I once again watched a great documentary, 'earth 2100', and once again re-evaluated my part in this growing global crisis that human kind has so greatly ignored in the richer and wealthier nations, i.e. USA, UK. Humans have played the greatest hands in ushering in global crisis for the last 200 years, and we are very close to reaching the tipping point which we will not likely survive, nor will much of any life forms sadly. Am I exaggerating? I only wish. The documentary explains in social and scientific terms and though examples based on solid evidence and hard facts what very easily could happen if we do nothing, and what we could do to improve, and worsen, the outcomes.
“Earth 2100,” hosted by Bob Woodruff, will journey through the next century and explore what might be our worst-case scenario. But no one can predict the future, so how do we address the possibilities that lie ahead?
Greed has been the driving force for mankind's evolution and creation of societies though-out our long history....yet mankind's history is very short compared to the length of time this planet and other life upon it has thrived before humans. However, much of mankind's leaps and bounds in modern technology, science, medicine and other such advancements has not always started out as a reach for wealth or as a slave to personal greed or gain. Often it was a new or improved development that brought prosperity or relief to many, or everyone, until someone took it and placed a private label on it, patented it, or otherwise possessed it and limited it's availability, or as often as not, placed a higher and higher price for it. In that mindset and push for more and more profit, mankind has placed all other things, living or not, below it's importance. Thus began our long, or should I say short, journey to destruction, which will eventually include the very earth.
We have reached many levels of success in alleviating the stress and strains of our Natural resources and ecology, so it's not all gloom and doom. We have developed renewable energy sources, the highest demand mankind has on this planet. ( I say this due to the fact that many Nations have reached an expected standard of living that includes much, much waste of energy and many, many products that has a very high cost of energy and resources that is just, well...., not very cost, energy, or practicably efficient to produce them.) We have developed both positive and negative, long and short term, advances in producing foods, growing crops, and preservation of them as well as the ability to not only store long er terms, but to distribute them further from the farms. (Here again I must point out not all of these 'improvements' are applicable in our 'advancement'. Some of these things include pesticides that are killing off ALL insects and causing irreversible damage to the wildlife that come into contact with them. Some include herbicides that not only kill the weeds, but many other forms of plants and again kill or effect wildlife. Some include mutations and genetic tampering, which opens up the various experimental strains of seeds and plants to new and different types and strains of diseases.) And, we have developed wondrous steps in filtering and recycling water, which is barely keeping from falling behind our ability to pollute that same water.
I am not saying we don't know what to do, I am saying we are not doing enough....and we are running out of time to prevent things from getting much worse. We do not have to give up everything, but we must begin to sacrifice a few things, and drastically change our demands on the planet. We can do it in small and simple ways, starting slowly, and continuing our demands for enriching our lives and not our bank accounts. Face it, what good is your money when there is no more food left on the shelves in the market, or clean water to drink? We need to re-evaluate our needs, take a closer look at our lives and what we want to achieve, and leave behind for our children.
Lets look at a few things here to start with.....Energy Demands.
Solar Energy is growing, in almost every country and on every Continent. From home solar panels, businesses with solar reflectors on them, and even parking lots of shopping malls (which provide shade and shelter for the shoppers) and are also being placed over open canals to not only help reduce evaporation, but to produce the electricity to run pumping stations and flow gates. In less than 25 years, research and development of solar energy has produced better and higher performance equipment for generating 'free and clean' energy. Countries like Germany and Iceland have focused much of their energy needs and funding to be able to produce almost 50% of all electrical demands from solar energy plants and home energy producers.
Wind energy is also growing, in the western States of North America, Australia, and spreading....The wind doesn't always blow, nor does the Sun always shine, but combine the two, and you have a pretty stable, very renewable, and mostly reliable source of energy that has next to zero negative impact on the ecology.
Tidal energy is also a growing avenue that we can expand upon in every country. Holland might be best known for it's windmills, but they have had tidal wave towers for almost 30 years, and other countries have just now begun developing new and more efficient tidal turbines. Tidal energy supplements many power grids in shipyards all over the world, and can be successfully combines with wind turbine mounted above the tidal towers platforms.
I have written before about the history of hydroelectric power in America, and we have slowly been upgrading these massive generators for more efficient and longer life ones....but slowly due to a cost factor that many of us do not want to help pay. However, we still, in America, produce between 8% to 12% of our total energy output through hydroelectric means.
Food... a world of Hunger.
Today's food markets are driven not by supply and demand as one might have been taught in school, but by mega farm industries, government regulations and worse yet, but private chemical companies. THAT HAS TO CHANGE. Natural or organic grown foods are becoming more and more expensive thanks to not the rarity or difficulty in producing them, but through the government regulations that enforce private mega farming industries demands on the simple farmer and local co-ops that operate outside of these mega groups. Most of us have heard of Monsanto , but do we understand the long term cost of thier 'right now' plan? In plain English; if you have to dilute a product by 200% before application to your crop, and must wear personal protective equipment while applying it, and must wait 48 hours before harvesting it, and must wash it with soap and water and rinse for at least 5 minutes before eating it.....it is not healthy to use it. That in no way make any sense to use a product that is listed in over seventeen countries as toxic on your food. And that is only one of the many product created by such mega farm corporations trying to gain a monopoly on foods, in seed, plant genes, additives such as insecticides and herbicides, and they proclaim they are 'improving' the worlds food sources.
Today's foods, and tomorrows foods, need to be less toxic to the farmer and consumer alike. One trend that I am watching is edible yards, growing gardens as well as fruiting trees and shrubs as individual home owners and entire neighborhoods. This trend is something that a small town to an entire city can do to help with the growing food demand and commercial prices. Maybe a small step back in the direction of the 'Family Farm', and a big boost to the local Town Market.
I can go on to include transportation issues here, but I will blog about it in a later piece. But as a note, Americans have the most vehicles per population of any Nation today, and the most fuel use....see my point?
Also there is much to be said about sharing knowledge and technology to other Nations to get everyone reducing waste, demands on Natural Resources, and pollution.
Remember about 20 years ago when this concept came out on TV? How quickly we forgot.
It is time to change, now, not tomorrow or next year. Tell your family and friends....remind your Government that NOW is the time to enforce reduction of toxic pollutants and green house gases...not 30 years from now. Demand more efficient machines, and less waste. Start by doing your part as well, for we all carry this responsibility and will all share in it's consequences.