We have been learning about the greenhouse effect since our school time. But still, the condition is the same. Many of us are either ignoring the causes or not even accepting whether it exists or not. For a few people, it could be a scientific term to learn about but not to follow in reality. Since the concept was coined many years ago, the situation has now become worse than we think.
Before digging into the information of causes of the greenhouse effect, let’s elaborate what does the greenhouse effect mean. Just like our body absorbs heat in summer and winter due to woolen clothes, the same phenomenon exists in nature.
The greenhouse effect is a natural process that allows the earth to heat up and transfer the same in the form of energy in the atmosphere. When the rays of the sun reach earth, some of the sun’s energy is trapped by the earth’s surface in the form of heat, and the rest is getting reflected into the atmosphere.
But, since the pollution is increasing day by day due to increase in population, increased use of vehicles and many other reasons; the dust particles and increased amount of gases (or greenhouse gases) trap the reflected energy. When this energy absorbed by the gases or dust particles in a higher amount than what is required to sustain life on earth, it causes the surface to become warm.
Greenhouse gases are already present in the environment. These gases trap the sun’s energy to sustain life on earth. And the same concept is used to let the plants thrive even in cold weather.
Some of the major greenhouse gases are nitrous oxide, methane, carbon dioxide, artificial chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and others including water vapor, etc. The amount of these gases fluctuates due to various activities on earth (either natural or human-made).
When any of these gases become high in quantity, it causes the greenhouse effect. Thus, one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect is the increased concentration of greenhouse gases due to various human activities, because the only thing we can control is our daily actions that cause damage to the earth.
Let’s further discuss the other issues contributing to the warming of the planet:
• Deforestation: It is one of those human activities which cause damage to the earth. Changes in land sources are at the top of the various causes of the greenhouse effect. It's evident that cutting down trees and clearing the forest area will create an imbalance in nature.
There will be a shortage of healthy trees contributing towards the maintenance of oxygen-carbon dioxide gas level in the environment, less home availability for birds & sparrows, the sudden change in environmental responses like rainfall, the arrival of winter and summer season, and the availability of shelter (or shadow) in hot summer days. Plants or trees are the only sources of human survival on earth, and if that source is affected, it will automatically ruin our lives.
• Excessive emission of Carbon Dioxide: As mentioned above carbon dioxide gas is one of the major greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gases comprise 1% of our atmosphere. These gases act as a blanket for our earth and control the surrounding in the context of climate change.
Although the greenhouse effect is an essential phenomenon for all of us to survive when the average heat absorption is raised, it leads to global warming. The increased level of carbon dioxide causes suffocation and further contributes to the increase in pollution and vice versa. It all causes the loss of living organisms.
• Increase in Population: No one can deny with the increase in the rate of population. Population increase demands for food, shelter, and clothes. And it’s understood that all these basic needs will be obtained from nature or natural extracts.
The more the use of natural products, the more is the deterioration of the environment. For the production of shelter, food, and clothes, more manufacturing hubs will be needed.
These manufacturing further release gases as a byproduct into the atmosphere. As a consequence, the accumulation of harmful gases in the atmosphere increase which also leads to the greenhouse effect and global warming.
• Farming: Most of the fertilizers utilize oxides of nitrogen for enhancing the growth of crops. Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide. It destroys stratospheric ozone shield which protects the earth from UV radiations of the sun. On the other hand, this gas also traps heat leading to global warming.
• Burning of fossil fuels: Fossil fuels are an integral part of our life. We have been using these fuels from decades for our needs, and it has now become a little awkward to adopt the alternative use of energy. On a substantial basis, fossil fuels are used to generate electricity and for transportation purposes.
When fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are burnt, they release carbon dioxide as a primary product. This carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere combining with oxygen and polluting the air. Carbon dioxide is one of the significant harmful gases contributing to the causes of the greenhouse effect. This gas is also released as a consequence of an increase in a number of vehicles, increase in population, forest fire, burning of dead bodies, etc.
• Less use of air-conditioning and heat emitting products: Installing weather stripping and insulation to the walls and lower the temperature by certain degrees. This reduces the amount of energy needed to cool or heat-up the environment of the room.
• Carpooling: The best way to reduce the emission of harmful gases and the less sound noise due to the traffic of vehicles is carpooling. Sharing the car while covering the same traveling route can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Properly inflating the tires of the vehicle can help to improve the mileage by 3 percent. With the saving of every gallon of gas will not only help with the budget management but will also keep the 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
• Switching “off” the lights: Using the ‘off’ button can reduce the heat accumulation from the room. By turning off the electric appliances when not in use contributes a lot in saving earth from the effect of a greenhouse. An off button should not only be applied to the use of electrical appliances or gadgets but also on the use of water. One can create a limit for the purpose of water per bucket per day.
• Reduce, reuse and recycle: Most of the shops or stores accept the damaged electrical gadgets after use. They repair such devices or safely dispose them; reducing the effects of harm to the environment. Buying the products with minimal packaging can help a lot to minimize the collection of the heap of garbage. Recycling the household products can save the environment from thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide emission.
• Planting a tree: Trees utilize carbon dioxide and release oxygen. During its lifetime, a single tree can absorb a ton of carbon dioxide from the environment. Planting a tree means creating a way for at least 5 persons to survive. The more the trees, the more is the balanced and safe environment.
The causes of the greenhouse effect can be many. Each object further creates a way for another harmful impact on the environment. And all in one that gets harmed is the existence of life on earth. Using less energy means less harm to the earth and less accumulation of heat in the atmosphere.
We need to reduce our dependency on the products like plastics, fossil fuels usage, and use of electricity either as a part of lifestyle ‘statuses or show-off. With every single step towards saving the environment from becoming ‘garbage, ‘we can pave the way for our long life on the earth.
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