Putting and keeping Earth on a sustainable track is the best medicine. In addition, it goes without saying, or should, that staying that course requires our help because, frankly, in this regard our planet cannot go it alone. To achieve that end will take work – heaping helpings of it, in fact. Fortunately, causes like Earth Day and Air Awareness Week (about a week from now), the excellent starting points that these are, offer hope and, as it pertains to this, are a definite assist. Earth Day 2014 being today, it and air take center stage; the duo sharing the spotlight here.
Air and Earth
Since it is through the burning of fossil and other fuels that the introduction into the air of pollutants occurs, I’d be curious to see what effect a 24-hour moratorium on burning would have on world air. Speaking of which, what better day for this than Earth Day 2014 – today?! Agreed?
It would require tremendous cooperation and commitment to pull something like this off – if it could be pulled off – the likes of which has probably never happened before.
But, think what would result: meaning, what would be affected and how.
On the move
For starters, those having access to zero-emissions motorized transport, no matter what the form, would be able to get from place to place without too much difficulty. Even aviation creations such as the Solar Impulse could show the world that flight is still possible though aviation in general would be at a standstill.
For nearly all other fossil-fuel-based motorized transportation, well, sorry. The overarching sentiment: “not today!” Most everything else: non-polluting walking, biking, public transit use, for instance, “okay!”
In the area of energy consumption, more reliance on renewables such as solar, wind, wave, geothermal, etc., or scaling back energy use – period – would help put the world on a more proper carbon-emissions course. As for energy consumption on an individual or household level, all who have homes equipped with a solar photovoltaic system would already be ahead of the game. Those who do not could do much to lower demand on the energy supply through conservation efforts. The savings could be substantial.
Carbon dioxide’s impact
It is indeed more than just a curiosity that one type of pollution can actually cause another. Some of the additional carbon dioxide (CO2) entering the atmosphere goes elsewhere: it has been and is ending up in major bodies of water like the world’s oceans. In fact, writer Elizabeth Kolbert in OnEarth magazine insists, since even before 1800, what has resulted with heightened CO2 emissions, is ocean acidity levels intensifying.
In the Kolbert article in question, according to the author, this increased ocean acidity, from what I understand, is due to air-to-ocean transference of CO2 and there is less of that gas escaping from the oceans than what is being introduced. And, as it happens, each year carbon dioxide by the billions of tons is being added to the seas. Not a pretty picture.
So, the atmosphere, tantamount to being a dumping ground for the extra CO2, what this, in effect, is resulting in are pH-altered seas. And, what the increased oceanic acidity means is: sea life is impacted if not threatened.
‘Conserve’ is the word
I think conserving, more than any other single notion, is probably the best way to make the most of Earth Day. And all, everybody, even doing a little, could go such a long, long way!
Image above: NASA
– Alan Kandel