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Granola eating, Birkenstock wearing, tree hugging, liberal hippie. We have all heard the stereotypical, negative connotations used to describe environmentalists and conservationists. To set the record straight, I’ve never worn Birkenstocks; think they are terribly ugly, don’t recall ever hugging a tree, do eat granola but, I am too old to be a modern day hippie. I also support earth day, believe global warming is occurring, and I believed in the preservation of land, air and water; long before Al Gore made millions off of his “Going Green” campaign.
Let’s break it down. Global warming is the current rise in the average temperature of Earth's oceans and atmosphere and its projected continuation. The scientific consensus is that global warming is occurring and was initiated by human activities, especially those that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as deforestation and burning of fossil fuels. This finding is recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized countries and is not rejected by any scientific body of national or international standing.
The National Wildlife Federation found that the chief threat to the polar bear is the loss of arctic sea ice due to global warming. Statistical data confirms that during the 20th century, global surface temperature increased by about 0.74 °C (1.33 °F) . Obviously, those people who roll their eyes when I mention “Global Warming” and discount it as a hyped-up myth have never done the research, or perhaps they are indifferent to the entire concept. Or to use a southern idiom, "I don't have a dog in that hunt".
Global warming has a variety of causes. One of the largest factors contributing to global warming is the general problem of overpopulation and its many effects. We consume more items which take more energy to make, drive more cars, and create larger amounts of garbage. These factors all increase the global warming problem. Using a refrigerator releases dangerous gases, turning on the lights requires energy from a power plant, and driving to work causes gas emissions from the car and countless other normal activities. The most common gas is carbon dioxide, accounting for about 50% of all greenhouse gases. Other gases, including methane, CFCs, nitrogen oxides, and ozone, also contribute to forming the greenhouse layer. Our landfills are nearing capacity and with that they are being filled up with products that leak toxic additives into our groundwater. Take plastic water bottles, for example. The numbers are staggering. In 2003, there were some 40 million bottles a day that went into the trash; not to mention the toxicity we get during consumption and the fact that it takes some 1,000 years to biodegrade, if ever.
Let’s face it, our planet is warming, humans are mostly to blame and plants and animals are going to dramatic lengths to cope, as their future survival is linked to ours. So, you can call me a tree-hugger or Birkenstock wearing liberal. That’s o.k., I wear that badge with honor as I feel I am at least, in my small way, trying to do my part to save our planet for future generations. What are you doing? I wonder, "who has a longer life span, a stressed out conservative or a tree hugging liberal environmentalist?" I'm still here....