Update Dec. 19 2016: Spiderman squats video is online! View it here:
Thanks to everyone for their support!
Update Dec. 12 2016: We have reached our $500 goal! Thank you all for your generosity! I will post a video of me, dressed as Spiderman, doing 130 squats. Stay tuned! In the meantime, please continue to donate. A generous Sierra Club donor will dollar-for-dollar match every donation before December 31. I will announce a new challenge for the next $500. Spoiler: if we get to $1000, I'll do the next challenge dressed as Batman!
Update Dec. 5 2016: thanks to many of you, I have reached my $300 goal! We are only a short ways away from $500 — if we get there, I'll do all my squats dressed as Spiderman and video-record it for all to see.
As part of a campaign by the Sierra Club, I am participating in a fundraising event to support the Sierra Club's mission to support the development of and improved access to low-cost clean energy and to protect our land, water, and air – from our backyards to the other side of the globe – from the threat of environmental degredation and climate change.
For every $2 dollars donated up to $100 and every $5 after that, I will do one squat with 225 pounds – approximately my bodyweight – symbolizing the burden placed on people like me – and you! – to take action against climate change. You can learn more about the threat of anthropogenic climate change at the bottom of this message.
My goal is $300 by December 31. 90 squats. I encourage you to donate and help turn my legs into jelly for Earth's sake.
If I raise $500 dollars (130 squats), I'll do the whole thing dressed like Spiderman.
A generous donor has agreed to dollar-for-dollar match every donation, so your support will go a long way.
Sierra Club is making a difference for our community and our environment. They work with local and state governments to protect natural places near cities and suburbs and work hard to ensure clean air and water for all. In my state of Maryland, the Sierra Club is advancing initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen economic investment in energy efficiency, vehicle electrification and modern, cleaner, forms of electricity.
If you'd like to learn more about their mission, you can check out sierraclub.org, or participate in their campaigns at addup.org!
Thanks so much!
**Climate Change Basics:**
*How do we know that CO2 emissions are causing climate change?*
We can measure the amount of CO2 emitted based on the amount of fossil fuels used to produce energy (countries and businesses keep track of this) and how much CO2 is produced through the process of burning that fossil fuel, which is based on the amount of carbon in the fuel.
We know humans are releasing acceleratingly large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, but can we measure the effect? Yes. CO2 levels in the atmosphere will have a direct effect on the average global temperature. If the average global temperature is increasing in line with CO2 emissions, then we can be well-assured higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are to blame for the rising global temperature.
CO2 has this warming, or greenhouse, effect, based on a very simple and accurate model. The sun warms the earth with the light it produces. As the earth warms, it releases infrared light. The warmer it gets, the more infrared light it emits. This allows earth to reach an equilibrium temperature as heat comes in by absorbing sunlight and goes out by releasing infrared light. The concept of warm objects releasing infrared light — the hotter object, the more infrared light it emits — should be somewhat familiar if you have seen a movie where a character puts on infrared goggles. CO2 absorbs infrared light, preventing the release of this infrared light emitted from earth as part of its cooling process into space. Absorbing infrared light heats the gas to a higher temperature. So an atmosphere rich in CO2 is warmer than one with normal CO2 levels. Thus our planet is warmed by higher levels of CO2 in our atmosphere through this greenhouse effect. We put that CO2 there by burning fossil fuels. You can learn more about this here: missionscience.nasa.gov/ems/13_radiationbudget.html
So is CO2 to blame for rising average global temperature and not something else like periodic variations in the Earth's orbit or changes in the temperature of the Sun? Yes, according to scientists at NASA, CO2 is the primary cause of Earth's warming: bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world
*Why should we worry about global climate change?*
If temperatures rise, it will have a pronounced effect on agriculture across the globe. Hundreds of millions to billions of people rely on crops grown on land that depends on dry-season melt from snow caps and glaciers to water the soil. These glaciers and snow caps are disappearing due to increasing global temperatures even now. When Glacier National Park was established in 1910, it had around 150 glaciers. Now, 100 years and +1.2°C (2.2°F) later, there are 25 glaciers. This trend is occurring worldwide. On top of this, high temperatures are proven to harmfully impact crop yields. The refugee crisis from millions of farmers abandoning their fields and close to a billion people losing access to food from crops has the potential to be worse than any humanitarian crisis we've seen before.
*What can I do?*
Donate to environmental advocacy groups like Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and Natural Resource Defense Council. These groups have the manpower and the infrastructure to promote needed policies and initiatives, and every dollar helps. Call or write to your representatives and your senators to encourage them to support climate action at the federal level. Act at the state and local levels to fight for sound environmental policy in your communities.
And donate to my campaign!