Overview

Photo by Gary Braasch ©2002
America's carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have increased 20 percent since 1990.

Mercury rising, walruses stampeding, water levels surging and storms strengthening. The signs of global warming surround us.

America's carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have increased 20 percent since 1990, leading to 2006, which was the hottest year on record in the continental United States. Globally, a mid-range projection dictates that the homes of 13 to 88 million people will be flooded by the sea by 2090.

The global warming fight is not just for the current generation, but all generations - including those living long after we die.

There are many ways to attack this problem, but only one immediate method. Conservation is a small and simple sacrifice, but can have a large effect. The 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. pledge encourages companies to turn off their lights and use windows to provide natural light, which is at its peak during midday, and light from computer screens to illuminate their offices. For many companies, that will provide ample light to the work environment as well as savings on the electrical bill. If those sources do not provide enough light for work, there are other alternatives. The bottom line is that every person can take responsibility for stemming the tide of global warming by making a conscious effort to conserve energy.

Photo by Gary Braasch ©2004
Erosion along Cape Hatteras in North Carolina has receded 12 feet per year in recent years, leaving a house stranded in the surf.

In 2007, both San Francisco and Sydney turned off all the lights in their cities for one hour. This harkened back to the community sacrifice of the 1940s when Americans were committed to the war effort. For example, the country halted production of sliced bread, so the metal used to slice the bread could go toward ammunition. We don't think of slice bread as much nowadays, but at one point it was considered the standard-bearer of all great inventions. Hence the saying, "the greatest thing since sliced bread." The country did without it for a few years; it can do without lights for a few hours.

Photo by Gary Braasch ©2002
A mile-long ice cliff on Anvers Island has receded about 500 meters since the 1960s.

Although conservation is free, being more energy efficient is not. Many members of the middle class or higher can afford compact fluorescent light bulbs, but low-income citizens struggle to live environmentally friendly. Lights Out, Green In offers compact fluorescent light bulbs to low-income families in order to solve this problem.

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