Archive for December, 2010


I am sad to say that this is going to be my last post on my series of Geoenineering. Not to say it is going to be a short one though. In each of my series I have been consistently attack why I do not agree with what scientists have come up with. New treatments like Solar Radiation Management and Green house gas remediation. I have clearly stated that I do not think that SMR is a great way to fix our problems, if anything I think it is going to cause more catastrophic consequences than what nature would impose. As for Green house gas remediation I think that is a step in a better direction. It is aiming more at the root problem rather than trying to cover up the problem like SMR. However both have very negative affects. This is where series is going to be about what I want to see happen.

What I would like to see happen in a complete change in our society and social structure. Although I know this is going to be hard I think it is something that we as a society need to work on.  I have read Annie Leonard’s book, “ The Story of Stuff,” as well as “ a fierce green fire”, by Philip Shabecoff, and have found that our environment cannot be saved by simple environmentalism. Most Mainstream environmental organizations fail to target the most important part of the environmental movement.

What Geoenineering and environmental organizations need to focus on is action on environmental injustice, and challenge the world’s excessive consumption. Excessive consumption is the reason why Geoengineers have to come up with schemes to fix our problems. Excessive consumption is directly related to environmental injustice which leads to social injustice, it a vicious cycle. These are things that we as a society should be concerned about rather than putting a Band-Aid on our problems.Reading Leonard and Shabecoff has made me a firm believers that Environmental injustice and mass consumption are what our society and mainstream environmental groups needs to focus on.

Annie Leonard explains in her chapter of extraction why it is important to look at the environmental injustices that are happening around the world. A main example that she focuses on is the huge imbalance of the benefits from the extraction of natural resources. Leonard describes the imbalance as, the resource curse, “ [The] Local people get the short end of the deal, environmentally and economically. In fact, many places with valuable, nonrenewable resources like forests, metals, and minerals wind up as impoverished noncontenders in the global economy, with their citizens often left hungry and sick,” (Leonard). The multinational industries and international banks that make the decision and gain benefits often suppress these indigenous people as Leonard explains. These companies making such important decisions are often so distant that it is hard for the local communities to have a voice in the process. Being so distant also makes it impossible for the multinational groups to see what they are doing to our natural resources and the indigenous people. Simply put, the people who work so hard in the unhealthy extraction process and who get their natural resources stripped from them; are left out of the decision making process. Shabecoff bounces off this idea and adds that although these countries are giving their natural resources they are not the part of the world that consumes in mass amounts.

Shabecoff argues that in order for our world to see progress in our environment we have to start focusing on such issues of consumption and environmental injustice. Our environmental problems cannot simply be solved with the broad term of environmentalism that these mainstream websites display. Environmental injustice is a focus of Shabecoff because eventually it leads to the theme of mass consumption. Shabecoff explains that environmental injustice is largely connected to issues of social injustice. In an interview Shabecoff says, “The flaws of the economic and political systems that lead to disappearing land and polluted water and skies are ones that keep people in poverty, keep people of color suppressed, and lead to assaults on immigrants.”(Interview)  Here he clearly describes the connection between social and environmental injustice just like Leonard does in her book. In the past when developing countries seek environmental justice help from mainstream movements, like the websites I have researched, they often ignore them. The two websites that I viewed failed to make this connection in our own country and even around the world. Without making these connections we fail to realize that in developing countries population growth, poverty and destruction of the environment are intertwined.

Both Leonard and Shabecoff mention in their book that North America, Europe, and Japan are not in excessive demand of the goods that they use, like the developing countries. But are consuming in unimaginable amounts. The environmental imbalance is earth shattering. Shabecoff explains, “The U.S. and former Soviet Union alone, produce 45% of the carbon dioxide that is create the greenhouse effect. More than 90% of the chemicals that are destroying atmospheric ozone are produce and consumed in the industrialized countries,” (Shabecoff). The biggest question I can’t help but ask is what makes the US so special, why is it we feel it is ok to ruin our earth?  Leonard explains in her book, that if the world consumes at the rate the US does we would need several earths to supply the adequate amount of resources. I believe that countries around the world that consume the most need to rediscover the relationship that human have to the earth, and how any life depend on the resources that it provides for us. It is clear that the environmentalist alone cannot tackle this global issue.

I would like to see our society focus more on the emergence of a broader social movement. I see green web sites like I see Geoenineering. Most Geoenineering projects like solar radiation management are not getting at the root social problem that our society has. Instead both Geoenineering and these mainstream environmental groups are trying to put a band-aid over our problems. Telling the population little ways to fix the problems that we have created instead of stopping the further creation of these problems. Creating a broader social movement and awareness is the answer, getting the government involved is a major step that needs to be taken.

 

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Another set back

It seems like every time the United States makes progress in the green industry we get set back. While reading the Huffington post I came across an article that delivered much disappointment. Nick Wing wrote, House Republicans Scrap ‘Unnecessary’ Global Warming Committee. It makes me very sad to relay the message, now that the republican have taken over the house they are going to be getting rid of The Selected Committee on Global Warming. The republicans say that it is unnecessary. That the Democrats were using it as a political cover for their job-killing national energy tax.

I totally disagree with the Republicans decision. I think that we should be going in the total opposite direction. We should be making more committee and created more Green Industry jobs. We can stimulate our economy and work on fixing our environmental at the same time. Instead our government is doing neither. We see countries like China, India and Germany treating it as a real problem, why aren’t we?

 

As I was reading current articles on climate change, one really caught my eye. The title really got at what the main point of the article was. Amazon Thirst Alarming for the Earth. Staurt Grudgings from The Vancouver Sun really began to expose real climate change problems. Climate change is caused by anthropogenic activities and is defined as extremes at either end of the spectrum. Extremes is exactly what the amazon is facing.

For the second time in 5 years the amazon has experiences extremely hot weather conditions. In 2005 the extreme weather was defined as something that happens once in a century. But when it happened again a couple years later, and even more severe, the cause was thought to be our changing climate.

The results of climate change causing such severe weather patters is catastrophic. The amazon accounts for more than half of the earths remaining rainforest. The rainforest is a huge contributor to prevents climate change, it acts as an air conditioner by absorbing carbon. But when extreme droughts happen and the rainforest dies it becomes the opposite, the trees become huge carbon contributers. The drought in 2005 released more greenhouse gases than the annual emissions of Europe and Japan. The rainforest switching from a carbon sink to a major source.

(Not only is the death of the Trees a major green house gas emitter, but they decay of wildlife is too. These fish were also a source of food to all the native people.)

 

Although the rainforest is a natural source of green house gases it is caused from human activity. The major drought is caused by the warming of the North Atlantic Ocean which is affect the formation of rain clouds over the Amazon. Not only are the effects of the this drought catastrophic to the progression of climate change but also to the people that live in the amazon. The people that live in the amazon are dependent on the crops that they grow and produce which they are unable to do during the drought. Now they are suffering.

After reading this article I really feel like we are reaching a point of no return. For people to read something like this and still think that climate change is not happening is unbelievable. I think instead of denying what science is telling the world we need to start acting on how to fix it. It is a vicious cycle. Anthropogenic reasons for climate change are causing natural reasons for climate change. The natural causes of climate change are more extreme than the ones that we could possibly cause. Natural contributers however are not going to be able to stopped like we could stop the human caused ones.

Previously I discussed one of the major Geoenineering proposed schemes and in my opinion the most harmful. Solar Radiation Management is not a productive method because it does not get at the root cause of climate change. On the other hand there is a more productive method that scientists have come up with is, Greenhouse Gas Remediation. Unlike SRM, Greenhouse Gas Remediation really gets at the root cause of the problem. The main focus is to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. It is removed directly or indirectly by using alternative natural processes that remove climate changing green house gases. There are several different types of Green House Gas Remediation, Carbon sequestration, CFC photochemistry and Methane removal, just to name a few.


Although this proposed technique is more efficient than SMR it still has negative effects. When focusing on Carbon sequestration for example, although it is better than SMR it is still dangerous to the sustainability of our environment. Carbon Sequestration is the process of the long-term storage of carbon dioxide. As we know carbon dioxide is a major green house gas. By capturing the carbon dioxide it is expected to slow down the accumulation of greenhouse gases, thus slowing down the effects of global warming.


However it risks changing the chemicals composition and habitable qualities of the bodies of water that the carbon gets stored in. Even if the companies that practice the carbon sequestration highly regulate and make sure there are no faults, faults are still likely to still happen. Consequences would be severe. Sea life in the ocean would not receive the necessary levels of oxygen as well as decrease their metabolism, slowing down the entire sea life. In my previous blog I link how important sea life is to the survival of food chain. All life forms on the food chain including humans need oceanic life. It is a major contributor to the Earth’s biodiversity.

Even though Greenhouse Gas Remediation tries to target the root cause of climate change it still is not the right way to fix the problem of climate change. The only way to fix our problem of climate change is to directly target the emission and our social structure that makes it okay to emit mass amounts of green house gases. Technology can not just act as a band aid to simply cover our problems

Stylized Band-aid Globe

Geoenineering is a process that has been discovered by scientist to correct the progress of climate change. It is the process of manipulating the earth climate to counter act the harmful affects of global warming. So essentially the Goal is to attempt to recreate natural events to solve our the current threat of climate change.
As the inhabitants of earth we are reaching a point of no return. The amount of pollution and harmful chemicals emitted constantly into the air is taking a toll on the planet, in which we depend on. As I said before I do not believe that technology is the solution to the current environmental problems.

In this series post I am going to continue my argument, but more specifically in this post I will talk about a Geoenineering process that I think has the worst impact on the environment.
Geoenineering is an attempt, at a solution that scientist have come up with to solve our environmental problems.
All processes in which have been discovered act as a Band-Aid instead of a solution to the root cause. The worst in my opinion is Solar Radiation Management. Scientist have discovered a new method to help reduce climate change or other wise known as global warming. By intentionally changing the Earths Albedo affect, solar radiation management (SRM) is both reflecting light back out into the atmosphere, and stopping it from reaching Earth. As a result, reducing the affect of global warming by reducing the amount of heat that stays trapped in the atmosphere. One way to increase the albedo affect of the Earth, scientists are reenacting a process that occurs naturally from aerosols caused from pollution, major forest fires, and/or volcanic eruptions.

Another SRM used is Hydrogen Sulfur or Sulfur Dioxide pumping into our atmosphere, which would be delivered by airplanes or balloons. Another main way scientists are increasing the albedo affect and reducing global warming is cloud whitening, by spraying seawater into the atmosphere and increasing the reflection of light back out into the atmosphere. Although the ultimate goal of Geoenineering is to reduce the global warming affect by manipulating the earth’s climate, solar radiation management has some extreme flaws.

The problems that arise from Solar Radiation Management are severe ones. By inserting unnatural or natural substances more than normal into the air to reduce an affect that is anthropogenic caused does not solve our ultimate problem of global warming. Also by pumping in unnatural aerosols, also known as particulate matter, it would cause respiratory harm to humans on earth. Particulate matter is already something that exists as a health hazards to humans, why would we want to increase it? It would also have a negative affect on our hydrological cycle, and would not reduce our problem of ocean acidification, or depletion of ozone, which is caused by the same activities that is causing global warming. The one good thing about SRM is that is would temporarily solve our problem of global warming and would create an artificial shade to the earth’s surface. This is a creative way to help solve our current problems of global warming but it is the right way?

I disagree with this solution, I think that in order to fix our problem we need to go back to the root cause. Although SRM would increase the albedo and temporarily decrease global warming, it is not addressing the other problems of climate change like ocean acidification and ozone depletion. We also do not know what would happen if we stopped using SMR. It is proposed that if we use it and then decide to stop using it the affects of global warming would happen more rapidly than before SMR. I think the obvious solution is to reduce our emissions as quickly as possibly before it is too late.
In the post to follow I will look into a more effective Geoenineering technique with more benefits and less environmental impact.

Since the start of the industrial revolution the United States began emitting harmful chemicals into the environment and the population that inhabits it. Society paid very little attention to how the pollution was going to affect our planet and the environment that we live in. As a result, the world is in a position where they are in desperate need of correction.
The amount of pollution emitted into the air is causing major Environmental problems that are not easy to fix. Our planet is currently facing a depletion of our Tropospheric ozone which is extremely important. It protects form of life on Earth from harmful UV-C radiation. It is not unknown that we are facing a problem of global warming/ climate change as well. Which causes ice caps to melt around the poles and sea levels to rise. Biodiversity on Earth is also being depleted. Extinction rates are extremely high and the food all life forms depend on are slowly being broken down. All these catastrophic events…are a result of the incredibly high rate of green house gas emissions.


We are at a point in history where we have to fix the way our society lives or it will become really hard for life to persist on earth. The extreme effects may not happen in our life time but we will see the start of it. Children and grandchild will be the ones who have to suffer from what current society has created.
To help solve this problem scientist have come up with new scientific method that is intended to correct the environmental problem at hand is called Geoengineering, or Climate engineering. The ultimate goal is to manipulate the Earth climate to adverse the affects of climate change. Often Climate engineering is manipulating the Earths climate by artificially reproducing events that happen naturally. But when they are reproduced natural events artificially there are side affect that are often equally as harmful as what scientist were trying to fix.

I personally do not think that technology is the solution to our problems. Through out this blog series I will create an argument why I think we should be researching alternative ways to improve our environment. Also I will explain what types of geoenineering there is and why it may be effective but also how it is harmful.

 

Illustration showing multiple geoengineering approaches