The planet is dying and so are we

English: View of the crescent moon through the...
English: View of the crescent moon through the top of the earth’s atmosphere. Photographed above 21.5°N, 113.3°E. by International Space Station crew Expedition 13 over the South China Sea, just south of Macau (NASA image ID: ISS013-E-54329).  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You must be either ignorant or new to the earth to not know that our planet is dying, and along with with it, the humans. We are on the verge of the biggest collapse of a society in the time period that humans have inhabited this earth.

But who am I to say something like that? I am not an environmental scientist or an environmentalist; however, I am a global citizen that is concerned with what is going on today with our planet, something that threatens to destroy the future for our children and future generations.

The temperature around the world has been rising due to atmospheric changes caused by us, the temperature has risen in the average of 0.01 degrees per year in recent decades, now that is not much, to an ignorant mind that we all fall under.

I say ignorant mind as the temperature fluctuates up and down erratically from year to year, so been hard to get an average picture and only in recent times scientists have discovered a pattern 0.01 degree per year.

But if our temperature increases with 2 degrees from previous decades, we are in trouble, our ice packs and glaciers will melt, our sea level will rise and we will wake up with a jolt and wondered what happened.

That is why we hear some scientist saying we do not have a problem; while other scientist says we are in dire straights. It seems that the scientist that say we do not have a problem has a short term view of the problems, and they are often funded by businesses such as oil companies to come up with these predictions.

Global Warming and Global Dimming are two man-made problems that are causing the earth\’s delicate bio-sphere to react irrationally. Earth is a living “thing” and we are a part of it. Think of the earth as a balloon; it has a thin layer that controls the earth’s balanced climate (green gases), it lets in rays from the sun to heat up and it lets heat radiated by earth out of the atmosphere.

Global Warming

Green gases are natural to earth as well as man mad, when green gases get trapped in the atmosphere they absorb the heat radiated by the earth and subsequently warms the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), halogenated fluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), perfluorinated carbons (PFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The two most interesting gases, which we can control, are carbon monoxide and methane.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas, produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, oil, and wood. Even cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide.

Methane is lighter than air, colourless, odourless, and flammable. It occurs in natural gas, as firedamp in coal mines, from landfills, as a by-product of petroleum refining, fermenting cow manure, and as a product of decomposing matter in swamps.

These are natural gases that have existed since the beginning of our planet, and have not caused any problems to humans except for in the last 100 years; why now?

Simple, we are using the earth\’s resources and creating more gases than ever before. Earth is a well-balanced bio-sphere but very sensitive to changes and we are creating a sick planet.

By cutting down trees, and clear cut large areas carbon monoxide rises up while in the past the trees were absorbing the carbon monoxide a filtered it. With clear-cutting, we created soil erosion letting methane gas go up in our atmosphere while in the past it was absorbed by our soil.

By clear-cutting, we are actually releasing methane gas into the atmosphere that has been absorbed in the soil, and by using oil and coal, we create “new” carbon monoxide. We do not have any forest or soil to absorb these man-made gas volumes, they go straight up in the atmosphere, accelerating global warming.

Carbon Monoxide is a very poisonous gas, people around our planet die every day of carbon monoxide poisoning, often due to burning woods, gas or oil that gets trapped inside a small area such as a house, building or vehicle.

To save these people we only need to open the doors to let the gas out and keep them out. The gas goes up into the atmosphere, but the more gases we send up to the atmosphere, the more we are changing and filling up the earth’s atmosphere with gases that will eventually cause our doomsday.

Global Dimming

Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct sun radiation, which creates a cooling effect that may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.

The incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and wood releases soot into the atmosphere, the soot absorbs solar energy and reflects sunlight back into space, and dims the surface of the ocean by absorbing solar radiation.

So what causes this? Airborne volcanic ash can reflect the Sun’s rays back out into space and cool the planet, but this lasts only for a short period. It is believed that aircraft contrails are implicated in global dimming. The near-total shutdown of civil air traffic during the three days following September 11, 2001, scientists observed an increase in diurnal temperature variation of over 1 °C in some parts of the U.S., i.e. aircraft contrails may have been raising nighttime temperatures and/or lowering daytime temperatures by much more than previously thought.

The pollution produced by humans may be seriously weakening the Earth\’s water cycle – reducing rainfall and threatening fresh water supplies. Tiny particles of soot and other pollutants have a significant effect on the hydrological cycle. The energy for the hydrological cycle comes from sunlight, sunlight heats the ocean and water escapes into the atmosphere and falls out as rain. So as soot cut down sunlight by large amounts causing global dimming, it may be spinning down the hydrological cycle of the planet, causing less rainy days.

Global dimming may also have caused changes in weather patterns. The reduction in the sunshine at the ocean surface may have led to the failure of the monsoon in sub-Saharan Africa during the 1970s and 1980s, caused by Northern hemisphere pollution cooling the Atlantic. With European countries taken measures against carbon monoxide emission in recent years, few draughts have been reported.

Conclusion

The situation is very dire, global dimming has masked the effect of global warming to some extent and that resolving global dimming may, therefore, lead to increases in predictions of future temperature rise.

Climatologists are stressing that the roots of both global dimmings causing pollutants, and global warming causing greenhouse gases, have to be dealt with together and soon.

It might already be too late; luckily, governments around the world and the media have focused more and more on the environmental issues over the last year.

We are seeing more governments that have been elected on a green agenda. But what the voter does not know is that the agenda is not green enough, they show a green outlook so they can get the voters.

The only choice for voters when elections are coming up is to vote the green party to power, the green party is the only one that has a political program based on a completely environmental lifestyle.

We as individuals have to take action, but it is an uphill battle. To fight climate changes, we must fight against companies, the government, and we must fight ourselves. People like to complain about issues close to them and not the things we are doing to ourselves.

When the gas price goes up we start complaining about the price of the gas, if we have a power cut we complain that the power company could not deliver us electricity. This is because we are ignorant of the fact that the power cut is caused by us using more electricity, so the supply is lower than the demand. This goes with gas prices as well, when the price goes up, demand is up.

So, for that trip to the cottage over a long weekend, the gas demand is up, or Toronto playing in the Stanley Cup final, the electricity demand goes up, as more TV’s are on.

It is easier to get people to complain about high fuel prices than confront a threat to our existence.

The facts are that the population is continuing to grow, more gas is being produced, more of the planet’s resources are required, and we need to change our ways to manage earth the way we manage our bank account.

The core cause to our society is our market-driven economy spearheaded by publicly traded companies, they are built for profit only, they seek profits year-by-year, and need new consumers to continue its quests.

The more we buy the deeper we get in debt, fueling the need for us to buy more. Behind this are our advertising ads. We can not see a TV channel or listen to the radio without seeing or hearing advertisements.

Now we force our society onto others in developing countries. We use advertising to educate people in developing countries on what we have and make them see what they are missing. But not everyone can live in our society, so we created a bubble within the bubble, dividing us between rich and poor countries, we deplete the poor countries of there natural resources, only making a few rich in these countries, instead of helping the country out to become a self-sustaining society.

Then we use aid if a country gets a draught, and millions of people are suffering. Aid does not help all the time; it only helps the immediate situation, not a long term goal for the country. The micro economy is the only viable solution to help them survive, or they come to our country to do the dishes that none of us want to do anymore, as we are too comfortable, we have to change.

The economy is based on short term profits and does not fit into a conservation policy, so we have to change it. The native people of this earth knew this long ago, they only used as many resources as they needed. We could have learnt from them, but we did not, we decide that free capitalism was the way to go. Now I am not saying capitalism is bad, we just have to change it to reflect that our resources are considered first and profit second.

What can you do?

You can be ignorant and disregard what I write, who am I to say these things? I am not a scientist, but I challenge you to find out for yourself the facts and you will see some truth in what I have written. I suggest that you start watching the movie An Inconvenient Truth –

Another movie that you can watch on Google video is about Global Dimming –

For reading I recommend

  1. Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. 2005.
  2. McNeill, J. R. Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World. 2000.
  3. Tainter, Joseph. The Collapse of Complex Societies, 1988.
  4. George Monbiot.  HEAT – How to stop the planet from burning, 2006.
  5. John Perkins. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, 2004.

You cannot be ignored anymore, you need to take steps to change how you live, we have the freedom to do what we want when we want, and in the near future, there is no doubt in my mind that our children/grandchildren have to give up what we have today.

We have to change the way we live. We need to live by the principals of “a ration of freedom”. We have our freedom, but we have to ration that freedom and exclude from our lifestyle things that cause carbon monoxide emission, we must take small steps if we all do it, the change will happen.

Here are a few tips on how to live with the principle of “Ration of Freedom”

  1. Change traditional light bulbs to fluorescent light bulbs in your house
  2. Change the way you live by finding a job near where you live, so you can walk there.
  3. Change your mutual funds to environmental mutual funds.
  4. Do not use your air condition!
  5. Control your power consumption!
  6. Take public transportation!
  7. Use Grocery Gateway to deliver your groceries to the door
  8. Eat locally produced food,
  9. Buy fair trade fruits, tea and coffee.
  10. Make your home environment-friendly, change the heating source from oil or gas to solar, thermal, or wind power or a combination of reusable energy sources.
  11. Do not use bleach or other chemicals in your house
  12. Do not use pesticides in your garden
  13. Cut your grass with a push mower
  14. Use recycled bags if you need to shop

Get educated on environmental issues and join an environmental group or parties like www.wwf.com, www.greenpeace.ca, friends of the earth, green party, www.gc.ca, or any other groups that campaign for our environment and change our government’s way to conduct business. Our governments should stop subsidizing farmers, and create a fair trade exchange that benefits farmers globally.

Force the governments to protect our natural resources, and manage what we have and certify companies that do business in oil, gas, timber, and fishing to preserve our resources for the generation to come.

If you take these small steps you are on the way of preserving the earth for future generation and we will start to manage the planet as a resource.

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