When you can’t seem to get warm in the winter, some people wonder how global warming can be real. Speaking as a former earth science teacher, what they don’t know is global warming causes erratic weather and more storms of increasing intensity.
Last year in the United States, we had multiple powerful storms hit parts of our country. Only a little more than a week ago, Hawaii experienced what could be the lowest elevation snow ever recorded along with an unusually violent storm.
Here in the Richmond, Virginia area, we recently experienced 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit this month (our normal highs this time of year are around 50). After that, the area plummeted into the low 20s and 30s for a few days, followed by temperatures near 70 again. Saturday, the 16th, we were back in the 30s with a wintry mix of precipitation.We had snow and sleet last night, causing delays and closings of schools and businesses today. It's supposed to be in the 70s by Sunday.
In general, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, ocean levels are rising. See the part under glaciers. One of Virginia’s islands, Tangier Island, is estimated to be underwater in about fifty years.
Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases have a greenhouse effect when they’re released into Earth’s atmosphere. See this information from the EPA—Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Overview of Greenhouse Gases.
If you garden, you’re likely to be familiar with how greenhouses function. They keep warmth inside them so plants can flourish. Earth is experiencing this now. In the long run, if nothing is done to significantly curb the over-abundance of greenhouse gases being released, the result won’t be good for life as we know it.
In our solar system, Earth occupies a prime spot. We’re just far enough from our sun to experience a planet teeming with living things. We’re in the Goldilocks Zone—not too hot and not too cold. Earth’s balance is being thrown out of whack. It doesn’t take much temperature deviation to accomplish that: Climate Indicators
Our oceans are becoming more acidic because so much more carbon dioxide is being dissolved in the water. That harms ocean life.
I really worry about what we’re leaving for our children and generations to come. They'll have to face the disregard for our home in space head-on. Earth is the only planet we can survive on without extraordinary means (space travel, environmental suits, and habitats, like the International Space Station, that approximate Earth’s balance of pressure, temperature, and breathable air).
We need to move toward clean, renewable resources of energy that don’t damage our home—solar, wind, tidal, hydroelectric, geothermal—and wean ourselves off of nonrenewable resources—fossil fuels—coal, oil, natural gas.
In case you’re wondering, fossil fuels are considered nonrenewable because they were formed over the course of hundreds of millions of years, and we’re using them up at a rate far faster than they can be replenished. They'll run out before humans do. Our sun, the star the planets of our system revolve around in our little spot of the Milky Way Galaxy, should be burning bright for roughly another five billion years before it goes through the rest of its life cycle.
I’ve heard excuses like the manufacture of the batteries to store solar energy causes a lot more trouble for our atmosphere than good ole coal, oil, and natural gas. Statements like those ignore the abilities of research and evolving technology to create advanced processes and products that don’t adversely affect Earth. We are inventive beings—one big reason we’re still here.
Let’s only have the dying world scenarios in our stories.