I was thinking about all the positive green changes I’ve been seeing so many people make and I started to wonder – Who is monitoring the environment to see what, if any, positive effect we’re having by making all these changes? Who is keeping track? And how can I find out?
My research turned up some confusing results. Through a brief web search, I learned that a 5 year satellite was launched…in 2002. I also learned from NASA that scientists were monitoring glaciers…in 1999.
One of the most promising leads was from 2007, when the Christian Science Monitor started up a new website “focusing on the causes and effects of global warming and its impact on climate change” [CleanAirSys], but a review of the site showed that it was really just a collection of articles and links about climate changes and what can and is being done to counteract it. There is certainly nothing wrong with that – especially the link they provide to the Carbon Calculator [ClimateCrisis], which allows you to get an idea of your own global impact – but it didn’t really answer my question.
Then, finally, I found something a bit more substantial, or at least went a long way toward explaining why it was so difficult to find any scientists keeping track of what is going on with my planet. In March 2009, Maura Judkis wrote “Climate scientists are not omnipresent. Because there are…not enough scientists…they’re asking for your help in observing…climate change across the world.” [US News & World Report]
Unfortunately, “Who is monitoring? You are!” was not quite the answer I was looking for. So I tried a different question. I tried atmosphere (nothing) and then ozone layer, since that’s where the global warming begins. That yielded lots of initials, like the NCDC (National Climatic Data Center), the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association), and the NESDIS (National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service). I can see why they abbreviate!
Their names may be confusing, but finally some results were at hand. These are the people watching the skies in the wrong direction to see what’s going on with all that excess CO2. Unfortunately, in the case of NCDC, their website is all but unnavigable. The NOAA and NESDIS are much better and both had some of the information I wanted, including a video depicting the daily progress of a hole in the ozone over Antarctica during 2008.
So I did find some of what I wanted to know, though I still don’t have a site I can point to and say “Here is where you go to see that the green steps we’re taking are making a difference.” I think if we had that, there might be a lot more people on board the (eco-friendly & powered by alternative fuels) green movement bus.