Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The First Step

Welcome to the first Climate Change 101 Blog!

The Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth are really excited to begin this discussion with our community about climate change and what we can ALL do to make a difference.

As I sit here writing this blog I think it’s important to let you know that I am not one of the scientists, educators, or researchers here at PRI. I’m the marketing guy. I wanted to do the first post 1) because it’s cool and 2) because this blog is being set up to form a discussion between PRI and the community. Like you, I have heard many things about Climate Change and I have been frightened. When I saw Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” I remember leaving the theater thinking that the world was close to ending. After talking with PRI’s staff I have come to the conclusion that we really should not be afraid, but concerned. There are lots of little things that we all can do to make a difference, and lessen our own carbon footprint and impact on the earth.

So, because I wasn’t sure what global warming and climate change were I thought it would be best to start at the beginning. Here is what “Webster’s” has to say about it:

Global Warming


: An increase in the earth’s atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution.

Huh? Here is a more “user friendly” definition: Current global warming is a slow but steady warming of the entire earth, caused by human use of fossil fuels (like coal, gas, and oil.) When we burn these fuels, they emit a gas called carbon dioxide into the air, which wraps like a blanket around the whole earth. This blanket (or insulation) traps heat, which would have bounced off the earth's surface back into space, in the earth's atmosphere. In a sentence--We get warm.

It’s PRI’s hope that we can use this blog as a forum. You can ask questions and we will help provide the answers. We are working with students and educators from Cornell University to help in this project as well as PRI’s own scientists and educators. We are going to discuss carbon offsets, how to lessen our carbon footprint, and a variety of other topics including how climate change is going to affect us here in Ithaca.

At the end of every post you will find some tips on how we can work to make a difference and slow the process!

Tip: Use reusable grocery bags. If everyone in the U.S. stopped using plastic bags we would conserve 12-millon barrels of crude oil a year. It’s a good start!

Any questions? email: cwk47@cornell.edu

Look for "Climate Change 101" a 12-part series in the Ithaca Journal on the last Wednesday of every month!

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