these small changes in their lives Earth’s future would look a little bit brighter and a whole lot greener.

In conclusion, I hope you’ve learned a lot about global warming and the future of humans and the Earth. It is my hope that you will continue this epidemic and hopefully make some changes in your own life. Who said that being green is mean, or that green is the color of envy? I believe that green is the color of unity, of success, of change, of hope. Together we can work to change Earth for the better, but first we have to work together to change ourselves. So don’t forget to be green!

The author's comments:
Global warming is a really serious and scary thing to think about. More teens need to realize that what they do today will effect them in the future as well as many generations to come. Please read, rate, and comment. Thanks so much!!!

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