An Intro & The Science
Being an "environmentalist" has been given bad connotations from some groups. And sometimes this is furthered with terms like, "tree huggers" where images of hippie's with bandanas fill the mind. However whatever your religion or party affiliation, you and your children and family deserve to have clean air and water. In that way, we are all environmentalists! We should all look for ways to stop global warming.
Global warming has become the most urgent problem of our lifetime. And...it's not too late; even with 2 F in the "pipeline" (there is a lagged response from what we've put in the air and the global temperature), do we want only the 2 F or 5 F or more warming?
Some sobering facts:
- Americans are the biggest contributors to global warming, yet we do the least as a country.
- The fuel efficiency of U.S. cars has regressed to the lowest rate in 20 years (largely thanks to the popularity of SUV's).
- We continue building carbon-spewing, coal-burning power plants (which account for 40% of emissions).
- There is more CO2 in the atmosphere than at any time in the last 650,000 years, at least 70 tons per day goes into the air.
- More CO2 means more heat, warmer oceans, larger number of intense hurricanes (like Katrina in 2005), more severe weather, more drought in some locations, more heatwaves, melting ice, rising sea levels, and flooding of low lying coastal areas (80% of world population lives in coastal areas).
- 99% of Alaska's glaciers are melting.
- Warmer winters mean bad news for the skiing industry with less snow. Less snow is bad for reservoirs in the Western U.S. cities depend on the snow melt to replenish in the spring.
- Syrup production can be adversely affected by mild winters as the trees are "tricked" into production mode too early and quality and amount suffers.
Other consequences of global warming:
- Flowers bloom later; butterfly population at new low
- Polar bears are suffering as their habitat becomes less favorable for hunting seals (lack of ice) and increase mortality of mother and pups. Drowning and lack of food major culprits.
- Extinction of more than a million species expected by 2050
- Increase in poison ivy plants and potency - happen to thrive with an increase in CO2 (don't need to convince anyone that this isn't favorable)
- Agriculture can take a hit with more rapid evaporation, faster drying, but more erratic (and at times) intense precipitation