Posted by: fatherandson | 13 June 2007

Climate change: What is it?

Earth has warmed by about 1ºF over the past 100 years. But why? And how? Well, scientists are not exactly sure. The Earth could be getting warmer on its own, but many of the world’s leading climate scientists think that things people do are helping to make the Earth warmer.

 Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, for example) trap energy from the sun. Without these gases, heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF (about 15.50C) colder. Because of how they warm our world, these gases are referred to as greenhouse gases.

We can make a difference?

Climate change may be a big problem, but there are many little things we can do to make a difference. If we try, most of us can do our part to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere. Many greenhouse gases come from things we do every day. As we have learned, these greenhouse gases trap energy in the atmosphere and make the Earth warmer.

Driving a car or using electricity is not wrong. We just have to be smart about it.Some people use less energy by carpooling. For example, four people can ride together in one car instead of driving four cars to work. Here are some additional ways you can help make the planet a better place!

Read: Learning about the environment is very important. There are many good books that will help you learn. To get started, ask a teacher or a librarian for some suggestions. You also can look at the Links page to find other good web sites with information about the environment and climate change.

Save Electricity: Whenever we use electricity, we help put greenhouse gases into the air. By turning off lights, the television, and the computer when you are through with them, you can help a lot.

Bike, Bus, and Walk: You can save energy by sometimes taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking.

Talk to Your Family and Friends: Talk with your family and friends about climate change. Let them know what you’ve learned.

Plant Trees: Planting trees is fun and a great way to reduce greenhouse gases. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air.

Recycle: Recycle cans, bottles, plastic bags, and newspapers. When you recycle, you send less trash to the landfill and you help save natural resources, like trees, oil, and elements such as aluminum.

When You Buy, Buy Cool Stuff: There are lots of ways we can improve the environment. One of the ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we put into the air is to buy products that don’t use as much energy. By conserving energy, we help reduce climate change and make the Earth a better place. Some products – like certain cars and stereos – are made specially to save energy.

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