To understand how humans cause global warming, it is important that you are aware of the link between your daily activities and the greenhouse effect. Furthermore, once you understand this, it is easy to see that you have the power to help stop global warming from getting worse.
Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been using fossil fuels to power machines. Now, nearly everything you consume, nearly every product you buy, and many of your daily activities, involve the use of fossil fuels. You contribute to global warming:
When You Drive or Fly
Every time you drive a car, carbon-rich auto exhaust enters the atmosphere. The use of jet fuel in plane travel also adds a great deal to your carbon footprint. (Though, cars contribute more per passenger mile in the long run). The transportation option that uses the least energy per passenger mile is clearly the bicycle. Automobiles (especially SUVs, light trucks, and minivans) use the most, followed by planes. Passenger trains, electric vehicles, and ships sit somewhere in the middle. Of course, the more energy used, the more greenhouse gases are emitted, the more humans cause global warming.
When You Eat Meat and Exotic Foods
The food industry, especially the meat industry, is one of the primary sources of greenhouse gases, according to some recent studies. (Note: it seems very likely that at least 51% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the livestock sector.)
Eating food that is shipped long distances adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Consider the fact that the average food item you eat travels over 1000 miles from farm to fork. In addition, conventional agriculture uses massive amounts of petroleum-based fertilizers.
Eating beef and drinking milk also adds to greenhouse gases, since cows emit significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon.
One of the best ways to cut your greenhouse gas emissions is by going vegetarian.
When You Use Electricity
When You Move Into A New Development
If you decide to move into a new suburban development near the edge of town, you’re increasing the profits developers get from cutting down trees and paving over farm land. When farms and forests disappear, the land loses the ability to absorb carbon, and emissions from other activities have an even greater effect.
What You Can Do
The effects of global warming have the potential to be devastating to humanity and the planet, which is why you must act now. You can reduce your impact on the climate by greening your transport, eating vegetarian or vegan (or doing so more), and/or going solar. Take action today!
1. How Humans Cause Global Warming
2. How to Prevent Global Warming on Your Way to Work
3. Ways to Prevent Global Warming Through Natural Building
4. Why Going Vegetarian for One Day Will Help Stop Global Warming
Image Credit: DocBudie ツ [away again] via flickr (CC license)
I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at: http://www.small-scale.net/yearofmud