"Environmental Hero" What is an environmental problem and how do you solve it?

Essay by curtisgrubbHigh School, 10th gradeA, June 2012

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Environmental Hero

Tsunamis are killing unprecedented numbers of people… Coastal cities are sinking from increasing water levels… Godzilla may rise from the deep and wreak havoc on humankind… And such are just some of the outcomes that air pollution may bring…

Hold it!

I know-we've heard this all a million times! But as dreary as the conversation may be, it is nonetheless a conversation worth having. The harsh reality is that air pollution is a great problem, and the way in which we can solve it is through dramatic change in the use of fossil fuels-the most significant cause of air pollution. After considering that "nearly 40 percent of the world's nitrous oxide emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels" ("Renewable Energy is Beneficial…"), it is clear that we need to rethink our current use of fossil fuels.

Humans pollute the air by releasing baffling amounts of harmful chemicals into our atmosphere.

One such chemical is nitrous oxide: "Today, human activities release about 433,000 metric tons of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere each year" ("Renewable Energy is Beneficial…"). The source of these quantities is, for the most part, automobiles and factories. In addition to nitrous oxide, we pollute the air with carbon dioxide, "another harmful gas released into the atmosphere" ("Renewable Energy is Beneficial…"). Carbon dioxide is naturally absorbed by plants, but deforestation limits the amount of carbon dioxide Earth's carbon cycle can naturally recuperate. As we can see, it stands that air pollution is complicated by some of the further environmental issues around it.

To wrap our heads around the importance of the matter, let's look at the consequences of air pollution. Air pollution's effects can be devastating: "Some scientists believe an increase in the temperature of the planet, brought on by the...