I’m a lazy person, and therefore when I found a way to complete two separate assignments with one blog post (or killing two birds with one stone) I took the opportunity. This is both my “Blog of the Week” that I need for English, and my “Civic Activism Assignment” for Civics class. Both classes demand different citation styles, and unique components required for this post, so there will be certain parts within this blog that are meant for the civic class marks, and my English class marks.
This blog post will be about a time-long topic, global warming. Global warming has been the topic of conversation between scientists, activists, and naturalists internationally, but I in this post will try to inform both students of Sir Allan Macnab Secondary School and maybe an educational executive or two.
First of all, what is this global warming? Global warming in my opinion is both a literal, and metaphorical concept. There is the literal which is the concept of the Earth warming up due to non-environmentally friendly practices. The metaphorical concept is the connection of everything going wrong in the environment having either a direct or indirect correlation with the Earth’s health. There are many causes to global warming, and all are either caused by people or further driven by people. These causes include clear cutting, the increase in cattle ranches, and the burning of fossil fuels.
Clear cutting for those who don’t know is a form of obtaining wood from trees. There are tree farms where trees are cut down, but others are planted in their place (if you’ve ever bought a real Christmas tree the place where you bought said tree would be a tree farm).
Clear cutting is taking giant sections of a forest and cutting down all the trees in the area. This causes a major disturbance with the ecosystem that inhabits that section of the forest, and this is prevalent in areas like the Amazon rain forest which is having areas the size of football fields being cut down every minute. Now you might be wondering why have so much wood cut down in rich, lush environments that’s thousands of kilometers away, instead of having tree farms here in Canada. Well the problem is economics, rich developed countries buy wood from poorer countries, because of it’s lower price, cheap labor, and loyal suppliers.
Clear cutting forests would lead to cause innumerable species to die. These species may include plants, animals, fungus, and other organisms that may prove useful for medicinal purposes in the future. What I meant by that is simply the international idea that if there’s a cure for currently incurable cancers and AIDS in the Amazon then why are people cutting it down.
“One in ten known species live within the Amazon, and any one of them could be the medicinal answer to the deadliest of diseases, and yet we destroy these species for a dated source of fuel that can easily be replaced by modern technology”
There are numerous sources that will say that environmentalists over dramatize the events in the Amazon by saying that only 12.5% of the Amazon has been cut down (but sources like National Geographic will state that it’s near 15-20%). The Amazon rain forest is over 5,500,000 square kilometers, and 12.5% of that is 687,000 square kilometers, which is bigger than Alberta, Canada. Also another point is that one third of that number is left for regeneration, but that regenerative state that the forest was left in is just abandoned farmland.
The video above was sent to me via. comment by Elliot and does a really good job at explaining visually the impacts of deforestation, and just the magnitude in which the Amazon is being cut.
Now if people in South America impoverished then why abandon a farm that was built where a dense forest was. The answer might anger some, but the truth is that the soil itself sucks. The soil in the Amazon is fertilized through the wildlife that live their (such as leaf cutter ants), but even then ground level in the Amazon is dead compared to the canopy (which is where all the precipitation gets trapped, and where all the treetops reach). Ranchers will illegally clear cut a section of a forest, build a farm for livestock and agriculture, and then have to move, because the plants die once the nutrition that was there can’t be replenished. The soil quickly dries up and becomes useless for grazing purposes, and agricultural work.
It may sound like I targeted the financially insecure people of South America, but I promise I make no insult to those people. Unfortunately one of the only ways that they’re able to make money is through the raising of livestock, and more specifically, cattle. Cattle are natural animals, but having an overpopulation of them can lead to some problems. See cattle/cows produce a greenhouse gas called methane, which is an extremely more efficient greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. That means that methane traps more heat, and absorbs more thermal energy than carbon dioxide ever could. Now while it’s a somewhat minor problem when compared to the burning of fossil fuels or clear cutting, eventually the build up of methane will have a permanent effect on our atmosphere. This effect will be the Earth’s average temperature raising, which would prove disastrous for all living beings upon this planet.
The prospect of the temperature rising to a dangerous level is already a reality in the making. Temperature’s rising is easily caused by the burning of fossil fuels or the over production of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat within our atmosphere and absorb thermal energy/heat and trap it within the planet. These greenhouse gases are emitted immensely through the use of fossil fuels, and to be a bit more specific the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels is the carbon from prehistorically living beings, that over millennium have been pressured into a solid form (coal) or a liquid form (oil). Burning these fuels release the pressurized carbon within the atmosphere and interact with other chemicals to make greenhouse gases. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and carbon monoxide. All these gases trap heat and store it which in turn heats up the Earth, and creating the cycle of global warming. Now a simple minded counter argument would be that natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, and the cycle of life produce greenhouse gases. That is true, but people further drive this carbon cycle to insane degrees with technological advancements such as cars and factories.
This was actually all being taught to me within my science class, and if it’s so easy a concept that it’s being taught to tenth graders then it shouldn’t be that big of a problem then, right?
The temperature rising will cause natural calamities such as the polar ice caps melting, which will cause water levels to rise internationally. All that in turn will eventually lead to the changing of weather, and the increase in natural disasters such as hurricanes, and tornadoes. The weather can also turn into a more disastrous effect with an increase in smog and acid rain.
What will be the outcome if nothing is done about the global warming problem. The answer could vary, but from what I learnt while doing this my prediction is that:
- Weather patterns change due to changing ocean currents and wind patterns
- The environment changes to fast for most wildlife to adapt causing mass extinction
- An imbalance in the food chain from mass extinction further turmoils animal kingdom (including us)
- With major disturbance in both cycle of environmental life and carbon cycle food products can’t grow
Now what could a student like me help in the crusade to preserve the Earth. Well for starters educating others would be the best option. To educate people though in a way that will show change will have to include facts or studies that will truly shock or intrigue people. Why not choose a more communicative option, well people in this day and age don’t care. The general populous don’t have a proper understanding of this drastic problem, and if they don’t see the direct correlation with their life people won’t care. A donation could help, but why waste my energy making a 20$ donation when that alone won’t make a difference? That is why when you educate others you teach them the ways that will make an effective impact. Also without a large demographic behind you a rally won’t work. A rally or protest would come after enough people know about the topic, and support the leader within the rally or protest.
Now I stated that educating people is the best way to go here would be my SMART (Specific.Measurable.Attainable.Realistic.Timely) goal will follow suit in ease, and possibly efficiency. If I were to attempt to tackle this problem I would wait until the Binbrook fair comes back in September, and set up a booth. After setting up a booth I would provide games and rewards that revolve around children’s trivia based on global warming in order to educate them. The kids would have knowledge and the motivation that adults lost throughout their life. Children have heavy influence on their parents, and that would what happens in this ideal situation. The parents would donate and/or spread the word, and after word hits a few people through social media or via newspaper then I will know I have achieved my goal.
Bonus: If you want to see a cool list of animals that have gone extinct in the past 40 years here’s the URL(http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/g201/recently-extinct-animals-list-470209/?slide=10), I didn’t even know half of these animals existed.
Final Question: Do you think in this modern age of technology, and current state of environment that it is possible for the Earth to mend, if humanity miraculously fixes it’s ways? If you think it’s possible for the rejuvenation of Earth to commence then how would you solve accomplish this?
“Rain Forest Threats” National Geographic Society. Accessed April 6th, 2015. http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/rainforest-threats/
“The Clear-cutting Facts About the Rainforest” CFACT. Accessed April 6th, 2015. http://www.cfact.org/2001/01/01/the-clearcutting-facts-about-the-rainforest/
“Small-Scale Logging Leads to Clear-cutting in Brazilian Amazon” Rob Gutro. NASA. Updated February 23rd, 2008. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2006/brazil_logging.html
“Amazon Rainforest: Clear-cutting the Myths” Fordaq. Accessed April 6th, 2015. http://www.fordaq.com/fordaq/news/Amazon_Rainforest%253A_Clear-cutting_the__5289.html
“Farming the Amazon” National Geographic Society. Accessed April 6th, 2015. http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/last-of-amazon/
“Amazon” World Wildlife Fund. Accessed April 6th, 2015. http://www.worldwildlife.org/places/amazon
“Ways to Kill Two Birds With One Stone” WordPress. Accessed April 6th, 2015. https://esmondkhoo.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/ways-to-kill-two-birds-with-one-stone/
“File:Christmas Tree Farm IA.JPG” Wikimedia Foundation, inc. Updated December 21st, 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christmas_tree_farm_IA.JPG
“Extinct in our Lifetime: 11 Species We’ve Lost Forever” Hearst Communications, inc. Accessed April 6th, 2015. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/g201/recently-extinct-animals-list-470209/?slide=10
“Cattle Ranches” Smugmug, inc. Accessed April 8th, 2015. http://thomaslkelly.smugmug.com/keyword/cattle%20ranches/
“Flowers in the Amazon Rainforest” Demand Media, inc. Accessed April 8th, 2015. http://www.ehow.com/list_6184455_flowers-amazon-rainforest.html
“Effects on Man-Made Objects” Awesome inc. Accessed April 8th, 2015. http://acidrain-joseph.blogspot.ca/2011/05/effects-on-man-made-objects.html
Cfact.org,. ‘The Clear-Cutting Facts About The Rainforest’. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Esmondkhoo.wordpress.com,. ‘Ways To ‘Kill Two Birds With One Stone”. N.p., 2010. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Fordaq,. ‘Amazon Rainforest: Clear-Cutting The Myths’. N.p., 2001. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Gerstein, Julie. ’11 Recently Extinct Species’. Popular Mechanics. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Harris, Kimberly. ‘Flowers In The Amazon Rainforest | Ehow’. eHow. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
Nasa.gov,. ‘NASA – Small-Scale Logging Leads To Clear-Cutting In Brazilian Amazon’. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
National Geographic,. ‘Rain Forest Threats, Rain Forest Species – National Geographic’. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
profile, View. ‘What Is Acid Rain?: Effects On Man-Made Objects’. Acidrain-joseph.blogspot.ca. N.p., 2011. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
Thomaslkelly.smugmug.com,. ‘Thomaslkelly With Keywords: Cattle Ranches’. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
Wallace, Written. ‘Amazon Rain Forest, Deforestation, Forest Conservation – National Geographic Magazine’. National Geographic. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
Wikipedia,. ‘Christmas Tree Farm IA.JPG’. N.p., 1999. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.
World Wildlife Fund,. ‘Amazon | Places | WWF’. N.p., 2015. Web. 7 Apr. 2015.