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Global Warming 101: Understanding One of Earth's Largest Threats

Is it true? Is the Earth warming? Is there anything to do? With such conflicted reports and opinions, it’s hard to know what to believe. 

Here’s a basic primer on global warming; maybe this can help you understand one of Earth’s biggest threats. 

How is Global Warming Different from Historical Climate Changes? 

Scientists have learned that the Earth consistently goes through climate changes, getting warmer and colder, and has been doing so for thousands and thousands of years. So what is the big deal now? Isn’t it just a normal change or pattern? 

Not really. The difference in the past climate changes and current global warming is that scientists are determining that the warming trend we are currently experiencing is largely due to human effect, instead of a natural effect. What Are People Doing that is Causing Global Warming?

According to a USA Today article, the fact that humans are adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the air is a major component in the warming trend. Vast amounts of land clearing in the past century have added to the increase of carbon dioxide because the trees aren’t around to remove the carbon dioxide from the air.  Another cause is the large amounts of fossil fuel that are being burned.

Why Is this Bad? 

The reason this increased temperature is harmful to the Earth is all of the effects the warmer temperature has worldwide. The warmer temperatures can lead to other negative components, one being the melting of the polar ice caps, which has its own dangers and negative repercussions. It is also hard to reverse this threat once it has already begun. 

Is There Anything People Can Do? 

Yes! Though it may be hard to reverse global warming, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. There is plenty people can do, and the past decades have seen big changes happening. 

  • Recycle, reduce, and reuse – Gone are the days when we can just dump trash anywhere and everywhere. People are realizing that anywhere is somewhere, and trash just doesn’t go away. We’ve seen great advances in recycling and the accessibility of it, in reusing products and reducing waste. All of this helps out because it decreases the output of carbon dioxide into our environment.

  • Turn off the lights and use CFL bulbs – Turn off lights and appliances when not using them or leaving a room. Instead of regular light bulbs, use the CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs that are now widely available. They use up to 75% less energy and last years longer, not only saving energy but adding to the less waste idea as well.

  • Be smart – We all like to think we are acting responsibly and smart when it comes to the environment and global warming, but for most of us, there is more we can do. For instance, plan your errands out so you’re driving less, buy products with less packaging, and when it’s time to buy a new major appliance, think about the energy-efficient ones. Teach your children about responsible living, and let them teach you a thing or two as well.


Heather Legg is a freelance writer who writes about responsible and positive living, small businesses, and other topics for sites such as