Ph.D. Student - Earth System Science (UC Irvine), B.Sc. - Atmospheric Sciences (Cornell University)
By: Zachary Labe , 02:34 PM GMT del 22 Aprile 2008
Earth Day 2008-
(Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area)
Well one of my least favorite topics is the topic of climate change. Typically I try not to get into conversations or debates about the whole idea, though my opinion means little in the whole scheme of things. But as Earth Day approaches it is time to reflect on climate change and human's impact on our environment. As the population of Earth increases and resources become more limited due to expansion of suburbs and cities, nature’s most precious resources are put on threat. And now is the time for preservation and conservation. Included in this blog are pictures of State Parks in Pennsylvania. These are some of my pictures from around the state. My goal of this blog is to help make people aware of the environment and to help show people the beauty of the planet.
(Hyner View State Park)
History of Earth Day...
During the 1960s and 1970s, an environmental movement occurred across the United States. Many new environmental laws were announced along with some federal organization. The main start of the environmental movement was after the book "Silent Spring" was written by Rachel Carson. The book described on the effects of fertilizers effects on the environment. The book created lots of stir along with farmers and other people, leading to the agency of The Environmental Protection Agency's development on December 2, 1970. I have read "Silent Spring" and it is a very interesting book and I recommend it to most anyone. Early that same year in 1970 senator Gaylord Nelson announced plans of an environment awareness day to be held in the spring. Officially in a few years that day would hold the title of the present day "Earth Day" which is held on April 22 every year. Also in the 1970s the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were formed, helping to cut back on water and air pollution. These regulations from those acts are still being followed today. Every Earth Day, activists plan larger and larger plans for the new year on how to conserve the environmental. The Weather Channel is one of the big leaders in preventing climate change.
(Swatara Creek State Park)
The major topic in the world of science in the past few decades is CLIMATE CHANGE/GLOBAL WARMING. Scientist for decades have been investigating the warming of the planet and the shrinking of the ozone layer. But only recently has the real awareness begun. With the Weather Channel hyping global warming everyday and the movie Inconvient Truth by Nobel Piece Prize Winner Al Gore, the public being completely aware of the possible effects of global warming. Though more and more people are looking at the other argument that human influenced global warming is not occurring. But it is hard to go against the facts the past decade has been the warmest in a long time with the year 2005 being the warmest on record. And just this recent March last month take a look at the temperature anomalies.
("Courtesy of NOAA")
And it is hard to against the fact the past winters have been getting warmer. Most people would admit that. The last real severe winter worldwide was the 2002-2003 winter. Now this past winter (2007-2008) broke many snow records, but overall it was not too cold.
("Courtesy of NOAA")
Notice the increasing temperatures each decade during the January to March time period. And now looking at snow cover since 1970 you can see the diminishing snow cover. Though this January the widest North America snow cover occurred since the 1960s.
("Courtesy of NOAA")
So it is easy to see that based on these graphs the severity of winters has been overall decreasing. Though I bet some New England and Great Lakes folks were argue that after the dumping of snow they received. Now here is also something very interesting. Look at this United States population map compared to a carbon dioxide output map. Note the areas with the largest populations have the largest CO2 output. Now most people already know this, but this C02 map shows the areas the need improvement.
(“Courtesy of NASA”)
(“Courtesy of Wikimedia”)
So overall it is very visible that population has a great impact on Carbon Dioxide Emissions. And note one other thing, Pennsylvania is one of the key contributors to the CO2 emissions. And it is up to us to make a difference. Now that I have showed you some of the facts below are some of my thoughts on global warming.
(Pennsylvania Grand Canyon)
My thoughts on Global Warming...
Well I am usually not to vocal about my thoughts on climate change, and especially I do not usually express them here on the blog. But since Earth Day is basically a climate awareness day, I decided to explain some of my thoughts. Honestly I am not really on the bandwagon like many people about global warming. I have done quite a bit of research on the subject with both arguments have I am satisfied with my solution of only cycles. Now I know it is impossible to ignore the facts that recently it has been overall getting warmer. But I believe that the Earth goes through several cycles such as ice ages and warm periods. Take for example the time period in the late 1500s. This time period was much warmer than it is currently today. This is how Greenland got its name. Now today Greenland is frozen tundra. But in the 1500s it was a warm climate where there were many green valleys, hence the name Greenland. The Vikings discovered Greenland, and those people concluded that the land was very fertile. But as another cycle occurred a century later the "Little Ice Age" occurred and this is when the Vikings population disappeared. After the Little Ice Age occurred the global temperatures warmed up and they have been warming every since. I believe the sun has a large impact on the Earth's Climate. And recent research shows that the sun is entering a new sun spot cycle that is abnormally low. And NASA's research shows that low sun spot cycles are correlated to low global average temperatures. And released by the Florida Science Research Center, they believe in less than a decade the Earth will enter a period of dangerously cold weather. This story has even recently been presented to the White House this year. Link. Now I do believe humans do slightly contribute to the warming of the Earth, but I do not think it is as extreme as some scientists make it out to be. And I am willing to help the Earth by changing my daily lifestyle slightly to even make the smallest of differences.
(Little Pine Creek State Park)
Earth Day 2008...
Well yes it is that time of year again. The time where many people who abuse the Earth's resources throughout the year decide to go out and conserve and plant a tree. Though that is great, but Earth Day should be every day. And while I do consider myself a big environmentalist, I still try to conserve energy and continue to plant large gardens and trees each year. Even if humans do not make that large of an impact in the whole scheme of things, still little things can make a big difference. As usual each year Earth Day festivities get larger and larger, especially with companies such as "The Weather Channel" promoting climate change so rapidly. So in this section I thought I would provide some interesting facts about conserving energy and preserving the environment that can be done by anyone and costs only a little bit of time and money.
First off let me start with Light Bulbs... The new fluorescent light bulbs are the way of the future. Conserving and using about 75% less energy than the typical incandescent light bulb, the fluorescent bulbs may be a new solution in the fight against global warming. Here are some interesting statistics from PP&L electric. For those who may not know, PP&L electric are a popular Pennsylvania power company. From a time period from last November through January, over 70,000 people took a survey are then received two free fluorescent bulbs (including me, lol!). So around 140,000 bulbs were given out. Those bulbs save over 6.9million dollars in energy costs. Also the bulbs have the same effect as planting 12,000 trees and taking over 8,000 cars off the road. I am proud to say most of my light bulbs are the new fluorescent and I plan this Earth Day to replace all of the other bulbs that are left.
The bulbs also last 10x longer and give off 75% less heat, which makes the bulbs safer, and much more energy efficient. If every home in the United States replaced one old bulb with a new bulb then over 600million dollars in energy costs would be saved and over 800,000 cars would be taken off the road in green house emissions. The only problem with these light bulbs is they contain slight traces of mercury and must be recycled at your local waste management company when they burn out.
(“Courtesy of Energy Star”)
Here is another idea. Think of all the plastic bags that you go through in a week, let alone a year. Then all those bags go into land wastes and end of blowing away into the local environment. Reusable totes are an idea that many major companies are advertising, especially grocery stores. If you bring the bags every time you shop then plastic bags will not be necessary. This is equivalent to taking tens of thousands of cars off the roads.
Overall recycling and planting trees/flowers is a basic way to go and can help conserve the environment greatly. Many organized groups will take part in cleanups on Earth Day and plant trees around local parks.
Overall there is an immense amount of options on ways to conserve energy. From buying new appliances such as a washing machine will save 50% more energy and use 50% less water than a washing machine older than 10years. When buying new appliances look for the ENERGY STAR symbol. That means it is approved by the EPA and gives off little carbon emissions. Here is a list of websites that I compiled that offer some great advice on "going green".
Link - Energy Star.gov
Link - Home Depot Green Department
Link - NOAA Going Green
Link - The Weather Channel strive for Green
Link - TIME magazine climate section
Link - MSNBC going green tips
Link - Environmental Protection Agency
Link - Earth Day.net
The list of websites can go on and on. But I think some of those listed above are the best. Some of those sites have interesting surveys and energy meters along with interactive screens that allow you even to test some of the appliances. And even though I only listed a few ideas for going green, there are plenty of other options out there.
(Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area)
While it may seem like I am a full supporter of global warming, I surely am not. Many questions remain unanswered and scientists have a long way to go on the whole scenario. But I fully believe in conserving our planet's resources even if there was no global warming. So for Earth Day 2008 today, go out there and make a difference. Plant tree, pick up litter, buy some energy safe innovations, etc. Any number of small things can make the biggest difference in the long run. I will be interested in hearing what everyone is doing for Earth Day so please leave some comments. Also I will be interested to hear some peoples' opinions on climate change. This is my one and only annual climate blog. Each year for Earth Day a new climate blog will be issued. But as for the rest of the year I plan on not posting anything on climate change unless it is a major headline update. As for myself tomorrow I plan on replacing the rest of my light bulbs with new fluorescent bulbs and getting out there in the yard and planting some plants and seeds along with picking up any litter in and around my home. Have a wonderful Earth Day and enjoy the beauty of our planet. As for some of the pictures I posted of Pennsylvania State Parks. They are some wonderful State Parks worth checking out this summer. Here is a link to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website (Link). There you can find all of the state parks along with some plans that the DCNR has for protecting PA lands. Have a wonderful day!!!
(Pennsylvania Ice Storm of 2008)
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