Monday, 16 April 2018

Getting Warmer ...

We live in an amazing period in human history, a time when huge leaps in technology and science have provided the human race with advances that could not even be imagined several hundred years ago. That’s if you don’t count reality TV of course!

We are able to drive around in vehicles that make our individual countries much smaller places. The world too is getting smaller as we fly from country to country, in achievable time frames. If I want to travel to America I can board an aircraft at Manchester airport in the morning and land in New York eight hours later and have dinner in a fancy restaurant in Manhatten with time to add some graffiti to Trump Tower should I feel the need to do so (and I do, dear reader, I really do).

I can even get to the other side of the world in a day or so to give me an opportunity to discuss ball tampering with Aussies and get some tips.

For people who don’t like travelling, communication with the rest of the world technology comes to their aid too. My eldest son has just come back from Sydney, Australia and I managed to exchange several messages with him via an application on my smartphone in real time almost instantaneously, offering translation services like use of the word “dunney” and the phrase “fair dinkum”. He has posted photographs to make me jealous and I can express my envy in seconds.

This very post will cast out into cyberspace and can be read instantly by anyone in the world with access to a computer, tablet, smartphone and a strange masochistic streak.

As a race we are so proud of our achievements but sadly there is a cost – and we need to do something about it.

Technology is driven by electricity and in order to generate the copious amounts we demand and require we need to burn fossil fuels, as we do if we want to travel a small distance in our cars or fly to any destination in the world.

Sadly, burning fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide, or CO2, and the consequences of this are affecting the planet we call home. Carbon dioxide and other pollutants collect in the atmosphere and are basically turning Earth into a giant greenhouse. Sunlight and solar radiation should reflect off the surface of the planet and escape into space but, just like a greenhouse, these gases absorb  the sunlight and radiation and trap the heat, thus making our planet warmer.

If you have ever been in a greenhouse on a sunny day you will know exactly what I mean.

In theory we could achieve balance with plants because they absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and convert it into oxygen. Sadly, we are significantly reducing the number of plants in the world through farming and deforestation, in some cases burning them, which in turn generates even more carbon dioxide.

It is a battle that the earth is losing.

Global warming sceptics, amongst them President Donald Trump, dismiss the idea of climate change due to human intervention as a myth. However, there are mountains of proof out there.

For example, all but one of the 16 hottest years in recorded history have occurred since the year 2000.

Think about that for a second.

Given the demand for electricity, travel and fossil fuels generally is it any surprise, especially since the human population of the world is also increasing rapidly – currently a staggering 7.6 billion people?

So what are the effects of global warming? And could it cause the end of the world?

We will face several challenges. If we carry on down the road we have embarked upon.

The level of the seas will rise, leading to coastal flooding which will include some major cities around the world. We may even lose the ice at the North Pole during summer months in a hundred years or two.

The weather will also be adversely affected with more extremes, stronger and more powerful hurricanes, severe snowstorms and flooding, something which will potentially lead to plagues and disease (a bad thing for a hypochondriac like me).

Paradoxically, other places will suffer droughts leading to famine and starvation.

The oceanic ecosystem will suffer too. As the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide, its pH will drop making it more acidic and harmful to marine life.

For those who doubt that global warming is an actual thing (I’m talking specifically to people like Donald Trump), here are some other proven and alarming facts.

As of 2017, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at their highest for 650,000 years.

The average global temperature is up by almost one degree Centigrade since 1880.

Arctic summer sea ice has declined by 13% per decade since the 1980s.

The global sea level has risen 7 inches in the past century.

What can we do about it?

We can stop listening to the Oompah Loompah in the White House for a start.

Sadly, you and I, dear reader can only contribute in a tiny way by reducing our carbon footprints and, perhaps using our own footprints to get to our destinations instead of jumping into our cars. As a race we need a technology leap that sadly isn’t being achieved as fast as we actually need it.

Even with countries aiming to reduce their emissions with targets, the global temperature will still rise – only more slowly.

Our fate is in our own hands. At the moment we are turning our planet into a toilet in a greenhouse.

I have hope though. I think the world is slowly becoming aware of the problem – too slowly if you ask me – but then again people like Donald Trump won’t be in power for too much longer to bleat about global warming being a myth.

Mind you, he’s so orange that perhaps he think it’s his own natural skin colour.

We could all end up looking like him.

The future of mankind?
And that should give us all the kick up the arse we need.


Elephant's Child said...

Sadly rather a lot of our own politicians believe that climate change is a myth. Or overstated. And that coal is king.
We will all pay a high price for their ignorance.

River said...

I try not to worry too much about the global warming thing. I know it is happening, but I'm choosing to believe future generations are much smarter and will get something worked out to save the planet.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I'm not so worried about myself - more my kids and descendants.

We really need to start now and to be fair some of us already have.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I think the youth will be more proactive - some of the bozos in power at the moment couldn't give a toss!