The average American is responsible for one of the largest carbon footprints in the world. Some 37% of our carbon emissions is associated with electricity generation; 33% stems from transportation – largely personal automobiles. The remaining 30% is attributed to industry, residential use, and agriculture.
By now the lesson is clear: Burning coal and petroleum produces carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas that contributes to the warming of our globe. That alone is enough reason to believe fossil fuels are not a sustainable basis for society long-term.
Forest preservation is essential to combating climate change. Growing trees absorb carbon dioxide, storing it in their wood. Forest destruction is responsible for about 20% of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth's atmosphere.
Carbon released from terrestrial ecosystems is an important source of organic matter in most streams, lakes and rivers. In the Hudson River there has been a doubling in concentration of dissolved organic carbon over the past 15 years.