I decided that I would participate in Blog Action Day. Participants have been asked to blog about the environment today, October 15, 2007. Part of the reason I decided to take part was my recent journey that I shared with you in my post titled Consequences, and since I have a strong connection to nature and the nature spirits it seemed only, well… natural.
Note: You can click on any of the images below to enlarge them.
If you type “global warming” (with the quote marks) into the Google search box, it will return about 66 million hits. This will of course bring you the full gamut from pros to cons, from rants to raves, and all sorts of experts (and morons) on both sides claiming their truth is the only real truth, and their scientific god is the only true god. This post isn’t meant to be a comprehensive debate of the pros and cons, but simply some personal thoughts and observations for your contemplation. Neither side knows the full truth (if it can ever be known by man), but until both sides come together and drop the egos, they haven’t a prayer. Right now all aspects of society – at least here in the US – are so polarized that we are virtually going nowhere. You’re either with us or against us goes the mantra of the day. Hopefully it does not become our epitaph.
I don’t think any rational person could seriously believe that human activity is not at least partly responsible for the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, or that those gases trap heat on the earth and prevent it from being radiated back out into space. The chart at left was created by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and is from Mongabay.com and shows world CO2 emissions starting in 1990 and projected out to 2030. We cannot keep this rate of increase up and survive.
Areas of the deep oceans are approaching temperatures that could produce massive releases of methane – another more potent greenhouse gas – from the seabed and from methane ice on the sea floor. Since relatively little of the seabed has been explored, we really have little idea how extensive and potentially devastating this problem could be.
This summer’s unprecedented high temperatures in the arctic uncovered and thawed vast areas of permafrost which in turn released more CO2 into the atmosphere as the previously frozen plant matter decayed. This is going to continue.Live vegetation takes in CO2 from the atmosphere and converts it to food, and in the process releases life-sustaining oxygen back into the air. Day by day deforestation is reducing the amount of vegetation on the earth and thus reducing nature’s ability to cleanse the air. Right now there is more CO2 – natural and manmade – being pumped into the air than the earth systems can convert. This is the environmental equivalent to deficit spending (a concept the US should be quite familiar with).
14 November 2005, Rome – Each year about 13 million hectares [32,123,699 acres or 50,193 sq miles, roughly equivalent to the area of Louisiana] of the world’s forests are lost due to deforestation, but the rate of net forest loss is slowing down, thanks to new planting and natural expansion of existing forests, FAO announced today.
The annual net loss of forest area between 2000 and 2005 was 7.3 million hectares/year [18,038,692 acres or 28,185 sq miles, a little less than the area of South Carolina] — an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama — down from an estimated 8.9 million ha/yr between 1990 and 2000. This is equivalent to a net loss of 0.18 percent of the world’s forests annually. Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.