Sunday, February 11, 2007

Five hour rides and what is global warming

Well it’s been a hell of a week, thus the lack of updates. Two birthdays, lots of work, and finally a solid week of riding on the bike. I took a ½ day on Wednesday to celebrate (my birthday) and proceeded to bust out a 5 hour ride. The roads are still wet in a lot of places from all of our snow, but Lookout Mountain has been plowed and was mostly dry. I rode the climb three times and was definitely feeling it the last climb. It’s been about 2 months since I hit Lookout so it was nice to get in the ride, as Lookout is my favorite place to ride the road bike. I’ll need to get in a lot more rides like that to be ready for the FireCracker 50. I guess taking time off work makes for a busier week, but when there is already too much to do a long ride is worth it. Saturday was another busy day with my mom’s b-day, shopping for glasses for Ade and a 3 hour ride, but I must say those two long rides in one week felt good.

Now, on to Global Warming and what exactly is global warming? This question has been brought up a lot recently, I think due to the IPCC report released last week. To put it simply global warming is caused by greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and others) being emitted. Greenhouse gases let light/heat from the sun in, which is nice, but then trap the heat in the atmosphere, not allowing it to escape back to space. Some heat trapping is good as it keeps the temperature livable on Earth, but too much is bad causing temperatures to rise and effecting Earth’s ecosystems (how we live with each other and other animals etc on Earth).

The problem with global warming is that we are helping to accelerate the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases for numerous reasons. Some reasons are somewhat beyond our control, for example a larger human population on Earth now than at any other time. However, and most importantly, some are very controllable for example emissions of CO2 because of fossil fuel usage (think gas, oil, natural gas etc.). Now I’m not sitting here saying I don’t like having a nice warm house or a car to get to bike races in, but what I am saying is that we can each individually and collectively do a lot to reduce our CO2 emissions and reduce the greenhouse effect that is causing global warming. Now it is important to keep in mind that all these gases/causes of the greenhouse effect occur naturally, always have, always will. What is just as important, if not more so, is to know that the emissions of these gases have been accelerated by our actions.

So in layman’s terms greenhouse gases have always existed and no matter what we do will exist. This truth helps naysayer's with their argument that global warming is a myth. But the facts point to a very accelerated level of emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases since the Industrial Revolution (I know thinking back to high school history is painful so here is a link). Gas emissions have accelerated even more dramatically since the popularization of the car. But the good news is there is a significant amount that can be done to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, such as driving less, recycling, planting trees/flowers, using less energy (turn off lights, keep temperature lower in the winter, higher in the summer). So, what have you done today?

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