Now that we know that we can't wait for our governments to stop global warming, it's up to us ordinary citizens.
If you're here, it's because you're interested in finding out more about climate change and how to stop it. Read on...
To explain how this mess came about, I can't think of a better way than this mind map entitled "The Science of Global Warming", by Jane and Sharon Genovese.
Click on image for a larger view.
This mind map and the following ones are from Jane Genovese's eBook, which I found on her blog, Live The Solution. There is a link at the bottom of this page.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explains that "climate change" is now in more general use, because it can refer to any significant variations of temperature, precipitation, and extended periods of heavy winds.
Human activities like burning fossil fuels, deforestation and urbanization add to such variations in the temperature.
Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface.
Scientists have identified a variety of causes, both natural and man-made. But we are mostly concerned with the heating that happens from the result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activities that affect the environment.
Click on image for a larger view.
Alterations in the atmosphere and extreme weather have a huge impact on agriculture. As you might realize, farmers worry about severe flooding and droughts.
Human activity has already changed conditions on the Earth. This includes rainfall amounts and the levels of carbon dioxide and ground ozone, all because of climate change.
The health effects are another serious matter: drastic climate change can affect members of society, such as those who have heart problems and asthma. In addition, the elderly and the homeless are highly susceptible to temperature extremes.
Climate change can contribute to air quality problems, too. Respiratory disorders may be aggravated by increases in the frequency of ground level ozone and particulate air pollution. Also, ground-level ozone can damage lung tissue.
If you live in a coastal area, you should be seriously worried about the rise in the sea level. This is already happening in several places around the globe, displacing entire populations.
It's up to all of us to stop it. Here's how:
Click on image for a larger view.
There are many ways, beginning with an awareness about the consequences of our everyday actions, which we saw earlier.
Greenhouse gases are released by using energy for driving, electricity and heating.
Look for Energy Star programs when buying new products, such as appliances for your home. Seek out certified products when you shop for heating and cooling equipment, home electronics, lighting and appliances.
Reduce, recycle and reuse as much as you can. Make a habit of taking your reusable shopping bags, not only to the grocery store, but also to the drug store, the hardware store -- in fact, there isn't a store where you can't use them, so make sure they're always in the trunk of the car. Here's a trick I use to help me remember to take them into the store: I put my purse in the trunk, next to the bags.
Join a recycling program in your community, to recycle newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Recycle everything from shampoo bottles and yogurt containers to batteries and ink cartridges.
Another culprit is deforestation; therefore, it goes without saying that if we stop deforestation, global warming will be affected in a positive way. Plant a tree today!
(Log cabins are a different matter. If you're building from scratch, you might want to look into that. A good place to start would be the website log-cabins-revealed.com.)
If you live on a farm, or would like to, learn about Permaculture and get inspired by the folks at www.small-farm-permaculture-and-sustainable-living.com.
Last but not least, make your house as energy efficient as you can afford. Look at the other sections of this website for some pointers. A good place to start is our page on energy audits or our huge section on home insulation.
With a little education and change in lifestyle you too can do your part in preventing or reversing climate change.
UPDATE: FEWER PEOPLE ARE ASKING "DOES GLOBAL WARMING EXIST?"
David Suzuki explains why in this new article, Climate change deniers are almost extinct.
In case you're still wondering "Does global warming exist?", you can get the right information if you look in the right places.
First, don't forget to download Jane Genovese's excellent FREE eBook, Global Warming, A Mind Mapper's Guide to the Science and Solutions. (Click on link below, then on "ebook" at the top of the page.)
Ms Genovese's web page, http://learningfundamentals.com.au/resources/ is a goldmine of links on the subject. (Opens a new window.)
I heartily recommend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's Climate Change Information Kit. Don't be put off by the long name! The language is simple and straightforward and there's a PDF version that you can download.
As well, there's hardly a question about the subject that isn't answered on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's extensive site: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange. It's well worth a visit.
For ongoing, up-to-the-minute information about the environment, check out the David Suzuki Foundation's publications. You could also subscribe to their newsletter, Science Matters. Start out by reading this article about why Harming the environment is bad for the economy.
And if you're up to it (it's lengthy and thorough!), read the definitive article on the subject, How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused, by Donald R. Prothero, in Skeptics Magazine. It's well worth the time.
Finally, here's a satyrical view of the subject, courtesy of ReimagineCBC.
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Prague, Czech Republic
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A few years ago, I bought this fixer-upper for $10,000.
It had been vacant for six years, had no water supply, needed a new roof, and was likely to conceal an unsuspected number of nasty flaws.
Don't believe me? See these "Before" pictures.
My intention was to turn it into as "green" as home as I could, within my physical, financial, and geographical limits – and to share this adventure with you, step-by-step and dollar-by-dollar.
I'm not quite finished, but I do have a few "After" pictures to show.
If you want to follow me on this exciting adventure, you can subscribe to this site by RSS feed -- see the box below the navigation bar on the left.