Your children have probably heard more and more talks about global warming, the greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases and man’s impact on the environment, and they might be wondering what all these are about. Well, here it goes, we will explain it all in the following simple terms, so that you can pass the information to your kids.
As you know, Earth is covered in a blanket of air called atmosphere, which is made of different gases. Some of these gases have the special property of trapping heat. What happens is that, when sunlight reaches the surface of the Earth, some of it is sent back to space, like in a tennis game. We say that sunlight is reflected back towards space in the form of heat.
When traveling back through the atmosphere, in the form of heat, greenhouse gases trap part of what is reflected. Thus, a certain temperature will be measured at the surface of the Earth. It is good that a certain amount of heat is trapped by these gases, because the Earth would be very cold otherwise.
However, if it is too warm, things aren’t too good. This leads us to the next subject, global warming.
Once the industry has started to develop and man has started to burn more and more fossil fuels, like the gas burnt by vehicles, or using refrigerators, more and more of a gas called carbon dioxide has started to be present in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, so it influences the temperatures at the surface of the Earth.
Also, other greenhouse gases have started to be present in larger quantities in the air, due to activities related to human development. In the last 50 years, it has been observed that the average temperature on Earth has risen, which is known as global warming. Because there are more gases that retain heat in Earth’s blanket, it is believed that this warming is a result of human activity and the gases it releases in the air.
The problem with global warming is that it influences ocean temperature and level, winds and the life of different beings on the planet. For example, it leads to glaciers melting, which leads to a higher sea level, and you just have to think about those who live by the sea to understand the problem. With winds changing, the frequency and localisation of floods, droughts and forest fires are also influenced. Coral reefs could disappear if the oceans get too warm. These are just some of the predicted effects of further global warming.
As you can see, it is important to be careful with how much greenhouse gases their activities produce, so that we can take care of the Earth just as it takes care of us. We also need to preserve the earth so our kids can have a world to live in.