Living Well on our Planet

Usually I like to blog about fitness, diet, and healthy tips for life, but lately I’ve been feeling that my entries are a bit selfish. Sure it’s great to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but what about the bigger picture? Shouldn’t we start by taking care of the planet we live on? Duh, Bailee.

As humans inhabiting this planet, we’re bound to make some changes. For instance, humans like to travel, but to do so, we need roads. Throw some engineering skills and the right resources together and you’ll find just that. Humans also like to travel more quickly and efficiently. Combine those same elements as before and you’ll end up with cars, trains, and just about any other type of transportation you can imagine. All of these things cause change, or rather disturbances in the Earth’s composition.

Photo courtesy of Free Images Live.

To provide a better understanding of these impacts, check out some of these facts provided by NASA Science:

  • Over the last century, Earth’s average temperature rose about 1.1⁰F (0.6⁰C). Since the industrial revolution, humans have attained the magnitude of a geological force in terms of our ability to change Earth’s environment and impact its climate system. Since 1900, human population has doubled and doubled again. Today, more than 6.5 billion people inhabit our world and so far, we’ve driven up carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by 30 percent.
  • Humans have transformed roughly 40 percent of Earth’s habitable land surface to make our crop fields, cities, roads, livestock pastures, etc.
  • Humans release particulate pollution, called “aerosols” into the atmosphere every day, which can both increase and reduce cloud cover. This drives up the Earth’s temperature.

So what? 1.1⁰F seems like nothing. Well, actually…scientists are concerned about Earth’s current warming period, as our world has previously witnessed extreme warm periods before. In fact, I’m willing to bet that if the dinosaurs could tell us how they feel about this warming period, it’d probably go a little something like this: Roar.

Photo courtesy of Chris Harvey via Dreamstime.com.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Earth’s average surface temperature could rise between 2⁰C and 6⁰C by the end of the 21st century. This will:

  • Cause longer, more intense heat waves
  • Increase rainy days
  • Increase severity and frequency of droughts
  • Cause Facebook users to stop posting mirror shots of themselves

Ok, so maybe nothing will stop that last one, but the first three are definitely a real possibility. In fact, in my very short lifetime I’ve already witnessed an increase in summer heat waves.

Now I’m sure you’ve all heard these facts before, but did you know that “going green” can actually save you money? It’s true! By making a few minor adjustments to your everyday life, you could end up saving quite a chunk of change. So according to the Stop Global Warming website, here’s what you do in order to obtain a nice hug from a polar bear (see video below):

  1. Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. Replace three frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Savings: 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $60 per year.
  2. Inflate Your Tires. Keep the tires on your car adequately inflated. Savings: 250 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $840 per year.
  3. Adjust Your Thermostat. Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer. Savings: 2000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $98 per year.
  4. Air Dry Your Clothes. Line-dry your clothes in the spring and summer instead of using the dryer. Don’t have a yard? Air dry half of your load and divide the savings in half. Savings: 700 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $75 per year.
  5. Reduce Garbage. Buy products with less packaging and recycle paper, plastic and glass. If you have room, invest in a composter. Savings: 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year.

For the complete list of tips, check out http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/take-action/action-items/. In the meantime, think about how much you use. Ask yourself if you really need that extra paper towel or if you can’t live without bottled water. I’m guessing if you realize how much money you’re wasting on destroying the Earth, you’ll start taking the extra two seconds to toss your plastic into a separate bin.

 

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