Earth is worth celebrating. It’s the only planet we can call home!
Earth is not too hot and not too cold. One thing that keeps Earth from getting too cold is its atmosphere [layer of gases that surround Earth].
Earth’s atmosphere acts like a blanket around Earth. Sunlight heats Earth, and gases in the atmosphere trap some of that heat. These gases are called greenhouse gases. They help keep Earth warm, just as a greenhouse keeps plants warm.
But over the past 100 years, the amount of greenhouse gases has increased. More greenhouse gases are trapping more heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Earth is getting warmer.
What happens when Earth gets warmer? A lot. Ice sheets in the Arctic begin to melt. Animals on the ice run out of room to live. Melting ice causes sea levels to rise. As sea levels continue to rise, cities along the coast may flood. Changes in weather patterns cause extreme weather, such as droughts and hurricanes.
Why are there more greenhouse gases? Fuel-powered cars, trucks, and planes burn oil and gas. This releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the air. Raising cattle for meat and dairy products releases methane into the air.
What Can You Do? A lot! Here are some ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Research to find more ways.
- Use less heat and electricity.
- Walk or ride a bike instead of taking a car or bus.
- Turn lights off when you’re not using them.
- Use less hot water.
- Plant a tree.
Photo Credit: Stocktrek/Getty Images