in the process of industrialization are not morally free to repeat the
errors made in the past by others, and recklessly continue to damage the
environment through industrial pollutants, radical deforestation or unlimited
exploitation of non-renewable resources.
Looking at this planet from space is like discovering an entirely New World. Earth… Fire… Water and Air are the four basic elements this planet uses to mold life into a diversity that may equal the number of stars in the Universe. The ecosystem of this planet is unique to this solar system alone, as the necessary warmth comes from just one star - the Sun, and the cycle of life is dependant on the only satellite this planet has - the Moon. Life would look different if there was NO Moon!
Looking at this Blue Diamond-like world from space is like discovering a New Life-Form. Its Aura is the atmosphere all creatures great and small take for granted. The fragile Earth is carefully maintained by the abundance and diversity of life-forms this planet hosts. Everything is balanced and re-created by the Energy that also permeates the atmosphere of the living Earth. It's the same Energy that exists throughout the Universe - only the perception of the observer makes it seem different.
From all the life-forms this planet hosts and maintains for the purpose of creating an experience, humanity stands out because it has become a Force that antagonizes Nature. A Force whose independence is separating it from Earth's Life support system. Without knowing it, the signs of change are stressing human life, and the species is being weakened.
Skeptics say that mankind is not a force that stresses the planet. However, proof of mankind's impact can be seen in the image below, which was compiled by N.A.S.A. , and shows what Earth looks like at night during clear skies.
Can you find your favorite country or city? Surprisingly, city lights make this task easy. Human-made lights highlight densely developed or populated areas of the Earth's surface, including the coastal areas of Europe, the eastern half of the United States, and Japan. Many large cities are traditional ports - located near rivers or oceans. Some of the darker areas include the central parts of South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The above image is actually a composite of hundreds of pictures made by orbiting DMSP satellites.
So, as an inhabitant of planet Earth, do you know who you really are? If you know, then do you assume personal responsability of your own actions? If so, have you taken into consideration your surrounding environment? Did you know that your surrounding environment is part of something bigger than yourself? Think big and don't be afraid... The air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, the clothes you wear are all connected to the cycle of Life.
The largest organism - not recognized by mankind - actually exists underfoot. Earth is full of Life, and humanity is just one of the billions of species inhabiting this world. So how does a planet talk to a comparatively tiny creature like mankind? You could say that the ocean currents are like the blood vessels in a human body. Volcanos release gases like the human digestive system, and hurricanes are like the air-conditioning of the planet. If we look at the bigger picture, it appears that mankind is on a path of self-destruction, which could, in medical terms, be compared with a virus - because we systematically destroy the world with no thought that we may be destroying our own host.
Present environmental conditions
Did you know that the Chinese government refuses to enforce environmental regulations in their own country, because investors have threatened to pull their money out of China? Is mankind really that short-sighted?
Rather than decades or even centuries of cyclical warming, recent evidence suggests the possibility that a more dire climatic scenario may actually be unfolding. At the moment the environment has become a low-priority to many governments. So far, only the European Union (EU), Japan and New Zealand have acknowledged that the environment is a serious issue, and are trying to address the problem. Much of the rest of the world is focused on the low-cost, fast, and often inefficient production of material goods.
In the scientific community, scientists can't agree with what's going on with the planet. But, one thing they do acknowledge is that the planet is warming up, and there are increasing extremes of the El Niño and La Niña phenomena. El Niño and La Niña are extreme phases of a naturally occurring climate cycle referred to as El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Both terms refer to large-scale changes in sea-surface temperatures across the tropical eastern Pacific ocean that can have profound affects on the weather around the Pacific, but partiularly in the Americas.
Usually, sea-surface readings off South America's west coast range from 15 to 20°C (60 to 70 F), while they exceed 26°C (80°F) in the 'warm pool' located in the central and western Pacific. This warm pool expands to cover the tropics during El Niño, creating warmer than usual conditions. During La Niña, the easterly trade winds strengthen and the upwelling of cold water along the equator and the west coast of South America intensifies. Sea-surface temperatures along the equator can fall as much as 4°C (7°F) below normal, creating a cooler-than-normal season.
It has been recently reported that deep water currents have been affected by the melting of the polar ice caps through a process know as desalinization. If the polar ice caps melt too fast, then an unbalance of desalinizsation takes place, forcing the ocean currents to come to a halt, which could create an almost instant Ice Age across the entire planet.
Both El Niño and La Niña have existed for millions of years, and the Earth itself has gone through several Ice Ages. The question politicians and some scientists ask is whether humans have influenced the environmental cycle. I'm not sure if this is a question with any logical thought because the answer reveals a denial toward what's already happening. If you travel without entourage to any third-world nation (which comprises about 80 percent of the planet) you'll see how much pollution is there. In many third-world cities it can be difficult to breathe without a mask. Garbage is used to separate property boundaries, street lines, and even create roundabouts. It's unsafe to drink local water because it hasn't been purified, and eating cheap local food means that it has to be very well cooked. Outside most towns/cities the countryside is literally filled with rubbish such as plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, old refrigerators, cars, trucks, tires, and the oil and chemicals that accompany them...
Consequences of environmental neglect
In December 2003, the Pentagon released a worldwide alert on global warming. If the military is worried about global warming, then why do politicians turn a blind eye? Are politicians brokers for the corporate world?
The Pentagon's planning scenario says that global warming "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a U.S. national security concern." It declares that "future wars will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology or national honor." It envisions the need to turn the U.S. and other rich western countries into "fortresses," armed against an angry tide of people displaced by rising sea levels and unable to grow food, fighting for their lives.
In 2003, the strategic planners at the Pentagon released a report that imagined what might happen to the Earth during an abrupt climate change - which scientists know have occurred in the past. This "plausible scenario" that the Pentagon envisions was published in such prestigious magazines as Fortune:
"Violent storms are increasingly common as the conveyor becomes wobbly on its way to collapse. A particularly severe storm causes the ocean to break through levees in the Netherlands, making coastal cities such as the Hague unlivable. In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento River area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.
"Megadroughts afflict the U.S., especially in the southern states, along with winds that are 15 percent stronger on average than they are now, causing widespread dust storms and soil loss. The U.S. is better positioned to cope than most nations, however, thanks to its diverse growing climates, wealth, technology, and abundant resources.... Turning inward, the U.S. effectively seeks to build a fortress around itself to preserve resources. Borders are strengthened to hold back starving immigrants from Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean islands - waves of boat people pose especially grim problems. Tension between the U.S. and Mexico rises as the U.S. reneges on a 1944 treaty that guarantees water flow from the Colorado River into Mexico....
"Europe, hardest hit by its temperature drop, struggles to deal with immigrants from Scandinavia seeking warmer climes to the south. Southern Europe is beleaguered by refugees from hard-hit countries in Africa and elsewhere. But Western Europe's wealth helps buffer it from catastrophe."
The Pentagon foresees fishing wars between Spain and Portugal. Pakistan, India, and China - all armed with nuclear weapons - skirmish at their borders over refugees, access to shared rivers, and arable land. Bangladesh becomes uninhabitable. Drought hits the American breadbasket. Britain's weather begins to resemble Siberia. India, South Africa, and Indonesia are ripped apart by civil war.
And ultimately, the report forecasts a decrease in the planet's capacity to support humanity, leading to sharp reductions in the world's population due to starvation, disease, and war.
What can be done?
After the 9-11 incidents in the U.S., in 2002 the American military asked General Motors (GM) to design a hybrid Humvee it could use over long distances without refueling. Now, what do car manufacturers generally say about new technologies? According to them it takes many many years of research and development before a prototype can even be released. With this in mind, something very interesting happened. GM released a hybrid Humvee just 10 months after the military asked for the design. This proves that when critical situations arise, mankind can get its act together. It is true that this example was for the military, but the same urgency could be applied toward the domestic market if the government applied pressure or if enough consumers urged auto manufacturers to release such designs.
In a world inundated with marketing jargon, and where corporations find excuses to not implement environmently friendly products, a lot of people find themselves feeling both hopeless and helpless when pondering the health of the environment. Many people say that environmental issues are so big that they don't know what to do. Others say that the environment is not an issue at all. Most politicians find excuses to ignore the issue either because drastic climate change is not going to happen within their lifetimes or because there's not enough proof that man is the cause of the global climate shifts that are occurring. But how about the next generation? Or the one after that? Who will pay the medical costs to treat the growing number of people with skin cancer, asthma and other illnesses that should - because of advanced medical technologies - be on the decline? Are our leaders trying to pass the blame and shame of the present on to the next generation?
Doing something about the environment is much easier than most people think. It all starts with YOU. Let me give you a simple example. If everyone on this planet who purchases newspapers recycles them, then hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest could be saved every year. It sounds impressive, and it all starts with you doing one simple thing - recycling your newspapers. Is that too much to ask? Did you also know that millions of trees are cut down each year to make disposable chopsticks used in Chinese and Japanese restaurants? What can you do about it?
One thing our governmets could do is provide tax incentives to companies manufacturing environmentally friendly products. There is a lot of money to be made in eco-friendly products, and all this can become a reality if you as a citizen act responsibly and pressure your local and federal government to pass sound environmental policies. Remember... the government is made up of ordinary citizens, and elected by citizens like you.
Since the environment is not in particularly good shape, special attention is needed to prevent climatic tragedies in the near future. If you studied history in school, you may have learned how the U.S. government prioritized and made a reality the mass manufacturing of weapons during World War II. Well, a similar prerogative is needed now. This time it is for our survival as a species and not tribal warfare, and the manufacturing of eco-friendly products needs to be on a mass scale.
Did you know that for every drop of fresh water wasted it take 10,000 years for the planet to recover it? If humanity is not reacting to the red flags of climate change, there will be a time when it's too late for us to do anything about it. In the last minute it won't matter how healthy you are, how much money you have or what god you worship, the self-destruction of the species is imminent. When environmentalists fret about the destruction of the planet, they're really worrying about us killing ourselves. But even if mankind self-destructs, other species will arise to create a new world. Earth has been here for billions of years, and it's not going to end soon.
Did you know that during World War II, America built the first atom bomb in only about 5 years? If such a complex achievement was accomplished so fast, can you imagine how easy it could be to come up with an alternative to fossil fuel if we made it a priority?
The cost of doing nothing about the environment is much higher than the cost of helping the environment recover now.
If we are serious about our future, than our first priority should be to free ourselves from the enslavement of oil addiction and sponsored terrorism. Did you know that during World War II, America built the first atom bomb in only about 5 years? If such a complex achievement was accomplished so fast, can you imagine how easy it could be to come up with an alternative to fossil fuel if we made it a priority?
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