One of the most intense storms in world history has hit the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan has already killed at least four people, injured several others and prompted millions to flee. President Benigno Aquino has warned the country faces “calamity.” With sustained winds of up to 199 miles per hour, it may be the most powerful storm ever to make landfall. On many islands, streets are flooded, communication is cut off, trees are down, and power is out. After battering the Philippines, Haiyan is on track to hit Vietnam and Laos over the weekend.
The science of climate change is complex, but everyone should know the basics: the Earth is heating up because gases produced from vehicles, power plants, deforestation, and other sources are building up in the atmosphere, acting like a thick blanket over our planet.
The Facts About Climate Change
• FACT: Average global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Celsius over the 20th century.
•FACT: The United States contains only 5 percent of the world’s population, but contributes 22 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.
•FACT: 15 percent of carbon emissions come from deforestation and land use change.
•FACT: The Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes) is thought to be the first species to go extinct because of climate change.
•FACT: Personal cars and trucks in the United States emit 20 percent of the United States’ carbon emissions.
•FACT: Air conditioning and heating account for almost half of electricity use in the average American home.
•FACT: Climate change is linked to stronger hurricanes, more drought and increased coral deaths from bleaching.
•FACT: Climate change is linked to an increase in disease-carrying pests that lead to the increased spread of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, lyme disease and West Nile virus.
So, the next time you feel like taking a 30 minute shower, don’t! The next time you run your homes air conditioning system when you could just open a window, do so! The next time you can walk to the store instead of driving, get to stepping! The next time you decide not to turn off all the lights in your home while you are in another room or running a quick errand, turn those lights off!
If you want this beautiful place to be here for your children, your grandchildren and on, think consciously today!