Since the beginning talk of climate change and global warming, we have been threatened with many consequences due to our large, wasteful society. The various ‘bad things’ range from frequent super storms, flooding, loss of forests, a rise in the global temperature, the list goes on. From what I can tell as a person living in Northern New Jersey, we are beginning to feel these forewarned events, starting with the rise in temperature.
New Jersey is a very diverse part of the North American continent. We have a very small portion, but we have many different bioregions within this small portion. There are mountains in the north, river systems provide natural boundaries on the East and West, the Southern part is flatter with marshes, and the East coast has the Atlantic Ocean. Besides the four different regions, we have all four seasons of the year.
Generally speaking, spring and fall are pretty temperate with temperatures ranging from 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer is cooler in May and June but heats up fast in July and August. Winter always seems to drag slowly due to the possibility of a snowstorm from November through March.
Now the question is, “What does this have to do with global warming and climate change?” Well, it has everything to do with it. As the carbon emission releasing of our society keeps going up, the more Green House gasses get thrown into the atmosphere. The Green House Effect essentially lets heat in but does not let it leave the Earth’s atmosphere, producing a warmer Earth. This is not a bad thing at all but the more we keep dumping millions of tons of carbon emissions into the air, the more of an insulator it becomes, keeping the planet warmer and warmer.
You may be thinking, “Yay! No more cold winter!” You are right in a sense, but this warming effect not only makes the winter warmer, but the summer months warmer also. Just think about last summer’s hottest day at 104 degrees. Now, take that 104 and add 2 more degrees. That 104-106 swing does a lot to the body in making you sweat. Now take those same 2 degrees and add it to the outdoor environment around a Southern New Jersey swamp let’s say. The air gets warmer and drier, which makes the plants soak up more water, and the air to evaporate moisture quicker. Give warm summer months 2 more degrees and at the end of those months there is no swamp. It is just a bone dry basin due to the Green House Effect and Global Warming.
The bottom line is that we are starting to see a change in our environment. It may not be extreme (YET) like a 3 foot snowstorm in July, but we are seeing a difference and more changes are going to come, bigger and more menacing. Let’s look at what emissions we are emitting and think about a way to possibly cut down on them and help restore the planet back to the way it was.