Every time you turn around you see another reference to global warming. Most drive-thrus have a sign asking employees to reduce idle times to prevent it. It's so ubiquitous that people don't even notice anymore, much less understand it. But the coming years will be greatly impacted, one way or another, by global warming. You should know what it is, how it will effect us, and what we can do to prevent it now before it becomes more of a problem. That's what this article is all about.

Whether you realize it or not, you actually learned about global warming in school. Remember the greenhouse effect? How the glass in your greenhouse roof traps the sun's rays once they enter instead of letting them escape again? And how this makes your greenhouse a nice warm place for your garden, even in the winter? Well, the same thing is happening on a larger scale to the Earth. Instead of glass blocking the sun's rays, its greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and it's raising the temperature of the Earth.

Some people think that maybe it would be nice for things to be a little bit warmer. Then they could go outside their home in winter without a coat. Except at more than 3 degrees of global warming, the polar ice caps will melt. This will flood coastal cities like New York and Vancouver and Los Angeles. It will also ruin crops all over the world, such as wheat and rice, that only grow in a certain narrow window of temperature. Even the little bit of warming that we're experiencing now is creating bigger storms, droughts, floods, and wildfires.

In order to prevent global warming from running away unchecked, we need to act now to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and methane being released into the atmosphere. These gases are generated mostly from human activities, such as burning coal and oil and cutting down the forests. Even the things you do at home, such as watching TV or driving your car, are contributing to global warming. The problem is that big companies, developing countries, and ordinary people don't want to sacrifice their comfort or development, even if it means their children won't have a future.

What many people don't realize is that we can stop global warming without sacrificing comfort or development. It just takes a little more effort. We can support alternative fuel sources like electric cars and hydrogen batteries. We can purchase only paper product made by companies who use forests sustainably. And we can change our old water heaters to high efficiency gas boilers so that we're not so careless with the amount of water and electricity we use.

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