Take action to reduce global warming

We’ve all heard it before: the infamous one degree temperature increase that is shaking up our planet by melting our ice caps, increasing water levels, and causing polar bears to drown (which nobody ever thought possible). Former Vice-President Al Gore presents many of these dangers in his recent documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, though viewers may shrug off his allegedly “exaggerated” views of the future. His findings indicate that at the rate the human race currently emits carbon dioxide, our planet will experience effects more drastic during the next 50 years than the past 3000 combined. While we do not know whether the predictions scientists have made for the future will be accurate, what Gore has stated about the natural rise in our global temperature and its side effects so far has been substantiated with more than enough evidence. The main cause of increases in temperature is carbon dioxide emissions, which increase the thickness of our atmosphere, thereby trapping excess solar radiation. This increase in radiation heats up our planet and causes a host of negative effects. You may already know many of these consequences, but if you are interested in learning more, go to http://climatecrisis.org or http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/fcons.asp. Although our current Presidential Administration has made it clear that environmental activism is not a priority, it is not too late for citizens to take a stand. As one of only two countries on the globe to not ratify the Kyoto Treaty to reduce carbon emissions worldwide through increased carbon standards, it is difficult to say where our nation’s values lie. However, each individual can strive to cut carbon emissions through a few simple acts each day. It is undoubtedly more difficult for students to control their household energy bills, but the simplest way we can make a difference is by reducing our dependency on automobiles, which are responsible for one-fifth of all carbon emissions. Bike in the summers, carpool in the winters, and walk as much as you can in the meantime. Even when driving is necessary, make sure your car tires are fully inflated to get the highest gas mileage possible, and try to limit your car warm-up time to less than a minute. Need another easy way to reduce carbon emissions? Try recycling. It’s amazing how much energy it takes to produce paper and plastic products, but how little personal effort it takes to sort between them each week. Printing paper requires trees to be cut down, the best sources for reducing carbon dioxide in the air. Additionally, if you’re ever the one stuck with yard detail in the summer, leave grass cuttings and leaves where they are to act as fertilizer instead of depositing them at a local land fill. Though these are just a few ways to stay carbon efficient, a full line of simple tasks are available at http://www.slate.com/id/2151794/, complete with ideas on how to stay environmentally proactive through diets, clothing, and energy usage. Though it may seem like an exaggeration, the trends of our society will impact our world in more ways than we can imagine. We still have time to change what is yet to come.