Tag Archives: carbon dioxide

The reality of climate change.

13 Apr

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A recent study released by the U.N on the topic of climate change is a most sobering document. Compiled over a period of 5 years by several hundred authors the report warns of rising seas, dwindling food supplies and the prediction that the poorest people in the world who have had virtually nothing  to do with causing global warming  will bear the brunt of the consequences.

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“The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants. That is killing some creatures or stunting their growth. Organic matter locked into frozen Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouses gases that will cause further warming.”

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“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hotspots of hunger.”

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The authors stress that climate change is not some problem far off in the future, it is happening now. We have all experienced changes in the weather in the last few years. Here in Ireland rain has changed from being mostly soft showers to monsoon like downpours. We have seen coastal erosion on an unprecedented scale this past Winter.  Severe winds earlier this year brought down 1% of Ireland’s trees. In a country with only about 11%  tree cover that’s a huge loss.

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The report cites a particular risk that in a hotter climate farmers will not be able to produce enough food to feed the ever increasing needs of our planet.  “When supply falls below demand, somebody doesn’t have enough food,” says Michael Oppenheimer, a Princeton University climate scientist who was one of the contributors to the report. “When some people don’t have food. you get starvation. Yes. I’m worried.”

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We all have a responsibility to try our best to protect our beautiful planet. We really need to become self sufficient again. Each person with land or access to land has a duty to grow at least a portion of their food. Crops like Potatoes and Brassicas are so easy to grow. Salad crops can even be grown in containers, no land necessary. It pains me to go to the supermarket and see Spring Onions coming from countries like Chile or Kenya. I know people in these countries also have to make a  living but I’m sure they could grow crops to feed their families or sell locally instead of being at the mercy of corporations whose only desire is cheap labour and cheap produce.

Consumerism has to cease. How can we expect to continue to shop, shop, shop while our Planet pays the price. Andy and I rarely go to shopping centres. We buy nearly everything locally and clothes are nearly always secondhand. Even though our country is still in recession one can still get great quality clothing in the secondhand shops. Of course we grow what we can and will increase that each year.  I also think that being vegetarian is a more planet friendly choice. More tree cover would be far better for our country than land being used to grow meat. Animals themselves add to the pollution problem. Slurry runoff has contaminated a lot of Ireland’s waterways. I’ve nothing against animals, I love them and choose not to dine on them, but we have a huge amount of  animals being produced now. Far more than our country actually needs if we were just feeding ourselves. I know there will not be a huge conversion to a non meat diet but even a reduction would help the situation and probably improve people’s health too.

I could go on but I won’t. Most people at this point know the changes they can make to make a difference.

So come on!

Let’s work together to save our beautiful planet. For our own  sakes and for the people who come after us.

How many Planet’s do you need?

21 Aug

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Apparently yesterday was Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity exhausts Nature’s budget for the year. From this day forward, the Planet will be operating under an ecological deficit, using more resources than the Planet  can produce and emitting more carbon dioxide than the Planet can filter out.

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Originally developed by the New Economics Foundation…who I admit I’d never heard of…Earth Overshoot Day has been falling by a few days earlier each year…an indication of ever-increasing patterns of consumption. In 1993 Earth Overshoot Day fell on October 21st. In 2003, it fell on September 22nd.

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For us to continue consuming resources as we are 1.5 Earth’s are needed. The US, China and Qatar are among the worst offenders. If everyone lived like your typical suburban American it would take four Earth’s to support the population. To live a lifestyle like the residents of Qatar 6.5 Earth’s would be required.

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If you go to the site where I got all this info http://www.earthday.org/blog/2013/08/20/earth-overshoot-day-2013 you can calculate your ecological footprint.  I was shocked to find that even though we don’t eat meat or fish…recycle all that we can…grow a lot of our own veg…it would still take 2 planets per year for us to continue as we are. The questions were obviously set for the typical American lifestyle as there was no option for solid fuel heating…no option for alternative energy systems…no option for buying from charity shops or farmer’s markets.  So I don’t really buy the 2 Planets result but still it provided food for thought. I’m sure we could all do more in our everyday lives to ease the pressure on our Planet.  Food for thought indeed…

Go on… do the survey…I dare you.

Are we past the tipping point?

23 Apr

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What is the tipping point  you may well ask? The tipping point is the point at which 50% of the world’s ecosystems have been interfered with. Research published by Anthony D Bannosky et al, University of California in 2012, says that in that year the figure was 43%. So yes, with the way exploitation of the Earth has escalated it is likely that we are now beyond the 50% point.

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To me that is a rather shocking thing. What does it really mean though? Are we on the road to doom and destruction?  The Earth is a powerful living entity, not solely for the benefit of the humans being allowed to live there. It is for all the living creatures. Each have full entitlement to live peacefully and breathe clean fresh air. Perhaps even that very air is under threat. So many trees being felled on the Planet right now. Even here in Ireland the Government is debating whether or not to sell off our publicly owned forests.

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Such a crazy idea! Humans and  Trees share an important resource…oxygen. Now I know that trees aren’t the only source of oxygen on our Planet but they do create a huge amount of it. Opinions differ as to exactly how much. It’s simple….Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Humans breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in oxygen. Seems pretty fatal for the human race then to be cutting Trees at a time when the Planet’s population is growing rapidly.

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Water is another resource that is being abused on our Planet. Hydraulic fracturing is seen as the saviour of our fuel shortage situation. However fracking  as well as rupturing the Earth in the search for gas uses vast amounts of water. This water is made toxic by chemicals used in the process as well as naturally occuring chemicals from the Earth. Water is not a renewable resource….All the water that will ever be is already on our Planet. Should be a no brainer that we protect and cherish it.

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However it seems that corporations are now more powerful than our governments…and to them profit is the only endgame. It is a well known truth that there are now more lobbyists than politicians in Washington. I’m sure it is similar here in Ireland now.

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So what are we to do? Are we to flow along helplessly on this tide of greed and exploitation? No!! We have the power to make a difference. We need to become passionate about our Earth. Stand up against what you believe to be wrong. No, you don’t have to go on the streets protesting. We each need to start in our own homes and gardens/farms/balconies/ growbags. Whatever we can each do may seem very little but if we all work together we can surely turn the tide. Grow what you can in whatever space you have. If you must buy everything try and buy organic, go to independent shops instead of corporation owned supermarkets. Use your money as a weapon. It’s what the corporations understand. That’s the only hurt they feel…the financial kind.  Don’t let shopping be your pastime, even here in Ireland now the shopping centres thrive at the expense of independent retailers. Let Nature be your recreation. Go to the Woods, the fields, the allottments, the parks. It’s healthier than the malls… cheaper too. We need Nature, Nature needs us. Lets get to know her…love her…defend her…before we are tipped into the abyss of no return.

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