Worried about global warming? Want to save the planet but not sure how to start?
Australia is among the worst nations on earth for greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste. Yet recent research shows that eight out of ten Australians are concerned about environmental issues such as global warming, but aren’t sure what they can do about it.
For example, eating one less meal of red meat a week could reduce a family of four’s greenhouse emissions by as much as buying a hybrid car.
Planet Ark’s National Tree Day is Australia’s biggest community tree-planting event and since Tree Day started in 1996 over 11.5 million native trees and shrubs have been planted by more than 1.5 million volunteers!
National Tree Day is sponsored by Toyota and the AMP Foundation, and Planet Ark would like to extend a big thank you to Toyota Dealerships and AMP Financial Planners who continue to offer valuable on-the-ground support.
Cracked earth of the drought-stricken Portodemouros reservoir is seen in northern Spain, November 2007. This year Schools Tree Day fell on Friday 27th July, with National Tree Day on Sunday 29th July and there are still planting sites happening until the end of the year.
Tree planting makes a positive difference to our environment, and the benefits reach into schools and communities, and also help our precious native animals and plants survive in Australia’s diverse natural settings.
The first is to link the benefits of recycling to the fight against global warming. Recycling aids in the fight against global warming by reducing the amount of new materials we use to sustain out lifestyle, for example, making aluminium can from recycled material uses 95% less energy than making one from material. By recycling organic material, like food scraps and garden cuttings, we reduce the amount of methane produced by landfills. Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
The water level of many reservoirs in Spain has fallen to dangerous limits due to a severe drought. The second aim is to encourage individuals and businesses to Recycle More and Recycle Better. Research conducted by Pollinate Green for Planet Ark, and sponsored by Bartercard, shows that about 50% of businesses recycle any of the glass, metal and tin cans and plastics used on their premises. It’s great that these businesses are recycling but there’s still room for improvement. That research also showed that 80% of people wrongly believed they can put drink ware glass in their home recycling. As little a 5 grams (the size of a 10 cent piece) of this glass is enough to contaminate an entire tonne of recyclable bottle and jar glass – sending it to landfill.
When we Recycle More we reduce our impact on the Earth. When we Recycle Better we make the whole process more efficient.
But concentrations of methane, the number two heat-trapping gas, flattened out in a hint that Siberian permafrost is staying frozen despite some scientists’ fears that rising temperatures might trigger a runaway thaw.
Cooling towers of a power plant are seen behind apartment blocks in Xiahuayuan, Hebei province, November 21, 2007 “In 2006, globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached their highest levels ever recorded,” the WMO said. Carbon dioxide is the main gas from human activities blamed by the U.N. climate panel for stoking warming.
The WMO said levels rose 0.53 percent from 2005 to 381.2 parts per million of the atmosphere, 36 percent above levels before the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century.
Levels of nitrous oxide, the number three greenhouse gas produced by burning fuels and by industrial processes, also rose to a record with a 0.25 percent gain in 2006. Levels are 320 parts per billion, 19 percent above pre-industrial times.
“Atmospheric growth rates in 2006 of these gases are consistent with recent years,” the WMO said in a report. Rising levels could disrupt the climate, producing more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising ocean levels.
But levels of methane, which comes from sources such as rotting vegetation in landfills, termites, rice paddies and the digestive process of cows, dipped 0.06 percent to 1,782 parts per billion in 2006.
“Methane levels have been flattening out in recent years,” Geir Braathen, WHO’s senior scientific officer, told Reuters. Still, methane levels are 155 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution.
Can this picture be replicated in 2051?. “A widespread melt of Siberian permafrost is a possibility but there is no sign of it in this data,” he said, referring to some scientists’ fears that frozen methane in the permafrost could be released by rising temperatures and accelerate warming.
“If it was happening it would turn up in these figures,” he said.
Braathen also said the relative importance of carbon dioxide was increasing, contributing 91 percent of the total heating effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in the past five years from 87 percent in the past decade.
Emissions of some heat-trapping gases blamed for depleting the planet’s protective ozone layer also dipped in 2006.
More than 190 nations will meet in Bali, Indonesia, from December 3-14 to try to launch two years of negotiations on a new global treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, the main U.N. plan for fighting global warming.
Simple Ways to Help Save the Planet Visit Our Main Recycling Website.