Here is another article I wrote in fall 2006.
Why I put that here is to review my article by myself in the future.
This article is written about environmental problem. I focused on global warming and wrote 1500 words.
Save the Blue Planet!
Have you ever considered how much we depend on Mother Earth? You probably would say “Yes,” as would I. But, in reality, most of us underestimate how much our lives depend on Mother Earth and how important it is. The air we are breathing, the water we are drinking, and the trees we are see from the window of our house are components of our planet. They are essential to our life. If we lose just one of these components, our lives will be in danger. Even though we all know that this will happen someday, and though we know what we must do to save our planet, somehow we are just not careful enough. As a result, we are facing many problems such as global warming, thinning of the ozone layer, and air pollution. It would not be an exaggeration to say that these changes of earth environment, occurring all over the world, are warnings to us about the future. In this essay, I will focus on global warming, one of the primary problems occurring these days, and I will discuss what the global warming is, which human activities affect global warming, and what we can do about this problem.
According to one research, surface temperatures on our earth have increased 0.5-1.0 Fahrenheit in the last one hundred years, with accelerated warming in the last 50 years. This warming over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities (McMichael). It appears to be a small increase, but, for earth, it is a crucial change; if the surface temperature increases constantly, then the polar ice caps melt quickly, and the sea-level rises. As a result of this, large areas of lower lands will disappear into the sea. Also, it is said that if global warming increases, arid countries will lose their moisture, and their already sparse vegetation will disappear. As you can see from these facts, these problems directly affects our lives.
Most of us know about these problems occurring on earth, but I believe that people still underestimate how much this tiny increase threatens human life. For in such a short period as human life span, great Earth seems not to be damaged much by a little activity of human beings. However, the reality is that it has noticeably suffered. Even though earth’s deterioration is almost invisible in our life time, once it reaches certain points, our earth’s deterioration will head for an irreversible crisis in the near future. Therefore, we should take responsibility not only to save the earth’s future, but even to guarantee our posterity’s life.
But why has global warming occurred? What is the primary cause of global warming? Again, human activities are mainly related to this warming. Human activities related to industrial activities and family-level activities have changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere by creating greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (Hansen). For example, using natural gas and oil, including gasoline for automobile engines, raises the level of carbon dioxide in the air. Especially in the U.S.A, it could clearly be said that emission of automobile engine occupies a large proportion of global warming, which is due to human activities. Lately, new technology has been created that enables cars to run on electric energy instead of on gasoline. This innovation would be beneficial to the earth’s environment, but these types of cars have not been popular in the U.S., due to a lack of publicity and the costs of buying a new car.
Also, it is the fact that many factories produce industrial gases which do not occur naturally, but contribute significantly to enhance emission of greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gas naturally plays an important role in preserving earth’s condition, in that it allows incoming solar radiation to pass through the Earth's atmosphere, but prevents outgoing infrared radiation from escaping into space. In other words, this process occurs naturally, keeping the Earth's temperature below a certain degree. In general, this effect is called the “greenhouse effect”. Without it, current life on this planet could not sustain its function.
However, once the rate of greenhouse gas in earth’s atmosphere reaches a certain point, it will cause surface temperature to increase to an abnormal length. Also, this increasing greenhouse gas by human activities has caused climate change. Abnormal weather phenomena such as El Niño are occurring all over the world these days; they warn of the earth’s approaching crisis. It is clear from these warnings that climate change will affect human health in many ways—mostly adversely.
So what can we do to save our blue planet? You might come up with one important agreement, which is related to global warming: the Kyoto protocol. This protocol is a global agreement, negotiated in 1997 in Japan, by which industrialized nations have agreed to make substantial reductions in their emissions of greenhouse gases by 2012. Now, more than 160 countries have taken part in the agreement (Kyoto Protocol).
Since then, many countries have ratified the Protocol and have tried to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gas. As a matter of fact, however, the U.S, which has emitted the largest amount of greenhouse gases in the world, has withdrawn from the protocol. Senator Byrd stated as its reason, “the Senate will not ratify the Protocol unless rapidly developing countries such as China are included in its requirements to reduce greenhouse gases” (Kyoto Protocol). Also, the current Bush Administration has rejected this protocol, saying that it would be harmful for the country's economy. I know, of course, that it is important to think about relationships with other countries, about economic strength, and about building a stable social infrastructure. But I also think that a government should pay more attention to the factors which affect its citizens’ lives directly.
On the other hand, there must be something that we can do without relying on government. The most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas is for each of us to think seriously about saving Mother Earth, on a day-to-day basis. One research shows that “heating and cooling your house can be a major energy drain, typically accounting for about 45 percent of a household's total energy use.”(What you). It means lowering heat by just a few degrees in the winter and setting your air conditioner a couple of degrees higher in the summer. This can add up to real energy savings. As in the above example, you can significantly cut energy use by setting the water temperature lower degrees in your house or office. You can also cut the consumption of wasted energy by installing efficient low-flow shower heads or washing clothes in cold water, rather than hot. Besides, it has been suggested that if 100,000 people who currently don't recycle began to do so, they would collectively reduce CO2 emissions by 42,000 tons a year. As an added benefit, recycling reduces pollution and saves natural resources, including precious trees that absorbs CO2 (Owens).
As you can see, all of these things not only contribute to save earth, but they are simple things that we can do in our normal lives. They may seem to have little influence on earth’s overall environment, but the steps that every single person takes in his or her daily life really will be the key to saving our earth.
In this high-tech era, it is impossible to live without the very technology which could cause the earth to deteriorate; focusing on reducing our technology would not be beneficial to us. Of course, it is important to think about how we can reduce detrimental effects. I can say that the government should pay more attention on this global warming and take concrete measures immediately. However, the most important point is what we do in our daily lives. Taking single steps to save the earth may seem to be of little consequence, but it is actually the key to saving our beautiful, unique planet and to guaranteeing our posterity’s safety. Now, let’s start from small steps!