In the United States, April celebrates the outdoors with National Garden Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, and National Wildlife Week as well as Earth Day which is April 22nd. So this month's blog posts are going to focus on all things sustainability and the health of the planet. If you've been following me for any length of time on social media then you know I'm a tree hugger, outdoors lover and sustainability advocate so I'm excited to bring that passion to you!
"In 1938, Guy Callendar connected carbon dioxide increases in Earth's atmosphere to global warming" and ever since then, scientists have known that this would be a growing issue and concern for the fate of the planet.
According to climate.gov:
Earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.14° Fahrenheit (0.08° Celsius) per decade since 1880, or about 2° F in total.
The rate of warming since 1981 is more than twice as fast: 0.32° F (0.18° C) per decade.
2022 was the sixth-warmest year on record based on NOAA’s temperature data.
The 2022 surface temperature was 1.55 °F (0.86 °Celsius) warmer than the 20th-century average of 57.0 °F (13.9 °C) and 1.90 ˚F (1.06 ˚C) warmer than the pre-industrial period (1880-1900).
The 10 warmest years in the historical record have all occurred since 2010.
What's the difference between global warming and climate change?
According to the USGS. gov, "“Global warming” refers to the rise in global temperatures due mainly to the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. “Climate change” refers to the increasing changes in the measures of climate over a long period of time – including precipitation, temperature, and wind patterns."
In other words, climate change is when energy from the sun influences the earth's weather and climate by heating the earth's surface. Energy from the earth is then delivered back into space altering the atmosphere. Some gases in earth's atmosphere trap this outgoing energy, thereby altering the earth's energy balance. These atmospheric gases come from carbon emissions from electricity, transportation, industry, agriculture, commercial and residential sources (see photos below). This can cause temperatures to rise on earth known as the greenhouse gas effect AKA Global warming.
Rising surface temperatures cause the ocean to heat up, glaciers to melt, sea levels to rise, land and sea surface temps to increase leading to droughts, fires and dangerous and unpredictable weather. All of this alters ecosystems, land quality and therefore crop production, and affects the animals that live in these environments, that includes us.
How climate change affects human health:
we will be living through hotter climates which can affect high risk individuals like those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, the elderly and children.
heat exposure diminishes our energy intake, hormone function, gut permeability, blood flow and immune function.
crop growth and nutrient quality are impaired which can lead to food insecurity, more desserts and dead crops.
water and air quality are impaired affecting those who inhabit those places.
life cycles of vector borne diseases and viruses will either flourish or mutate in order to survive leading to diseases we've never seen before.
as glaciers melt, the fossilized bacteria and pathogens get into our air and water supplies bringing about new diseases we haven't had to deal with.
Call to action items: How to help
Walk more than you use a vehicle if possible.
Eat locally grown foods or grow your own.
Purchase energy efficient bulbs to use in your home.
Meat and dairy products typically have the largest footprint from manufacturer to your table, so eating more produce and grains can reduce your carbon footprint.
Ensure your home is well weatherized; You can make your space more energy efficient by sealing drafts and ensuring your home is adequately insulated.
Reduce water use at home; shut off the water when you're brushing your teeth and washing your face, when warming up the shower water, actually get into the shower when it's warm, don't walk away and forget about it, dump old pet water into plants.
Pull plugs when appliances aren't in use or purchase on/off switches for your devices. Things that are plugged in are still drawing power.
Learn what your township/city/community does for recycling, most have a curb-side program but not every program is the same, meaning not everything is acceptable for recycling, CLICK HERE to see what your area is capable of!
According to nrdc.rog, In the United States, the average person makes 4.5 pounds of trash every day and luckily, more than one third of the trash is recycled or composted. "In 2014 this saved carbon emissions equivalent to the yearly output of 38 million passenger cars. Reduce should always be the number-one priority,” says NRDC senior resource specialist Darby Hoover. But, you must recycle according to the rules of your municipality, since systems vary widely by location. Search your municipality’s sanitation department (or equivalent) webpage to learn exactly what you can place in the recycling bin, as counties and cities often differ in what they accept.
I hope this inspires you to get started on living a more eco-friendly lifestyle and doing your part to help the planet no matter how small of difference or impact you make!