We May Be Small, But Together We Can Make a Big Difference

Oct 23rd, 2010 | By | Category: Youth Blog

Did you know that global warming is the single most dangerous threat for all animals – including us?

Global warming is mainly caused by carbon emissions from cars and industry – and even natural things (like cows farting and burping).

For those of you who aren’t really sure what carbon emissions are, here’s what they are.

When we burn fuel or run machinery or cars or stuff that gives off fumes, a big part of that is something called carbon dioxide. In small amounts nature has its own ways of dealing with carbon dioxide, but in big amounts it adds to global warming by going into the atmosphere and acting like a big blanket that makes the Earth warmer.

One of the ways nature deals with carbon dioxide is that trees use it.

The same way we breathe in air, use the oxygen, and breathe out the carbon dioxide that isn’t good for us; the trees take in the air, use the carbon dioxide, and then release the oxygen they don’t need. So we work well together.

But we’re cutting down more and more trees at the same time as we’re creating more and more carbon dioxide. So they’re not there to help clean it out of the air. AND trees are like big carbon dioxide banks, and when they get cut down they release all the carbon dioxide that’s been stored inside them and add even more to the carbon emissions!

Then all this carbon dioxide collects in the atmosphere and causes the Earth’s temperature to rise. It’s really slow and scientists aren’t really sure exactly how fast the Earth is warming, but even a small part of a degree can make a big difference in the environment.

Trees and flowers bloom earlier, birds and fish migrate differently, and weather patterns change; and all thse things effect the very complicated cycle of nature.

So it’s pretty important to reduce the world’s carbon emissions if we want to stop global warming.

What percentage of the world’s carbon emissions do you think are put out by the United States? I’ll give you a hint – we have about 5% of the world’s population.

If you guessed 5%, you’re wrong.

If you guessed 10%, you’re wrong.

Even though we only have 5% of the people on the Earth, we’re responsible for 30.3% of the world’s carbon emissions! We really need to work hard to reduce our country’s carbon emissions.

We can all do our part by walking more, recycling, planting trees and other plants, and being careful about how much energy and water we use. But the big changes have to come from factories and cars, and for that we need the government to work hard.

So far they haven’t and it’s going to be up to us kids to try to fix the problems when we grow up; but by then it may be too late. So we need to let our leaders know that they really have to do big things to make changes now and not leave it to us.

I know you’re probably thinking, “But I’m just a kid, what can I do?”

I wrote to President Obama about an exhibit on global warming and climate change that I saw at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. The last time he came to New York he went to the Museum. Now I don’t know if it was because I wrote to him, but the important thing is that the people there, who know a lot about the Earth, got to talk to him.

And you can do the same thing.

Write to your local government – your mayor and town board.

Write to your state government.

Write to your Congressman and Senator.

Write to President Obama.

You can find all the right addresses for the United States and state governments at www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml and your local government is probably right in your phone book.

Just tell them what you’re thinking and feeling. Tell them how important it is. Tell them it’s their job as the grown-ups to make sure the Earth is a safe and healthy place for us. I know we’re kids, but there are lots of us. If we all work together, maybe the grown-ups will listen.

It’s sort of like the Who’s in “Horton Hears a Who” – we just have to really believe in what we’re doing and make a lot of noise. We may be small, but together we can make a big difference.

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