Do you ever wonder why the weather seems unpredictable these days? One day sunny, one day snowy? The unpredictability of the weather is caused by global warming, or climate change. Global warming is caused by the gradual increase in Earth’s average temperature (LiveScience). Climate scientists agree on the primary cause of global warming. According to Karl, Melillo, and Peterson, the atmosphere is trapping heat from the emission of certain gases, such as water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide; this is mainly the fault of humans (Karl et al. 13). As Americans, we ought to be concerned about the potential dangers of global warming. Although some believe the Earth will eventually restore itself, there are many reasons why global warming should be addressed immediately. Not only will global warming cause many economic problems, it will destroy the land and even kill people.
Many economic problems will be caused by global warming, especially if we wait to address the issue. The change in climate makes already arid areas grow drier with the heat (Union of Concerned Scientists). This affects agriculture in a negative way. If the grounds are too dry, farmers will have a hard time cultivating the soil in order to produce good crops. According to Jeff Spross, “as climate change increases drought and heat waves and shifts precipitation patterns, it threatens to upend agricultural production in much of the country” (Climate Progress). Also, dry soil doesn’t allow grass to grow effectively. Without the nutritious grass needed for grazing and with the additional problem of heat stress, many farm animals may become sick, causing the farmer even more expenses (Babinszky et al. 174). Not only is there the cost of veterinarian service but also the cost of human doctors should the risk of contaminated foods, such as beef, cow milk, or cheese, become realized.
Another economic problem caused by global warming involves cooling systems. According to Spross, the constant warming of the Earth will result in greater efforts to reduce heat in public places and to cool down homes. The energy it takes to keep buildings cool will cost over $200 a year per person (Think Progress). Also, the increased temperature of Earth can cause heat stroke and exhaustion in humans, making it near impossible for Americans to work outside. This will lower the labor productivity because many occupations, such as park ranger, mailman, landscape architect, and farmer require outdoor activity.
As discussed briefly before, global warming can destroy land. According to the National Wildlife Federation, the constant heat increase of Earth is resulting in dry, infertile land. This arid land doesn’t only create problems for farmers who are not able to effectively cultivate the soil, but it also makes an uninhabitable dwelling for animals (National Wildlife Federation). If the land remains dry, animals will continue to suffer from lack of water and will also be in danger of raging wildfires caused by dry, flammable forests. Even if a fire is caused by lightning or human mistake, dry land causes wildfire to burn on and on, seemingly unstoppable (Union of Concerned Scientists). Forest animals and woodland creatures are forced to run for their lives, but many are injured before they can escape. While some animals may survive a fire, others will not (National Geographic). Wildfires leave behind a charred skeleton of a forest, and animals, such as black bears and elk deer, may not have a safe home to return to (National Wildlife Federation).
On the other hand, global warming is causing flooding in many places. As the Earth continues to heat up, ice caps and glaciers are melting, resulting in severe flooding (Karl et al. 27). The flooding of land can wash away people’s homes and their belongings. As the ice caps and glaciers melt, the water level quickly rises, and that is a threat to houses built near water (National Resources Defense Council). Sadly, the melting of the ice caps and glaciers only add to the effects of climate change. According to a report done by Extreme Ice Survey, glaciers are what has been keeping our climate mild for thousands of years. Glacier melting doesn’t only affect humans, however. Certain animals, such as polar bears, are also affected. Polar bears need Arctic ice to hunt for food, and the melting of the ice is resulting in their starvation (National Wildlife Federation). According to the National Wildlife Federation, “a female polar bear reportedly swam for nine days- nonstop- across the Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe, costing her 22 percent of her weight and her cub.” This sad news goes to show what a negative impact melting ice has on the polar bears, who are now on their way to extinction. It’s awful to imagine a future world without the animals that have inhabited Earth long before this generation of humans.
Global warming is not just a slight problem— it’s fatal. It can kill people. Severe droughts are predicted as the Earth continues to warm (Karl et al. 37). Without water, the human body is not likely to survive for more than three days (Live Science). Also, as global warming results in flooding, people will be forced to evacuate their homes. Sometimes flooding reaches farther than anticipated, and many people are killed even though they have left their houses in order to find safety. According to Flood Safety statistics, “flooding is the most common type of natural disaster worldwide...” Two hundred people per year, in the United States alone, die because of flooding. In order to put a stop to these fatalities, global warming must be stopped.
Some people believe that we shouldn’t try to take action against global warming. Although it is mainly caused by humans, they believe the Earth is strong and resilient and will heal itself. In an article, Canadian journalist Neil Reynolds tells us Professor Laughlin of Stanford University declared that we should leave the Earth alone. He is assured that it will fix itself (The Globe And Mail). Proof of Earth’s strength and resiliency is shown when one looks at all the things the Earth has survived— earthquakes, volcanic explosions, etc., but, according to Professor Laughlin, Earth does things in its own time (The Globe And Mail). Even if the Earth decides to take care of global warming, it could be too late to save people and animals from the destruction that global warming will cause and is already causing. In Rebecca Leber’s article, “Climate Scientists Warn: We’re Almost Too Late”, it is confirmed by scientists that we have almost reached the point where global warming cannot be reduced (New Republic). If we continue to wait for the Earth to heal itself, we are allowing devastation to consume our nation. It is also argued that while trying to fix global warming, we could cause even greater environmental problems (Opposing Viewpoints In Context). Although we could unintentionally harm the Earth, it’s better to take well-planned action than to sit back and watch land and all living things suffer.
It would be nice if the entire Earth could join together to fight against global warming, but every nation’s government has their own viewpoint on the issue, as the survey conducted by Richard Wike clearly shows (PewResearchCenter). Regardless of what other nations choose to do, however, the United States should take independent action on the issue and reduce global warming in this part of the world. By excessively burning fossil fuels and thickening the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, we have inadvertently helped to cause global warming (National Wildlife Federation). Therefore, it is our responsibility to fix it.
There are a few things that can be done to reduce global warming. Since it’s caused by the emission of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, global warming can be reduced by limitation of energy use (Global Warming Facts). The things that you can do to fight global warming may seem small, but when a nation of approximately 300 million people are all doing what they can, a change can be effected. For example, one person who covers their pots while cooking may feel like their efforts are in vain, but when 300 million people are covering their pots while cooking, or using steamers and pressure cookers, they can save over 60% of energy. Turning your appliances off instead of on standby, recycling at home, and even eating less meat are definitely ways to reduce global warming. According to Global Warming Facts, “methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters.” This doesn’t mean the entire United States needs to become vegan, but by eating less beef, pork, and even poultry, Americans can help reduce global warming and its negative effects.
Global warming is a devastating problem that is mainly caused by humans (Karl et al. 13). Instead of waiting and allowing the problem to get worse, America needs to take action against global warming immediately. Every day, food prices escalate. Every week, animals lose their homes. Every month, a human life is threatened by some natural disaster. The nation’s economy, the richness of the land, and the lives of many people and animals are at stake. We cannot wait for the Earth to heal itself because we do not know how long that will take. Global warming must be stopped now.
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