by Susan Gietka
What if "Global Warming" is a natural occurrence? Many argue that warming and cooling periods have been taking place for as far back as we can measure. Global warming periods have occurred approximately 100,000, 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. Scientific evidence has been extracted from proxy sources such as ice cores, tree rings, coral reefs, sediment layers and rocks. Compiling this data enables us to look back millions of years to determine past temperatures.
Without the "greenhouse effect" the earth would be an uninhabitable wasteland. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, "The atmosphere has a natural supply of "greenhouse gases". They capture heat and keep the surface of the earth warm enough for us to live on.
Here's where the argument heats up. Scientists debate that until recently, the earth has been good at maintaining this natural balance of atmospheric gas. However, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, these gases have been building up faster than the earth can remove them. An increase of two degrees worldwide will drastically affect human health, fragile ecosystems, the weather and our economy.
I think both groups of scientists agree that the earth is getting warmer. I am not a scientist. I am not going to try to convince you that Global Warming is real, or not...
What if we could slow this down? What if humans worldwide made a dedicated attempt to lessen our impact on this (natural or not) warming trend? Who knows?
But, what if we looked at our existence on this earth from a different perspective? This is what the "green movement" is about. It is a holistic approach to life in general. "Going green" isn't just about changing a light bulb or purchasing expensive equipment. It's a lifestyle. Intertwined holistically with the air you breathe, the food you eat, the wastes you produce, and the conscious choices that directly affect your health and theoretically, the health of this planet. For instance:
What if you gave up bottled water? Consumer Reports tested 10 leading brands of bottled water and found chemical contaminants in all. Some of these contaminants are known carcinogens. Tap water (although not perfect) is regulated by the federal government to meet safety standards.
What if you pedaled or walked to work while running errands? The Surgeon General and the Center of Disease Control state that physical inactivity poses a serious public health problem. They declare that our health can significantly improve with moderate activity (30 minutes an day). The CDC's latest study reveals that diet and inactivity may soon replace smoking as the leading cause of death in the US.
What if you ate locally grown and seasonally fresh produce when it was available? Research has shown that produce picked (and consumed) at its peak has higher flavor and nutrient content. When fresh, it is loaded with disease fighting anti-oxidants.
What if you cleansed the air inside your home from the very same things you use to get rid of grime? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside the typical home is 2-5 times more polluted than outside the home. Conventional cleaning agents that contain noxious fumes contribute to asthma and allergies. Research shows that certain ingredients in our cleansing routine interfere with the way our bodies produce estrogen, testosterone and even thyroid hormones. News flash, studies link these chemicals to reduced fertility and obesity in our society.
Refer to www.thegreenguide-magazine.com/thegreenguide/spring2008 for a "scarier than germs themselves" chart that lists the ill effects of household cleaning agents and "health" friendly substitutes.
What if we did these things to improve our health? Would we discard less packaging and therefore improve air quality (pollutants are released in production and decomposition)? At the same time would we conserve water, and energy, two valuable resources? Do you think it is be possible to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and coincidentally improve air quality, grow our bank accounts, and shrink our waste line? What if the health of this planet synergistically coincided with our well-being?
What if this game of asking what if (?) went on "for as long as we both shall live"? It can, with every moment of every day, til' death do us part. Like it or not, we are married to this earth. Question your choices not because she is warming, but for your own good.
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