((( SOAPBOX ALERT )))
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation.
“You look at that river gently flowing by. You notice the leaves rustling with the wind. You hear the birds; you hear the tree frogs. In the distance you hear a cow. You feel the grass. The mud gives a little bit on the river bank. It’s quiet; it’s peaceful. And all of a sudden, it’s a gear shift inside you. And it’s like taking a deep breath and going, 'Oh yeah, I forgot about this'.”
It's what Al Gore says during his narration of the film's introduction. And it's exactly the way I feel each time I walk in the mountains above the Salt Lake valley, or sit in a natural hot spring with the sunrise filling up the sky. I love the beautiful places of our planet, the peaceful places.
So I was pretty alarmed when I heard some of the global warming related facts and figures this film puts out:
- The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years.
- Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level.
- The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade.
- At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles.
- Deaths from global warming will double in just 25 years -- to 300,000 people a year.
- Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.
- Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense.
- Droughts and wildfires will occur more often.
- The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050.
- More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.
Who cares? Just get out from under the slide!
Anyway, this film kicked my butt and actually made me change some of the things I do (or don't do) as a result of watching it.
There are a ton of simple changes we can make to help cool things back down:
Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl) -- CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. If every family in the U.S. made the switch, we’d reduce carbon dioxide by more than 90 billion pounds! You can purchase CFLs online from the Energy Federation.
Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer -- Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has more tips for saving energy on heating and cooling.
Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner -- Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
Install a programmable thermostat -- Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. They can save you $100 a year on your energy bill.
Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases -- Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most efficient models. If each household in the U.S. replaced its existing appliances with the most efficient models available, we’d eliminate 175 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year!
...and about thirty more ideas on the film's website.
FIVE GLOBETROTTING BRAINS