Have you ever wondered why the number of people with asthma continues to increase? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people afflicted with asthma increased by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009, and is still growing. Do you know that in 2011 alone, there were a total of 302 disasters worldwide which consists of droughts, extreme temperatures, wild fires, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, storms and floods?
The statistics that I mentioned may be quite surprising for most of us but they are real. Pollution is at its worst, resulting in a growing number of individuals with respiratory problems. Disasters are more frequent and of greater magnitude, partly due to the changing global weather patterns brought about by what we all know as global warming. But what exactly is global warming and how does it affect our environment?
Global warming is the rise in the earth’s temperature because of the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, nitrous oxide and methane, which are trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. Global warming affects humans, plants and animals. Some animals are driven to extinction because of a break in their food chain and the destruction of their habitat. Some plants die because of the extreme changes in the weather condition.
Now that we know what global warming is, the next question is what causes global warming? One cause of global warming is electrical pollution. The burning of fossil fuels also contributes significantly to global warming. We may not even be aware of it but some of the things we do everyday causes global warming. These include using a hair dryer, using the air conditioner, watching the television, playing video games, heating food in the microwave or simply turning on the light.
How then can we help protect our environment? We cannot stop the icebergs from melting, neither can we prevent the rising sea levels. But in our own simple ways, we can help protect and save the environment. First, instead of using our cars for short distances, we can just walk or ride a bike. Vehicles are one of the major sources of pollution. If we walk or bike, not only do we protect the environment but we are also doing our bodies a big favor by exercising. Another way of helping save our environment is by conserving electricity. Using LED bulbs or compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent lights saves energy and will even reduce your electric bills. Turning off the lights and electrical appliances when not in use will save a lot of energy. Conserve water by fixing leaking faucets. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Take note that the supply of pure water is decreasing. In fact, there are some areas in the world which do not have access to potable water. Plant a tree. Plants need carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen; thus, will help reduce greenhouse gases.
Lifestyle changes can go a long way in protecting the environment. What is essential is to have the will to do it. Remember, we cannot rely on anyone else to protect our planet. It is our responsibility to safeguard the earth and its inhabitants. Let us all together work to protect our environment, for us, for our children and for our children’s children.
Brookings.edu. (2011). Chapter 2 - Natural disasters reviewed. Retrieved from brookings.edu: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2012/3/natural%20disaster%20review%20ferris/03_nd_review_chapter2
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, May 4). Asthma in the US - Growing every year. Retrieved from cdc.gov: http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/Asthma/index.html
Oracle ThinkQuest. (n.d.). Global warming. Retrieved from library.thinkquest.org: http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215471/global_warming.htm
Sara. (2013). 10 of today's most important environmental issues. Retrieved from webecoist.momtastic.com: http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2008/08/18/most-important-environmental-issues-of-today/