Greenhouse gases are components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. These gases come from natural sources and human activity. The greenhouse effect is the gradual heating of the atmosphere caused by air pollution which traps energy from the sun. All-inclusive causes of recent warming remain an active field of research but scientific consensus identifies elevated levels of greenhouse gases due to human activity as the main influence. The effects of global warming include rising sea levels, glacier retreat, arctic shrinkage, altered patterns of agriculture. Some secondary effects that have been predicted are extreme weather events, an expansion of tropical diseases, changes in timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems, and drastic economic impact.
Ten ways you can reduce your contribution to greenhouse gases are:
1. Buy energy efficient appliances with "energy star" label like the WA-8291S Window A / C by Sunpentown.
2. Plant a tree. Trees store carbon dioxide that would otherwise be in the atmosphere. Trees also provide shade in the summer and if you plant a fruit or nut tree you'll eat locally and put more carbon in the soil.
3. When painting a house use latex rather than oil-based paint. Latex releases fewer harmful fumes while drying. It also smells better.
4. Save energy and money by making sure your dishwasher and washing machine are full before turning them on.
5. Make sure your home is ready for the weather. Caulk and weather-strip doorways and windows. Add insulation (especially to your roof), change the windows for double glazing and add outside shades.
6. Move your thermostat two degrees cooler in the winter and two degrees warmer in the summer.
7. Unplug your cell phone charger, television and anything else that plugs in when it's not in use. Even when something is turned off it uses a small amount of electricity. You can make this task easier with the use of a surge protector with a switch.
8. Turn off the lights. This would be especially effective if schools participated. If ten thousand schools turned off their lights for one minute they would save more than $ 81,000. If they turned off their lights every time they went to recess, they would save more than $ 4.9 million.
9. Replace your incandescent light bulbs. Replacing one incandescent bulb with a fluorescent bulb will save 150lbs of carbon dioxide. They are also more efficient. More of a fluorescent bulb's consumed energy is converted to usable light and less to heat allowing them to run cooler. They last ten to twenty times as long as incandescent bulbs. You can also replace your bulbs with Ultra Compact LEDs. They use less energy and do not contain dangerous mercury like fluorescent bulbs.
10. Put your computer on stand-by. It will restart quickly and it takes less energy than shutting it down and then restarting it.