Article downloaded on 4/2/08 from:
Taken from an article published June 14, 2007 in a Blethen Maine Newspaper. Edited for vocabulary, construction, and content for a one-time use in an ESL classroom.
The Global Warming Crisis
In 2007, a group of fourth-grade children in Portland, Maine studied global warming. Here is some of what they wrote.
When we studied global warming, we started with many questions. What is global warming? Is it happening now? What might happen in the future? Why should we care? What can each of us do to help?
A small group of students at our school has been researching and studying the effects of global warming. We found many facts that show that global warming is real, so we decided to write about it.
We want everyone to help slow global warming because the earth is already getting warmer. For example, the ocean is warming so quickly that some cities near the ocean will soon be in danger of flooding, and some islands are already in danger.
The ocean level is rising because glaciers are melting at a faster and faster rate. A glacier is ice that never completely melts. When the ice on top of the ocean melts, it falls into the ocean. The glaciers in Greenland and the Arctic ice shelf are melting faster each year and will disappear in our lifetime if the world does not decrease the use of fossil fuel. The melting ice will raise the water level of the world's oceans nearly 40 feet. Someday, Manhattan, New York and other places near the ocean will be underwater if global warming continues.
In addition, more mountains that used to have snow on them all year are now naked in the summer. Glacial ice and snow are white, and white reflects heat. That keeps the earth cooler. However, dark colors absorb heat. When there is less ice and snow and more water and bare ground, it adds to global warming. It is also important that the water that comes from glaciers and from snow that falls in the winter and melts in the summer are an important source of the world's drinking water.
Some scientists think that warmer ocean water is causing stronger hurricanes like Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed the city of New Orleans. Katrina was only a Category 1 storm when it crossed Florida. Then it grew into a category 5 storm as it crossed over the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico. This might have been caused by warmer water than is usual.
However, it is not only the ocean temperature that is rising. The overall temperature on the planet is also rising to dangerous levels. The 10 "hottest" average years on record happened within the last 14 years. We continue to see higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere year after year. The layer of carbon dioxide and other gasses in our atmosphere is thicker than it has ever been. Have you noticed any strange weather? In Portland, Maine there have been summer-like days in March.
The United States produces one-third of the total greenhouse gases in the world, more than South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia combined. Although global warming is a big problem, we can do something about it if we all work together. Here are some sensible ways to save our planet. We will be in great danger if we don't get this problem in the minds of all people and stop doing the things that cause greenhouse gases.
o Planet Earth – This is a Discovery Channel movie about the beauty of our planet.
Trailer is at: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/456861/planet_earth_trailer/
o An Inconvenient Truth – See Vice President Al Gore’s warning about Global Warming.
Trailer is at: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2078944470709189270
o Planet in Peril – This is a CNN movie about global warming and species extinction.
Trailer is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOWBlY05egg
o The Eleventh Hour – This is Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie about Global Warming with some solutions.
Trailer is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBG2V98IBY