Smog over Shanghai
Although the United States is one of largest contributors to global warming, it appears that we were late in the game for initiating changes towards energy efficiency. By 2015 however, there have made substantial gains in modernizing power plants, reducing dependency on foreign oil, fuel economy standards, and doubling wind, solar, and geothermal energy. (The White House, 2015) Surprisingly though it was Japan, Europe, and Germany, who put forth the initial effort in energy efficiency and now it is time for the U.S. to do the same. (Turk and Bensel, 2014) Continue reading
Three main greenhouse gases—CO2, CH4, and N2O—are rising because of human activities such as the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas. Resulting pollution is visible above Shanghai, China.
A study released by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2010 said; “Climate change is occurring and is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks for and in many cases is already affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.” The climate will continue to change for decades as a result of past human activities but scientists say that the worst impacts can still be avoided if action is taken soon.
Warming has not been limited to the Earth’s surface; the Oceans have absorbed most of the heat that has been added to the climate system resulting in a persistent rise in ocean temperatures. Over time, the heat already absorbed by the ocean will be released back to the atmosphere causing an additional 1 °F of surface warming. In other words, some additional atmospheric warming is already “in the pipeline.”
Turk & Bensel, 2014
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). Unlike free range livestock, food is brought to these animals while they wait in manure and urine. Photo Credit: Save Our Rain
Increase in Food production and its Impact on the Environment and Food Safety:
In the United States, we are fortunate to have an abundant supply of food. However, this abundance is largely due to the advances in agricultural technology, which have in turn created numerous concerns surrounding our food sources. The first example of an increase of food production within the United States is the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) also known as Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) (EPA, 2015) where animals such as swine, chickens, and cows, are confined in small quarters for a short amount of time before being slaughtered for consumption. While the time it takes for the animal to grow to capacity has decreased due to hormone injections and the genetically modified organisms that are fed to them, the impact of CAFO’s across the U.S. on our environment is substantial.