Our Earth is a finely balanced miracle of nature. Changes in one area create a ripple effect which touches each of us. Glacier thaws increase sea levels. Warming directly impacts weather patterns which affects every facet of nature: plant growth, species survival, and water resources to name a few.
I would rather say there are many here who would still think global warming will not affect them much. Take a moment and consider what it would be like to walk outside and not hear a songbird singing or on a larger scale think about turning on your tap to get a drink of water and there is none or going to the grocery store only to find shortages of staples because of drought.
Today I want to speak with you about Global Warming by first explaining briefly what it is, how it is measured and what affect it has upon our world. We'll briefly discuss how the earth's temperature and other weather conditions have been negatively impacted by the effects of global warming. And at last, I will explain simple steps we can all take to reduce the effects of Global Warming.
In order to understand the magnitude of the problems associated with Global Warming, we first need to understand exactly what it is. According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Global Warming is "an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns" (EPA, 2007, 1). Warming of the earth occurs naturally through reflection back to earth from the sun's rays by natural greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Without these gases the surface of the earth would not be able to sustain life as we know it now. The most recognizable greenhouse gas is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which often is associated merely with car emissions. This however is not entirely true. CO2 is a naturally occurring greenhouse gas.
The problem lies when we introduce manmade greenhouse gases into the atmosphere disrupting the natural balance and quantity of these gases. I don't want this to become a science lecture so we will not go into further detail about the types of gases. Rather, we need to examine the causes and quantities of these increased levels and the impact they have on our planet.
During the 20th century we have made remarkable technological advances which have improved our way of living. However, these advances have not come without a price. Since 1900 the surface temperature of Earth has risen by approximately 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, since we have been recording weather data it has been documented that the warmest global temperature averages are increasing. The hottest averages have occurred within the last 15 years. The highest temperatures averages recorded occurred in 1998 and 2005, respectively. Further, the United States while only accounting for five percent of the world population is responsible for production of 25% of the manmade greenhouse gas emissions (EPA, 2007, 1).
The impact of global warming is already being felt worldwide. Glaciers melt, reduction of the permafrost in the artic and Antarctica regions have already been documented. This melt has resulted in rising sea levels. Additionally, because of these climatic changes brought on by global warming we are experiencing a redistribution of wildlife including plants and animals. As we all have noted there has been a