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"Global Warming 101"

environmental issues We have heard the term 'Global Warming' many times in the past few years. Most of us really do not understand exactly what it means. In simple terms it is the accumulation of C02 and air pollutants collecting in the atmosphere and forming a huge shield that traps the sun's heat causing the earth to warm up.

Coal burning power plants and automobiles are the biggest cause of this problem.

So when the planet warms up the eco-system is threatened. An example would be the polar bear. He is having a very difficult time right now. With the increase in water temperature we see some of the arctic ice floes melting at an alarming rate. This means the polar bear has further to swim and as a result many are drowning. Here's a sad fact: Two-thirds of the world's polar bear sub-population will be extinct by the mid-century due to the melting of these arctic ice floes.

environmental issues Coral Reefs are affected. Due to the high percentage of C02 emissions the ocean retains a high percentage of acid. When this happens coral begins to die off, (already witnessed in many areas as 'coral bleaching'). Our world oceans have a tremendous burden placed on them daily.

Shipping traffic, fishing, oil drilling and of course dumping of waste. All of this is a huge threat to our oceans eco-system, and then put 'Global Warming' on top of all this and the future of our oceans does not look good.

So in a nutshell here are some well known facts: Early snow melts will cause water shortages. Rising sea levels will cause coastal flooding and beach errosion. Warmer seas create more intense hurricanes, and as we mentioned, the interruption of coral reef habitats can lead to many species becoming extinct.

environmental issues Having said all this, you say Wow! this is a huge problem, but I don't see how I can help. Well everyone can help and it's very simple. Start driving eco friendly cars. Conserve energy. Cut down on plastic usage. Promote the installation of marine parks, discard trash properly. What you bring to the beach take it with you when you leave.

It's time to start thinking about what we will be leaving behind for the next generation. Here in St. Maarten we have a great community of people and we should all try to work together to keep our island Eco-Friendly. I know it sounds like a big order but believe me this needs to be a group effort.