The oxford dictionary defines global warming as the increase in temperature of the earth's atmosphere that is caused by the increase of particular gases, especially carbon dioxide.
So how does it work? How nature intends for the sun to heat the earth is for the sun to shine UV rays down on the earth. These rays should then bounce off the earth and back out into space. To keep the Earth's temperature in balance some of these rays are blocked by the atmosphere from making it to outer space. The heat from these rays are then used to keep the earth at the temperature nature intended. However we are messing with nature's intentions. What is happening now is a severe increase in the amount of greenhouse gases being sent into our atmosphere due to advancements in technology and our huge dependence on heavy industry and fossil fuels. These gases act as a shield so that when UV rays bounce off the earth now the majority of them are trapped by these gases instead of continuing into space. The result of this is that these trapped rays end up heating the earth beyond the desired temperature.
Since the early 20th century the earth's temperature has increased by 1.4 degrees. The majority of this increase has occurred since the 1980s. 1.4 degrees that's not so bad, right? Wrong. The majority of the environmental disasters you hear about on the news every evening, scientists are attributing to this increase in temperature.
Critics will argue 'that's rubbish there have always been natural disasters, before we ever even heard about global warming'. OK so, I guess their right, the increase in weather related natural disasters from 120 per year during the 1980s to roughly 500 per year now is just a coincidence (insert sarcasm here). That is an increase of around 400% since the 1980s. If you look closer you will notice the number of natural disasters started to increase right about the same time the earth's temperature started to increase but that's probably just another coincidence as well. Remember this is the result of 1.4 degree increase in the Earth's temperature. This figure is set to reach 8 degrees in the next hundred years if current trends continue you can do the math on that one.
Scientists have also noted a rapid melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming. When an ice cube melts in a glass it turns to water and will increase the volume of water in the glass. Imagine this on a scale so large that the ice cube is a continent and the glass is the world's oceans and then guess what happens. That's right our ocean's levels rise and swallow up coastal areas all over the world. At the moment, we can see evidence of it happening in Thailand and this is one of many examples where hundreds have died and millions displaced because of severe flooding. In the future, low lying countries, such as The Netherlands, could be completely submerged and cease to exist if this trend is left to continue.
The whole point of this article was not to leave you with nightmares but to educate you into action. There are so many steps we can take on our own and as a society to help reduce our carbon footprint and leave a safe environment for our future generations.
'In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action', Tony Robbins