Friday, October 16, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS EFFECT ON THE EARTH

From the blog of Maggie of magglepie.

We’ve all heard about global warming. That pesky little business that tells us the earth is getting warmer, animals and plant species are suffering and the environment is getting severely impacted for the negative. Already, we can see the changes in places like Alaska, where Spruce Beetles are living longer and have killed off a section of forest the size of Connecticut (that’s pretty big; read some more about that here) and in some ski resorts on the East Coast closing months early because of the snow melting due to much warmer temperatures.

Ski Resorts closing early and the loss of huge amounts of forest land are minimal compared to the other things that can happen and are happening around the world and in our own countries. For example, the World Conservation Union says that a minimum of 40 percent of the world’s species are being threatened, mostly thanks to Global Warming. Also, many species of animals are becoming more and more aggressive, or are already disappearing. Polar bears, for example, are losing their main food supply, and as a result are more likely to start eating each other. In the Western Antarctic Peninsula, there are only 9 breeding pairs of Emperor Penguins where there were once 300. And according to the article "Post-Human Earth: How the Planet will Recover from Us," by Bob Holmes, if something doesn’t change, and quick, we will very likely be facing a mass extinction which will, this time, include the human race.

However, despite the rather daunting news that our climate is in big trouble, there are some things that we humans can do to help lessen our environmental impact, and hopefully spare the earth a little bit of damage and despair. Some of the many things you can do are:

• Recycle
• Reuse anything that isn’t recyclable
• Walk, bike, use public transportation or carpool
• Go Vegetarian or Vegan

Recycling is a huge deal. There are so many things that can be recycled, like newspapers, magazines and other types of paper, plastic and glass bottles, containers and bags and aluminum cans. Look for bins in your local stores, universities or other area businesses, or
get some bins yourself and set them out on your cities recyclable pick up day and save out on creating even more garbage.

If you have a bunch of stuff that isn’t recyclable, you can always reuse it to get a little more life out of it. You can hand down gently used clothes from one kid to the other or donate them to an organization for people in need. You can take old butter or margarine or Tofutti containers, wash them out and reuse them to store food, craft supplies or kid’s small toys or other items. You can take larger containers and use them as something really creative like a planter for flowers, or edging around your garden. If you do things like knit or sew, you can use clothes you won’t use anymore to make something new.

If you own a car and drive on a regular basis, try taking a couple days a week to walk or bike to where you need to go. If you live in a larger area, take public transportation to work or the store. You could also set up a carpool with some people at work so that only one of you has to drive each day instead of four or five people. The more cars we get off the road, the less gasoline we get in the air and the better on the environment we are.

Another huge thing that impacts the environment is how much meat people eat. Meat production has a hugely negative impact on the environment. It can take up to 16 lbs of grain to produce just 1 lb of meat. To give an example, let’s say that you go to the grocery store
and you buy a little container of 1 pound of ground beef. Number one, there’s no guarantee that that one pound of meat came from the same cow. It probably came from several cows and just ended up in the same package. Number two: to make that one pound of meat took 16 pounds of grain. Those 16 pounds of grain could have been used to make so many loaves of bread it would make a bagel junkie jealous. It could have been used to create cereal or any other number of items that use grain as a source.

An environmental magazine simply called E noted that in 2002, more than 1/3 of all fossil fuels produced in the USA were used to raise animals for food. That’s a huge impact, and one that could be reduced hugely if people omitted meat from even just a couple meals every week. These are just two huge reasons why going veg can have a huge impact on improving the environment. There are a multitude of other reasons that can be found at any of the following websites:

www.goveg.com
www.peta.org
www.vrg.org

Whatever you do to lessen your environmental impact, please make sure you do something. Any small step we can make is one more step in the right direction.

2 comments:

Gina said...

Excellent article Kylie! Let's hope many more will take on the personal challenge to use less, recycle whenever possible and do all we can to lessen our foot print on the earth.

Gina said...

And thank you Maggie for the article!