GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
Global climate change is the result of worldwide temperature increases and changes in precipitation patterns over the 20th century. The scientific community strongly agrees that the increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is contributing to higher temperatures and the risk of extreme weather events.
Carbon dioxide is released by industrial processes and fossil fuel emissions (such as vehicle exhaust). Trees are a natural air cleaner, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Around the world trees are being cleared for development and farming. This deforestation means that these harmful gases are not being filtered, further contributing to global warming trends.
Global warming is of special concern to South Florida. Most of the state is low lying and susceptible to rising sea levels and increasing tropical storm activity. South Florida must play a leadership role in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to set an example for the rest of the country and the world.
To become better informed on this subject, read books such as Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World written by Gary Braasch. For middle school age youth read How we Know What we Know about our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming. Also visit Broward County's website for local information on global warming and local action (http://www.broward.org).).
AUDUBON OF FLORIDA
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Support alternative energy. Much of our electricity comes from coal-burning power plants, a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The Florida Power and Light Sunshine Energy program is one example of a corporate initiative to promote cleaner electricity generation as well as the development of new renewable sources of electricity.
Replace old appliances with energy efficient ones. According to ENERGY STAR, Americans with the help of ENERGY STAR products, saved enough energy in 2005 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 23 million cars and saved $12 billion on their utility bills.
Perform as many errands as possible in one trip. Instead of making many small trips, plan your schedule and route to complete several errands at once. You'll save money on fuel consumption and reduce exhaust emissions.
Change your habits. Little things mean a lot. Turning off lights and using timers, using long-lasting compact florescent light bulbs, taking shorter showers and other energy conserving measures have a big impact when repeated over time and across communities.
Take global climate change seriously. It is a real issue. Make a real difference today and leave a lasting legacy.
Join Audubon if you have not already done so.
Talk to friends and neighbors about the importance of conserving energy and reducing vehicular emissions.
Lend your voice to those of other members and communicate with congressional leaders about the importance of doing all we can to reduce greenhouse gases.
Stay up to date on environmental issues by signing up for Action Alerts (http://www.audubonaction.org/).