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It may seem hard to believe that we can actually change the Earth’s climate, but scientists say greenhouse gas emissions generated from human activities are making our planet warmer. According to the scientists, average global temperatures have increased by about one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, and are expected to keep rising over the next hundred years. Even a small increase over a long time can have a big impact. Businesses and states are taking action to address the risks of global warming. The good news is we can all be part of the solution, by taking simple steps at home to help the environment.

Most people don’t realize that the average household can be responsible for twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the average car. The leading source of greenhouse gas emissions is energy production; whenever you use a product in your home that uses energy, greenhouse gas emissions result. For example, when you use electricity, a power plant is likely generating that electricity, by burning fossil fuels (such as coal and oil), which produces greenhouse gases.

To help reduce the risks of global warming, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers suggestions for actions you can take that will make a positive difference, right away and every day. Below is a list of things that you can do on Earth Day and everyday to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we contribute to the atmosphere. Happy Earth Day! And here’s to many, many more.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Global Warming

For Your Home

At Your Work

  • Put your computer and monitor to sleep while not in use.
  • Print and copy double sided on each piece of paper.
  • Turn off your light at night.
  • Recycle 10 percent more at work.

For Your Car

  • Drive Smart. Go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling and unload the junk in your trunk.
  • Keep your car well tuned. A well-maintained car is more fuel efficient, more reliable and safer!
  • Check tire pressure regularly. Under inflation causes increased wear and decreased gas mileage.
  • Give your car a break. Try to combine activities into a single trip; use mass transit; walk or bike whenever possible.
  • When buying a new vehicle, make a smart choice. Look for the Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Scores at EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide.

Other Links:

Download the ENERGY STAR Action Guide PDF (327KB)

Download Earth Day Poster PDF (329KB)

Download Children’s Brochure PDF (646KB)

EPA’s Earth Day Web page

Global Warming

When sunlight enters our atmosphere, it passes through a layer of gases, including greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. The Earth absorbs some of that solar radiation and reflects some back into the atmosphere, where much of it remains trapped by those same gases. Much like the way a greenhouse works, this results in the warming of the Earth’s surface, or “global warming.”

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It is important to understand that scientists don’t know for sure what global warming will bring. While warmer temperatures might present new opportunities in very cold parts of the world, there are risks associated with change.

  • More hot days increase the possibility of heat-related health problems
  • The world’s habitats and ecosystems may be altered. A rapid change in the climate could threaten plants and animals unable to react quickly enough to survive.
  • A sea-level rise could affect oceanfront property by causing flooding and beach erosion.
  • Warmer weather in cold places may give people a chance to grow crops in new areas, but global warming might also bring drought to other places, preventing people in some parts of the world from getting enough to eat.

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FACT: Energy use, for the average home, is responisible for twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as the average car.