Delicate Earth

Small Change for the Day

A small change doesn't seem like much, but many small changes made by many people add up to a large positive effect. For more changes you can make today read our article,
Simple Ways to Stop Global Warming.

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What are the Environmental Effects of Global Warming?

Scientific predictions about the effects of global warming on the environment abound. If only a few of the several disastrous scenarios occur, life as we know it on Earth will be radically different. Several of the most common concerns are listed here; however, no one can truly imagine what our world might become and whether our human lives will be prepared to evolve and endure the conditions. The bottom line is this. The Earth will protect herself from any parasite that attempts to destroy her. The Earth will survive, but we, the parasites, may not.

Glacier DisappearanceGlacier Flow and Disappearance

As the temperature on the surface of the Earth increases due to global warming, the effect on the ice sheets in the Arctic and other glacial areas seems obvious. Rising temperatures have decreased the total surface area of glaciers worldwide by 50% since the end of the 19th century. And more recently, the rate of glacier retreat has increased at an even more alarming rate. Almost twice as fast as they were only five years ago. As of 2005 the 11,000 year old snow cap covering Mt. Kilimanjaro has virtually disappeared.

So how does this affect us?

The easiest effect to understand is that all of that melting ice causes the ocean levels to rise. Rising ocean levels are expected to rise 6 feet over the next 100 years or less. This seemingly small amount of rise is enough to require maps of the world to be completely redrawn. Coastal areas worldwide will be flooded creating catastrophic loss of life and leave the survivors refugees creating an economic nightmare. It is predicted that a large part of the state of Florida will be underwater. Consider the population of Miami all without a home. Other, more densely populated coastal areas will suffer even more devastation.
Global Warming Candidates

From E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How or where can I recycle clothes that are too old or worn out for Goodwill?
-- Tim Cheplick, Perrineville, NJ

Just because that old shirt you used to love is too threadbare to wear anymore doesn't mean it has to end up in a landfill. "Consumers don't understand that there's a place for their old clothing even if something is missing a button or torn," says Jana Hawley, a professor of textile and apparel management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "Ninety-nine percent of used textiles are recyclable."

Sceptics and opponents often argue that the cost of combatting global warming will have a negative impact on our economy and be cost prohibitive. But the cost of NOT addressing global warming is a greater threat. Read our
"By the Numbers" feature.

Weather ChangesBizarre Weather Changes

Global warming offers more changes in climate than simply higher temperatures. Because weather is affected by so many factors, the jet stream, ocean currents, ocean temperatures, etc. the changes experienced when many of these factors change can be catastrophic. There will be more hurricanes and they will be stronger as the warm ocean temperatures that fuel these storms is warmer than ever. Areas formerly plagued by drought may be flooded. Areas formerly abundant in rain will have droughts. Tornados will occur in areas unaccustomed to these types of storms. Some of the consequences can already be seen. 2007 has shown extraordinary rain accumulation in Texas when it was previously in a 10 year drought. While this sounds like a blessing, instead crops were drowned by the rain and floods were a continual threat. 2005 proved to be the most active hurricane season on record with more storms with more fury than ever seen before. Leaving New Orleans and coastal Mississippi in ruins and still struggling to rebuild two years later. In fact, over the last 30 years, the number of level 4 and level 5 (currently the strongest level) of hurricanes has doubled. Weather anomalies like these are expected to increase worldwide because of the effects of global warming.

Health Crises Health Crises

Higher temperatures are a mosquito's best friend. These pesky buggers are notorious for carrying diseases. We're familiar with the threat of West Nile Virus and that is bad enough. But they can also carry Encephalitis, Malaria, Dengue Fever, and perhaps other diseases currently undiscovered. These and other disease carrying rodents and insects will spread and infect humans in their path. And with flooding and ferocious storms, water supplies can often become contaminated with bacterial diseases. A clean water supply in some areas may be a rarity as global warming continues to worsen.

These are only a few of the many effects global warming has on our environment, our lives, our world. It is up to each of us to make small changes in our daily lives. Please join the fight. Spread the word. Do your part. Put the pressure on your representatives for tougher environmental controls and laws. Teach your children to live with a smaller carbon footprint. Visit this site and others like it and continue to educate yourself and others on what you can do to help stop global warming. Start here. Start Now.

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