Pollution is destroying the World (Call to action)


Joseph Radish

Imagine a world without people and pollution. There would be no people to aid in the never ending cycle of garbage and pollution that is killing our world today. The world would be a paradise.

The word global warming is thrown around a lot, and the amount of people that believe it is unknown.  Global warming is defined as a gradual increase in Earth’s atmospheric temperature caused by pollutants.  It doesn’t matter if anyone believes it, but it matters if it is true. The evidence behind global warming is astounding and almost doesn’t seem real. The amount of carbon dioxide is growing, and the Earth is getting warmer from it.

It’s not just carbon dioxide. Other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are also trapping in heat, making the world get warmer.

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th Century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. The oceans too have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent. This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.  Between the years of 2011 and 2014 Iceland lost about 1 trillion tons of ice.  Satellites can configure images of Iceland to identify how much ice was lost and come up with an estimate.

Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa. Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and that the snow is melting earlier.

Most of the warming has occurred within the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.

Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months. The increase in heat is the result of humans. We are destroying the world.

Americans waste nearly 1 million pounds of materials per person every year. This figure includes 3.5 billion pounds of carpet landfilled, 3.3 trillion pounds of CO2 gas emitted into the atmosphere, 19 billion pounds of polystyrene peanuts, 28 billion pounds of food discarded, 360 billion pounds of organic and inorganic chemicals used for manufacturing, 710 billion pounds of hazardous waste, and 3.7 trillion pounds of construction debris.

Sadly, less than 2% of the total waste stream is recycled in the United States. If the United States is considered a highly developed country, just imagine how worse the pollution is in other countries.

One great way to save the world is stop wasting water.  Whenever you have the chance turn off the sink while you’re brushing your teeth, use less water while doing the dishes, reuse rainwater, take shorter showers, don’t flush the toilet after you pee (if it’s yellow let it mellow), and wash your clothes in cold water.  An average American wastes 80-100 gallons of water per day.  Using these water cut back techniques will bring down average water usage to about 40-50 gallons.

Greenhouse gas emissions are destroying the atmosphere causing temperatures to rise all over the world.  There are ways to bring down the overall emissions, such as keeping less cars on the roads.  Cars produce trillions of pounds of greenhouse gases every year and getting rid of cars on the road will surely benefit the environment, taking more harmful gases such as carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.  

Driving electric cars, biking, and walking exist to make travel possible between places with no gas emissions.  Electric cars are great, yet expensive to buy and charge.  It’s up to you, the consumer to decide if you want to save money on a car, or save the world.  An electric car costs on average, around $30,000 to purchase.

Think about where you’re putting your garbage.  If you have a plastic can, don’t throw it in the normal garbage, throw it in the recycling bin.  Remember, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.  

Try to reduce the overall amount of compost you throw out.  Don’t throw out stuff that you just don’t want.  Research and find out if it can be recycled or reused.  An example is a day old loaf of bread, don’t throw it out, it could still be edible.  Take it to a food pantry or food pantry bin at your local grocery store.

People need to start to recycle and throw out less garbage to save the world. Carbon dioxide and other gas emissions should be monitored to make sure the amount being emitted into the atmosphere is not harmful. Watch where you throw out your garbage.  Take pollution seriously. It can change your life forever.