The scientific evidence is compiling and convincing. There is no escaping it. Human reliance on fossil fuels to enable stronger economies and more comfortable life styles, especially since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, has made global warming inevitable. Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets are melting at accelerated paces. In tandem the ocean and sea levels and acidity are rising. Coral reefs are dying. Glaciers are retreating faster than ever. Record high temperatures are being recorded more often in contrast to fewer record lows being recorded. Stronger tropical storms causing increasingly greater damage are occurring. Conflagrations destroying millions of acres of habitat are becoming more commonplace. Wildlife is migrating further north searching for cooler, more hospitable environments. The most frightening situation to cite is Cape Town, South Africa. This cosmopolitan city is scheduled to deplete it's potable fresh water supply May 5, 2018. Citizens are mandated to using six gallons of fresh water per day. Six gallons per day! Americans use about 100 gallons per day. Many Cape Town residents have been using the same water for showers, laundry, and cleaning; limiting themselves to one shower a week or month; and flushing the toilet once per day.
The fossil fuel industry-the capitalists and politicians, the deniers of global warming, along with the uneducated-may lie to themselves to their heart's content. Fortunately there is a growing awareness concerning global warming. Individuals more concerned changing their modes of daily life to stem global warming today is increasing and their actions and voices hopefully will educate and mute those concerned with fossil fuel profits and politicians securing sinecures. The reader asks, "What can I do on an individual basis to help slow global warming, to reduce my carbon footprint?" The remainder of the article lists just four tips you can adopt to enormously assist with slowing global warming.
Recycling your recyclable waste helps enormously. Recyclable goods are enormously cheaper to produce requiring a fraction of the energy in contrast to using new raw materials. The use of fewer raw materials leads to less extraction, transportation, and production costs, i.e., energy, of these materials. Recycling will also lead to less landfill waste and incinerator usage to burn the waste. As landfill waste decomposes methane gas is produced. Methane gas is a leading contributor to global warming as it traps 21% more heat than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Burning waste via incinerators releases both carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is capable of trapping 310 times more atmospheric heat the carbon dioxide. Composting must also be mentioned. Composting vegetable and fruit rinds will not only fertilize the soil but the carbon created when decomposing will remain in the soil and not be emitted as carbon dioxide. As can be inferred by this short recycling passage, recycling does indeed have a multiplier effect.
- Using Biofuels and Mass Transportion
Until electric cars become mainstream adapting the use biofuels will help tremendously to preserve fossil fuels. Ethanol and biodiesel are the two most common biofuels in use and each has their own specific and ameliorating characteristics. Ethanol can be "mixed at any percentage with existing petrol engines" replacing gasoline, and modifying your car to use biodiesel with minimal conversions. The more often that mass transportation is used-when and where available-for commuting to and from work is self-evident as it will obviously lead to a lesser number of automobiles being used daily.
- Home Improvements and Adaptations
Adding more insulation and weather stripping where needed, and caulking where necessary will reduce the amount of energy required to heat and cool your home and can lower your heating costs up to 25%. Installing a programmable thermostat, lowering and raising the temperature just two degrees in winter and summer, respectively, can translate into saving 2,000 pound of carbon dioxide per year.
By using compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs rather than the usual incandescent light bulbs you will benefit as the CFL bulb uses two-thirds less energy, has a life expectancy ten times greater, and emits 70% less heat than that of a regular bulb. Remembering to turn off lights, computers and such at night and when their use is not necessary greatly reduces energy usage and decreases the reliance of fossil fuels.
When purchasing home appliances keep in mind that today's market is stocked with several energy efficient models all manufactured to conserve energy and using less water, especially hot water. Lowering the hot water heater temperature and decreasing the amount of hot water you use daily by taking shorter showers with more efficient shower heads or using only cold/warm water when laundering is also of great value.
4. Educate and Spread the Word
Educating your children and spreading energy saving tips to your neighbors, friends, and work associates and writing to your political representatives concerning fossil fuel consumption and global warming issues perhaps will have the greatest multiplying effect. If positive action is taken by the masses the effects will become exponential.
It's up to me, it's up to you. If the masses choose not to help decrease the use of fossil fuels posterity will pay drastically. The exhaustion of potable water in Cape Town, South Africa is just a prelude to catastrophes to ensue. Common sense tells me this calamity or something similar will be coming to a city near you in the not so distant future. By taking action now by adapting at least some of these tips your behavioral changes will help strengthen the planet immensely.