Earth Week 2014 Wrap-Up: We’re doomed..?

Okay, so maybe “doomed” is a strong word – but things sure haven’t gotten BETTER since the first Earth Day in 1970.

Climate Central put out this amazing graphic/map showing the temperature increases since the first Earth Day. Click through to see your state (and others, click them all!) so you can see the temperature changes.

The important concept to note from this map/graphic is found in the actual graph itself, and is the part that confuses people the most. When you click on a state, you can see that the average yearly temperature fluctuates – a lot. This is due to weather. But, through the average line, you can see that the average temperature has gone up. This is due to the climate changing.

We have also changed a lot in terms of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is the compound that contributes to global warming, and most often comes from fuel burning/transportation and burning coal (for energy).

Historically, atmospheric levels have been increasing, but have stayed around under 350 parts per million (ppm). This level of pollution is tolerable because scientists suggest that 350 ppm is the level that some scientists have said is the maximum allowable for maintaining ecosystems and the human systems that depend on them,” according to the Huffington Post.

However, starting in April 2014, scientists noticed that the levels had been staying just over 400 ppm. The Huffington Post reports that this number is higher than levels have been in millions of years, but also notes that there are seasonal fluctuations, like with anything climate related, so the number may go back down.

You can see how the parts per million fluctuate seasonally – and are worse in the spring/summer than in the fall/winter.

So, maybe we’re not ABSOLUTELY doomed. Yet. But we can change this by investing in and using clean energy, lowering electricity usage and driving less – all the things I (and others) have been saying for years. The time is now!

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