Sunday, November 20, 2005

Join the March

There was a great show on TBS tonight called Earth to America, a comedy event aimed at raising awareness to global warming staring many celebrities. This was a great show that was both humorous and informative, even though I already know a lot about global warming.

What most people don't understand is that the climate of the Earth is very delicate. The earth itself has it's own heat exchange system called the great ocean conveyor belt that works like an air conditioner, but at a global level. It keeps the temperature of the Earth stable ensuring that the summers don't get too hot or the winters too cold. They conveyor belt causes water to circulates through the worlds oceans transferring cold water from the poles and warm water from the equator. If this system ever breaks down the planet will experience a dramatic climate change as the oceans will heat up unchecked around the equator feeding huge amounts of energy into the global weather system resulting in hurricanes larger than any ever experienced.

To learn more about the great conveyor belt check out this page from The United Nations Environment Program or do a search for global conveyor belt.

I like to think of this in a different way. If you fill a glass with water and drop in a few ice cubes, the temperature in the glass will approach freezing and will not rise significantly above freezing until all the ice has melted. This is caused by the ice absorbing heat energy from the water. If you then take the glass and put it in the freezer, the temperature of the water will remain at freezing, but not below until all the water has turned to ice. I believe our poles work in the same way. If the Earth starts getting too cold the ice in the poles will grow giving off heat and keeping the Earth from getting too cold. If the Earth starts getting too warm the poles will start to melt absorbing heat and keeping the Earth from getting too hot.

It is a known fact that we are burning huge amounts of fossil fuels releasing huge amounts of heat energy into the atmosphere. This process also releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses which help to trap heat energy. It is also a known fact that the amount of ice melting in the poles is increasing. To say that there's no correlation between these two facts is like saying that it's just a coincidence that water starts to boil when you put it on a hot stove.

We must start now to slow down and eventually reverse this process. We must work to elect government officials who will work to help the environment and we must work to remove government officials who are only interested in financial gains. We must work toward developing means of transportation and energy generation that don't increase the production of greenhouse gasses. Examples of these are solar and wind energy. Being a water person, I came up with an idea of generating electricity from waves, but like most of my ideas, someone came up with the idea years before I even thought about it. See this page from the World Energy Council.

There are a number of things that you can do now to help. For one, check out the link at the bottom and join the march. Other things you can do is to reduce the amount of energy you use. For example, use compact florescent bulbs. I personally love them and only have incandescent bulbs is places where the lights aren't on very long. Reduce the amount of driving you do and use use public transportation when possible. When you must drive, plan out your trip so you drive the shortest distance and eliminate unnecessary trips. So far this year I've driven my car 1,624 miles and used less than 100 gallons of gas. I've also managed to reduce my electricity bills to less than $20 a month by turning things off when I'm not using them and using energy efficient appliances and devices. I've even expanded my energy conservation to my workplace by powering off everything in my cube when I leave for the day and enabling power saving options on my computer. There's a lot of little things you can do to conserve energy, and every little bit helps.

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