Global Warming Global warming is affecting our health, animals, and the planet.

emission: producing something (usually gas) and allowing it to enter the atmosphere

regulate: control with rules and limits

climate: the weather conditions in an area in general or over a long period of time

degrade: break down chemically

Lyme Disease: an inflammatory disease characterized at first by a rash, headache, fever, and chills, and later by possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders, caused by bacteria that are transmitted by ticks

decelerate: reduce/slow down

What caused Earth’s climate change?

Data shows that earth's climate has increased by 1.4 degrees over the past 100 years. Elements such as coal and natural gas have a big part in climate change. The Britannica school says that "today fossil fuels supply nearly 90 percent of all the energy consumed by the industrially developed countries of the world". Carbon dioxide is a big gas contributor in the atmosphere. There are ways that "carbon dioxide is released...such as respiration and volcano eruptions and through human activities such as deforestation, land use changes, and burning fossil fuels...to a lesser extent, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities has increased concentrations of greenhouse gases," states the Earth Science Communications Team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. Driving cars and cutting down trees both have a warming effect on the Earth's temperature. This new weather can both change an animal's habitat and behavior.

Deforestation ruins homes for animals and contributes to the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.

How does global warming affect animals?

The change in temperature is causing animals to confuse their typical cycle. For instance, "birds are laying eggs earlier than usual...mammals are breaking hibernation sooner," said Terry L. Root, a senior at Stanford's Institute for International Studies. Warmer weather is usually an indication of production. Animals begin to think that it’s time to wake up or start mating. There are also many species that need certain temperatures in order to survive. Their homes are being destroyed by deforestation or in some cases, the melting of glaciers. The National Center for Science Education explains that "climate change causes plants and animals to relocate, disease will also move, exposing human populations and crops to new diseases...natural hazards, such as floods, fires, heat waves, and droughts...causes the ocean to rise." Due to the warmer climate, animals and crops are struggling to survive. They move to areas where they can, bringing diseases with them. This poses as a risk for humans.

Does global warming affect our health?

While warmer seasons sound wonderful for northern states, it comes with a cost. There will be "more deaths caused by extreme heat, more outbreaks of diseases from ticks and mosquitoes, longer allergy seasons, worsening air quality that could result in thousands more premature deaths each year from respiratory problems," according to Obama administration, says Brady Dennis, an author from The Washington Post. The air quality continues to degrade, and it has great potential to kill. The National Center for Science Education says that "climate change also affects human health and mortality, with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control warning about direct effects from...Lyme disease, hantavirus, and other diseases carried by insects and animals." Because some animals are moving to warmer climates to survive, they bring with them harmful diseases. Someone needs to step up and resolve global warming before it becomes a major issue.

Lyme Disease from climate change is increasing the range in which Lyme disease-carrying ticks can survive. Ticks are moving into Canada and other northern locations.

What organizations are working to reduce emissions?

Many organizations are working to reduce the use of fossil fuels and slow the warming process. Through groups like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who "finalized new rules, or standards, that will reduce carbon emissions from power plants for the first time. Previously, power plants were allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere," explains the Union of Concerned Scientists. There are also emission levels to follow. A little over 100 parties partook in the Paris Agreement, which "requires all parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts," explains the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change group. This agreement regulates the use of fossil fuels and holds the countries responsible to the emission levels. An even better way to improve our air would be an energy efficient option: wind power.

How can wind power bring us a cleaner future?

An alternative for the gases we use currently is wind power. The Environment America Research & Policy Center says that "if America were to take advantage of just a fraction of its wind energy potential to get 30 percent of its electricity from the wind by 2030, the nation could cut carbon emissions from power plants to 40 percent below 2005 levels". Over a span of 13 years, we could greatly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide with just a small amount of wind energy. Now that there is more use of wind energy compared to ten years ago, wind power has begun to "reach a cumulative capacity of over 75,000 MW in 2016...enough to power over 20 million homes", according to the US Department of Energy. Wind energy is a great source because it doesn't put gases in the air and is clearly a strong source of electricity. The replacement could greatly improve the air quality and decelerate the process of Earth’s warming.

Wind power is a safe and efficient way to generate energy. Though many farms do not utilize this fully, the future looks promising.

Works Cited

Dennis, Brady. “CDC abruptly cancels long-planned conference on climate change and health.” The Washington Post. 23 Jan. 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/23/cdc-abruptly-cancels-long-planned-conference-on-climate-change-and-health/?utm_term=.9299c6e947ac

“More Wind, Less Warming”. Environment America Research & Policy Center. Environment America. 4 Dec. 2014.

Patterson, Brittany. “Global Warming May Spread Lyme Disease.” ClimateWire. Scientific American. 4 May 2015. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/global-warming-may-spread-lyme-disease/

NASA. “Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” climate.nasa.gov. 8 Feb. 2017. http://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

"Fossil fuel." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 24 Feb. 2011. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017. school.eb.com.proxy.elm4you.org/levels/high/article/fossil-fuel/35002.

“How Will Climate Change Affect the World and Society?” National Center for Science Education. https://ncse.com/library-resource/how-will-climate-change-affect-world-society

The Clean Power Plan: A Climate Game Changer. Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved from http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/global-warming/reduce-emissions/what-is-the-clean-power-plan#.WJ4KoNArLBI

“The Paris Agreement”. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved from http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php

“Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy”. U.S Department of Energy. Retrieved from https://energy.gov/eere/wind/advantages-and-challenges-wind-energy

McLendon, Terrell. "What about the animals?" Skipping Stones, May-Aug. 2008, p. 16. Student Resources in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A179348372/SUIC?u=mnsminitex&xid=feef9a57. Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.

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Created with images by AdinaVoicu - "sunset sky sun" • Unsplash - "deforestation deforest lumber" • Jonas B - "First tick of the year" • Unsplash - "wind farm farm rural"

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