Saturday, May 1, 2010

Global Warming: Brew Your Own and Other Things You Can Do at Home

By Amanda Valenti

Global warming is a growing issue in the world. Many people do not take it seriously so the human impact on the world has yet to see a significant decline. The most recognized reason for global warming that people understand is the release of greenhouse gases. This occurs through driving, flying, and general transportation as well as the production of many products. Anything that involved gasoline will emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Though this is the one reason most are familiar with, is it not even close to being the main reason for the change earth is undergoing on a constant basis.

People are continuing to purchase water bottles at an alarming rate and still most do not recycle considering only one in three water bottles is recycled. The price of bottled water is up to 10,000 times that of tap water, and with the current economic standpoint, it is a wonder why anyone would pay more for something they could get so cheap. With the high price of oil, this idea continues to seem counterproductive. It takes 17 million barrels per year to produce the amount of water bottles at the current rate, reported A little known fact that would likely prevent people from purchasing water bottles is that is takes three times the amount of water to produce a water bottle than the actual amount of water it contains.

Many people take clean water for granted. They do not realize how scarce fresh water truly is. Only 2.5 percent of the earth’s water is fresh and a mere 0.007 percent is ready for consumption. While the earth’s population increases and disease continues to spread, the amount of water per person will continue to drop at a steady rate. The constant pollution caused by humans has made drinking water harder to get and transport, thus contributing to global warming.

It has been predicted that within the next 100 years, Venice, Italy will go below sea level. The years following Venice would then bring San Francisco and Manhattan under water, according to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”. London and Taiwan have roughly 1,000 years left above sea level, according to recent predictions based on the current rising sea levels. People do not understand that scientists release these figures considering the most conservative approach. If anything does not go according to plan, these occurrences could happen much sooner than later. If people do not start taking into consideration that their actions are causing the sea levels right rise with the continuing warmth of the earth, these occurrences could speed up at a rapid rate.

Globalization, though many would not consider it a part of global warming, is having a rather large impact on the earth. Starbucks and McDonald’s, though they have a large difference in annual income, are two very prominent globalized markets today, according to Starbucks brings in $4.1 billion annually while McDonald’s brings in $41 billion annually. It takes 19 countries to brew one cup of Starbucks coffee. The immense amount of transportation takes a toll on the earth. The fuel it takes to get these products from all over the world is not a cheap process. All the fuel burned to simply make one cup of coffee that incorporated a little piece of each country. It has been deemed unnecessary. They have a unique flavor, yes; however there are many other effective ways to brew a delicious cup of coffee that is more localized. By localizing the beans used it would cut down on fuel costs, thus lowering the prices of Starbucks coffee as a whole. Lower prices; in essence reveals a lower impact on the earth.

There are solutions to these problems, but whether or not the attempt would be too late is up to the human race to decide. Purchasing a reusable water bottle is a great way to cut down on the earth’s impact. By not purchasing expensive water bottles, not only is that money saved, it is space and earth and saved. The bottles will not end up in a landfill if they are not purchased. Every bottle of water not purchased is less water and oil used in their production.

Making coffee at home is also another great way to lower carbon footprints. The large chains use plastic and paper cups for the coffee that takes an immense amount of fuel to even get to their locations. Using a durable coffee mug and making coffee at home is another effective way to stop the pollution and the progress of global warming. Though it may seem impractical never to buy another cup of coffee from a large chain again, avoiding it when possible is a decent start.

Many people roll their eyes when they hear they should drive less, but it is one of the best ways to lessen impact. Walking and riding a bike is a great way to avoid jumping in the car every day. Of course there are times when driving is the only way, but there are many other times when using the power of feet can be a better option. Not only would fossil fuels be stunted from entering our atmosphere, but people would be getting more exercise. Considering the health of the earth and its population, getting more exercise is not the worst idea. Lessen the impact on the earth now and maybe she will stay around a little longer than she planned.

Amanda Valenti is a senior at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She is majoring in Communications with a concentration in Journalism. She currently writes for the Ramapo News, as well as Ramapo Lookout. Amanda also writes for F&F Ventures, a company that distributes her blogs according to topics. She looks forward to expanding her Journalistic experience after graduation by attending Ramapo for her Masters.

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