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LO: How can we help manage our resources
The greenhouse effect is a natural process that warms the Earth’s surface. When the Sun’s energy reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, some of it is reflected back to space and the rest is absorbed and re-radiated by greenhouse gases (like water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane etc).
As human activities increase, like burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas), agriculture and land clearing more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. This is the enhanced greenhouse effect, which is contributing to the warming of the Earth. This warming is called ‘global warming’.
An increase in CO2 production can lead to warmer temperatures, loss of sea ice, coral bleaching, accelerated sea-level rise and longer, more intense heat waves and more frequent bush fires.
In Australia, cars are the major cause of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. To help the environment many companies have created low-emissions vehicles.
Hybrid vehicles use a combination of electrical and petrol engines. In these cars, like the Toyota Prius, the electric motor works with the petrol engine to decrease the amount of fuel consumption and emissions.
Some cars however are trying for zero emissions. Electrical cars like Tesla and the i-MiEV Mitsubishi use only use power stored in a battery to drive the motor in the car. You need to recharge these batteries somewhere though.
You’re probably thinking, how can we get electricity without creating additional greenhouse gasses?
As we’ve discussed in the earlier sections, there are renewable energy sources that can produce energy with low carbon emissions, such as solar, wind and hydro.
You can install solar panels to your roof to generate power for your house and intern use less energy from the main system. In fact, some companies will give you a rebate for installing solar panels to your roof.
We’ve seen above how you can use solar panels to decrease your energy emissions, but there are plenty of other things you can do also to help the environment.
Here are some ways we can help:
Click the ‘question mark’ icon to test your knowledge with some questions.