What is "Carbon"?
Grandma explained that Carbon is a natural chemical element, found in many things including gasoline, diesel fuel and other types of natural gases. When Carbon burns (for example, this happens when the engine of a car uses fuel), it interacts with the air to create a gas called Carbon Dioxide. So basically, Carbon (from the gasoline) plus oxygen (from the air).
This Carbon Dioxide is considered a Greenhouse Gas.
“What’s greenhouse gas?” asked Teyus, looking at Grandma’s mini greenhouse in her kitchen.
“The same way glass from a greenhouse traps air and warms it up inside the glass to make it warmer, greenhouse gas get trapped inside the atmosphere and heats up the planet. This makes the air around our globe hot and leads to what scientists call Global Warming”, Grandma explained.
“But why is that a bad thing?” said Teyus looking at all the plants inside Granny’s greenhouse. After all, the plants in the glass greenhouse certainly didn’t seem to mind the warm air.
“Well for one, when the planet warms up, icebergs melt and oceans evaporate faster. There’s so much water in the clouds that we get powerful and destructive floods, hurricanes and storms of all sorts. This affects all plants and animals in some way or another. In general, it causes a big mess”, said Grandma very dramatically.
The travellers were paying attention, this sounded serious.
Mira wondered, “Why can’t governments just ask people not to drive and pollute so much?”
Grandma was riled up now, “They do! They do! But no one listens! How many times have you been on the Don Valley Parkway, just sitting in traffic because there were so many cars with just one person?!” exclaimed Grandma.
The travellers nodded in agreement. Mira even remarked how her parents worked so close to each other and yet took separate cars to work.
Mira groaned, “Mummy doesn’t like the music daddy plays in the car”, rolling her eyes.
Grandma was visibly upset. “And it’s not just cars, it’s all these factories on the side of the roads, along with the , busses, trucks and more and more cars! Each one giving out bad fumes that smell so bad one can barely breathe! This smell is called ‘Gas Emissions. Now, imagine how bad it would smell if you had every car in town in front of you? And after that imagine if you had every factory in front of you as well. That’s what our atmosphere is absorbing every day, all over the world!”
Teyus was confused, “But Grandma, I thought trees absorbed Carbon Dioxide. That’s what our science teacher said.”
“But where are the trees? We have been cutting down trees and forests to build more homes and factories!” Grandma replied.
Both Mira and Teyus nodded, they knew only too well as the forests behind their homes were now being cut down to build even more new houses!
Mira interjected, “OK, so how do we stop all this destruction?”