The last 20 years have produced many more severe weather events than any other time period since record-keeping began in 1880.
Often we hear and read reports around the world announcing the “hottest summer ever” or the “worst fires ever”.
The climate of the planet Earth is changing rapidly. Credit of these weather changes goes to global warming to an extent, caused by the ungoverned release of large amount of carbon into the atmosphere.
Global warming is making days hotter, natural disasters such as hurricanes stronger and droughts more severe. It is also causing drastic changes to the landscape of the world posing threat to wildlife species and their habitat. Rain is falling in heavy downpours as a result of global warming.
One can witness longer dry periods between rainfalls. Wet places have become wetter while dry places have become drier. The intensity and frequency of heat waves has increased. This is all a result of global warming.
Global warming causes warmer water in the oceans that pumps more energy into tropical storms making them stronger and potentially more destructive. Category 4 and 5 storms have greatly increased over the past 35 years, along with ocean temperature. Warmer temperatures caused by global warming increase the probability of drought. Increased evaporation during summer makes drought conditions worse and also increases the risk of wildfires.
The warmer temperatures also add to the energy of the climatic system and lead to heavier rainfalls in some areas. Scientists believe that climate change will increase the frequency of heavy rainstorms. This will lead many communities at risk of devastation from floods. National annual precipitation has increased between 5 and 10 percent since the early 20th century.
If severe steps are not taken to control global warming now, the world will witness undesirable results and more severe weather conditions. If we go on contributing to the problem and refuse to solve it, then the drastic effects of climate change are not only predictable but inevitable.
Plastic bags are potential threats to nature because of their non-degradable nature. What makes me said is the fact that despite being aware of their negative impact on environment, people tend to use frequently, ignoring their responsibilities towards Mother Nature.
I believe that reducing, reusing and recycling plastic is one of the several judicious ways to protect Mother Nature. These steps are simple and they can help reduce waste and make the environment cleaner.
We can encourage people to resort to environment friendly practices by educating them on benefits of using recyclable bags.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the three simple steps that are sure to reduce the negative effect of plastic usage to a great extent. It is totally up to us to judge if we really need a plastic bag for carrying a small candy packet or similar items. If that is the case, you always have the option to decline using plastic for our daily chores.
We can considerably bring down the usage of plastic by reusing it. If we make it the habit of people to recycle the products, it will benefit us all. Moreover, it is not necessary to get a new plastic bag every time you need one. Using the old one means you will require less, thus bringing down the demand. Last but not the least, recycle. Next time you go to a grocer or retailer, remember to return those shopping bags, bread bags and dry cleaning bags etc.
Here are some advantages of recycling that will help you make up your mind for going green:
1. Recycling is a process of converting used materials in to new products that can be used again. It helps conserve important raw material.
2. Recycling of products uses less energy than required in manufacturing of new products altogether.
3. Elimination of extraction and refining process lowers air and water pollution. It also reduces emission of greenhouse gases.
I have a question to everyone – Is relying on coal and oil for power justifiable? The answer from my side is a big NO for the reason that both fuels release greenhouse gases when burned. Both require extensive and sometimes dangerous collection methods.
Coal as well as oil are non-renewable and take millions of years to generate. There are a number of countries around the world that are trying to reduce the consumption of coal and oil by using biofuel as an alternative. I suggest the use of biodiesel that will surely help in saving Mother Nature.
Biodiesel, a biofuel, is an alternative fuel made from vegetable oils to replace petroleum products and reduce the dependence on oil and help the environment. It is a clean-burning, renewable substitute for petroleum diesel.
Let us take a look at the benefits of using biodiesel instead of petroleum diesel.
- Burning biodiesel reduces the amount of pollutants as compared to diesel fuels made from oil. They burn cleaner releasing lesser particles in the air which form smog. There is also a reduced production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
- Biodiesel is a renewable resource and can be produced domestically from animal fat, vegetable oil or used cooking oil. The crops used to produce this oil, such as soybeans and rapeseed, are found all over the world and can be replanted season after season. They will never run out.
- Also, it is biodegradable as well as non-toxic which means if it is accidentally released into the environment by a spill or other incidents, it poses no problems. It will simply be broken down like any other organic matter and won’t pollute streams and rivers, ground water, or the soil.
Using biodiesel is one of the best choices that we can make to help our Mother Nature. One thing we must never forget is that there are many more generations to come and we cannot lead to a better future if we don’t take care of the environment.
Floods, one of the greatest environmental disasters, are devastating most of the times. In floods, water inundates the ground causing soil to loosen, which leads to mud slides hazardous for living beings nearby.
The economy is greatly affected after the flood as billions of dollars are spent to rebuild and payback what is lost. Houses, roads, residential, buildings, schools, etc. – the complete infrastructure is left scarred. Thousands are left jobless and homeless.
The primary causes of floods are events like extensive rainfall over a long period and thunderstorms. Heavy rainfall in catchment area leads to flood through the complete course of the river.
Flooding is not just caused by swollen rivers but sea as well. Because of global warming, the temperature rises causing ice caps to melt resulting in increase in water the level of sea. In coastal areas, floods also occur due to high tides and storms, causing destruction of life in the lowlands.
Other than the natural events, there are certain human causes of floods as well:
Deforestation: Due to large scale cutting of trees near the rivers, soil is lost to rivers raising the river bed. This causes overflowing of the rivers.
Poor Farming: Some farming practices cause the soil to be washed into the river easily. People graze too many animals on the land for more money. Less vegetation cover leads to soil wash into the rivers. Over-cultivation is another cause of flooding that causes the soil to become infertile which is easily washed away into the rivers.
Poor Water Management: Poor construction and maintenance of dams is another major human cause of flooding. Their collapse can lead to sudden flooding. Of course there is nothing we can do to control the natural events but there is a lot that we can do on our part to prevent floods and the conditions leading to flooding. Controlling deforestation and following better farming practices will surely help. We can also make efforts to handle the after-flood situations to help the victims return to their normal life.
For every cause there is an effect. Nature treats us the same way we treat her.
The natural disasters teach us to resist nothing and to just allow things to happen as they are meant to happen. Natural disasters like the Sandy super-storm remind us of the amazing power of Mother Nature.
The lack of preparation and the increased coastal population exacerbated the devastation caused by natural disasters. This is because of the reason that most people don’t think these disasters will happen to them and so are not prepared for them.
A question might come to your mind – Why keep looking back at past events? The answer is that we learn how to move forward by assessing our past actions, especially when it comes to disaster preparedness and recovery.
The way of handling disasters has changed a lot in the recent years. This can easily be evaluated by comparing the handling of Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Katrina led to the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act of 2006 (PKEMRA). On the approach of Hurricane Sandy on October 2012, the Federal support successfully pre-positioned and mobilized supplies and equipment in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. However, Hurricane Sandy has helped to point out a few areas that could still use some work.
There are a few preventive measures which can help in reducing the effects of natural disasters.
- According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), floods are the most common natural disaster. One way to reduce the effect of flooding is to restore and maintain river flood plains and wetlands.
- Climate monitoring can help prevent human losses by notification of severe weather patterns. Storm warnings help in preparation and evacuation in case of a pending weather event.
- Individuals can take training from the American Red Cross to prepare for natural disasters. It is also wise to have an emergency preparedness kit in your home since some natural disasters can come without warning.
It is obvious that we can’t resist or fight against the forces of nature. But we can learn from the past events and have a better future.