Over the years, this phenomenon has succeeded in melting ice caps into water, changing green areas into some sort of desert, depleting the ozone layer and many grave consequences associated with global warming.
In a concise form, let us find out what global warming is all about. Global warming is the gradual increase in the earth’s surface temperature as a result of an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide CO2, methane CH4, nitrous oxide N2O and chlorofluorocarbon CFC etc surround our atmosphere and provide us with warm. Scientists believed these gases served as a cover or a blanket that traps reflected sun rays from the surface of the earth thereby warming the surface. But increased human activities such as fossil fuel burning and indiscriminate cutting down of trees, has artificially increased the concentration of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Trees and other plants, as part of their natural processes, take in this carbon dioxide and utilize it to make food through the process of photosynthesis and in turn produce oxygen in the atmosphere. With this set-up, plants help in reducing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, man continues to burn this fossil fuel (producing CO2) in an ever increasing manner, and so also the cutting down of trees in like manner. As the world currently stands, the number of trees has gone down and CO2 level in the atmosphere has increased thus causing and increase in the amount of heat retained by these gases.
The rise in temperature of the earth has resulted in the melting of polar ice thereby causing a rise in sea level which in turn causes perennial flooding of coastal areas. Recent findings show that global warming is responsible for a number of human migrations, and if left unchecked, there is this fear that it my leads to the greatest human migration in history.
Sometimes, we cannot help but wonder how human activities around the world contribute to an increase in the concentration of these gases. It is very worrying and terrifying to see the exhaust emitted by industrial generators, industrial reactors, transport mediums such as cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, and aeroplanes go on everyday and majority of the culprit go about their normal business not mindful of the grave consequences caused by their actions in the short and long term.
We understand that a few hours of attention can lead to if not total, a partial correction of the overwhelming problems associated with the problems of global warming. An attempt by every single individual the world over to change their behaviour towards the environment and towards the use of services that produces hazardous substances into the environment will help a lot at correcting this menace that threatens human existence on earth.
It is high time at our individual level we start to think of how to minimise the activities (the ones we can) that tend to increase the level of greenhouse gases. This is something we all can achieve through cautious and meticulous use of resources. If one may ask, how many trees have you planted with your own hands, and nurtured them to maturity? Probably none or at least the answer may not be far from a single digit (1-9). Growing trees, apart from a funny hobby is also an act which is rewardable by the Almighty. You may not know, a single tree planted and looked after may be a source of reward to you on a day when a single reward counts in no small amount.
Sadly, the popular “Tree planting campaign” we knew and so much cherished when we were kids, is no longer in practice. But at our individual levels we should ensure that we inculcate this planting habit in the younger ones. This is because it will greatly help in checking the growing effect of global warming. Let us make our environment Green!, Greener!!, Greenest!!!. Let us have a change in attitude with the ways we hurt our environment and by so doing, we will be laying a foundation for future generations to enjoy a beautiful world void of natural disasters and diseases.
Hassan Abba Disa, Petroleum Engineering Programme, ATBU Bauchi, (firstname.lastname@example.org)