Be the Change

Paula LaBrot

There are two types of climate change: Natural and Man-made. They are both real.

Climatechange.org reports the reasons for each type. Natural climate change originates from continental drift, the activity of ocean currents, volcanic explosions, meteor strikes, solar output (the sun’s output), orbit changes, and other natural forces. 

Man-made climate change, which accelerates the natural process, comes from burning fossil fuels, the production of black carbon (soot), wildfires, vehicle emissions or heating systems, methane from agriculture (and not just cow farts, though that is real), urbanization, which creates heat islands due to concentrated use of electricity and fossil fuels, and, to me, the worst—deforestation. All these factors affect the concentration of greenhouse gases in earth’s atmosphere. Too much is bad, and too little is bad.

 

GREENHOUSE GAS EFFECT

According to Eartheclipse.com, the Earth’s atmosphere works the same as greenhouses do. During the day when the sun shines, it heats up the Earth’s atmosphere. Gases reflect a lot of heat off the Earth, so we don’t burn up. Heat that gets reflected to the Earth’s surface is absorbed by land and oceans.

At night when the sun goes down, the Earth cools by giving off a different form of energy called infrared radiation. But, before this heat escapes back into space, it is absorbed by gases present in the atmosphere, so we don’t get too cold. On balance, this heat exchange makes it possible for the survival of human beings on this planet. The atmosphere is our security blanket.

If not enough hot gases can escape back into space, the temperature balance of the atmosphere is thrown off from its normal earth average of 59 degrees. The gases that hold onto the infrared heat are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, fluorocarbons, and water vapor. When these gases get too concentrated in the atmosphere, it accelerates global warming.

Right now, the biggest culprit is Carbon Dioxide, CO2. It is emitted as a waste product from burning fossil fuels. So, the big trick of the future—the very near future—is to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere.

 

DIVERSITY IS KEY TO CO2 REDUCTION OF THE FUTURE

Chris Field is the Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford.

“Ultimately, scientists support a balanced approach that includes research and development of carbon-removal technologies but also makes use of available means to limit and reduce carbon emissions, such as investing in renewable energy sources,” said Field. “In managing the risks of a changing climate, we need a diversified game plan. An appealing long shot is not a plan and it is not a good way to protect the planet on which we depend,” he said.

So, what do we find in the diversified game plan? First of all, developing technologies to reduce emissions. Never underestimate the inventiveness of human beings.

 

SOLUTIONS

The Rodale Institute, a non-profit agricultural think tank, predicts that more than 100 percent of current annual global carbon emissions could be captured with a change to widely available and inexpensive farming practices, such as not turning the soil over through tilling or plowing, and replanting with rotating cover crops after a main crop has been harvested, ensuring a continuous process of CO2 absorption and storage underground by plants.

Cleantechnica.com reports, “Tractor trailers, urban delivery vans, and ships have long been reliant on diesel engines. They are efficient and reliable but have a nasty habit of spewing millions of tons of vile stuff into the atmosphere every year.” Car emissions have been greatly reduced by technologies in the car itself and in fuel formulas. Tougher standards have really cleaned the air in places like the San Fernando Valley. Thirty years ago, a brown soup covered the Valley. It’s better today.

The Dutch now have barges that run on batteries powered by renewable sources. The shipping industry is beginning to develop wave-propelled vessels. The Suntory Mermaid II is a 9.5-meter, three-ton catamaran driven by wave power. It features two fin tails which absorb wave energy and generate thrust by moving up and down with the motion of the boat.

Manufacturers are adding on new technologies to make their production processes more green, as well as controlling emissions ranging from aluminum smelting processes to plastic recycling.

 

THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

People don’t invent new technologies with the idea of destroying the world. But there are unintended consequences through ignorance and greed that put this beautiful world in jeopardy. We can use tech to improve agricultural output so current land produces more, eliminating the need to clearcut forests. We can use tech to create alternative energy sources and clean up the current fossil fuel problems. We can accelerate research through data collection and analysis. We can use social media to educate and raise awareness all around the world. The Greenhouse Gas effect is treatable by the very people who create and feed it.

 

DON’T BE AFRAID, BE ACTIVE!

I have always taught my kids, if you want world peace, let it start with you. If you want to stop human-made global warming, let it start with you. Recycle, try your best not to buy plastic, be mindful of how products you buy are grown or manufactured. Be willing to pay a little more and have a little less. Get ready for nuclear fusion. (not fission, fusion…no radioactive waste involved). 

Support new technologies and Plant! Plant! Plant! 

Vamos a ver!

 

Paula LaBrot
Paula LaBrot

Paula LaBrot is a 30-year resident of Topanga, a futurist with a special interest in the uncharted waters of cyberspace. plabrot@messengermountainnews.com

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