A recent article in the Scientific American magazine in February 2007 By Frank Keppler and Thomas Röckmann entitled “Methane, Plants and Climate Change” showed that, even if we plant trees, we still won’t be able to stop neither global warming nor ozone depletion. Instead, we could be doing the exact opposite; we could be increasing them because plants produce Methane, a greenhouse gas, along with oxygen.
We’re running out of solutions and time. However, we haven’t yet been able to apply one of the most obvious solutions: decreasing Carbon dioxide (CO2) and CFC emission. The United Nations have tried to force a CO2 emission decrease on all countries; however, they were only able to get a signed agreement pledging that the countries will decrease their CO2 emissions by approximately 5% by 2012. Coincidentally, the year 2012 is surrounded by many superstitions coming from ancient and new sources concerning the end of life on Earth.
This is not enough; a 5% decrease is close to no decrease at all considering the rapid evolution and expansion of industry. We need to decrease CO2 by a lot more than this in order to give nature a chance to regain the balance that we’ve caused it to lose. However, even though trees produce Methane, which is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2, we still need them to clean up the air and produce oxygen, a gas without which we wouldn’t have been here at all.
We surely should plant more trees, but we mustn’t depend solely on them to take care of our dirty laundry. Alone, trees cannot save us. They need help, our help. We need to decrease CO2 emissions considerably. Only by doing so can we have a shot at survival. Otherwise, let us sit back and enjoy our last few years here on Earth.
Now, we have two means of survival: one lies in space and the other in time. By saying space, I really meant outer space. We need to focus a lot more on space travel and exploration because, if we want to continue behaving as we are behaving today, we will need to find somewhere else to live: some other planet able to support life such as the newly discovered planet around “Gliese 581.” We need a planet where we can find refuge when life on Earth becomes impossible. The other solution (lying in time) is that we need to get back in time a few centuries. We need to be like an arrow pulled back a few centimeters in order to shoot forth for kilometers. I know that we haven’t found a way to get back in time yet, but there is an easier way. We need to shut down almost all factories, power plants, even vehicles. We need to get back to when such accommodations did not exist. Life will proceed at a slower pace, but at least it will proceed. I’m sure that there are a lot of things that we claim not to be able to live without nowadays because of the speed of the rhythm of life.
We think that we cannot live without technology anymore, but, the truth is, we’ve grown too dependent on it that we don’t want to live without it. We need to unplug. We can totally survive without it by just thinking that, just a hundred years ago, our ancestors lived without it. Also, they didn’t face any of the health problems that we face nowadays such as stress, which is a direct consequence of the speed of the rhythm of life nowadays. The question is: “How Will Life Be If We DECIDE to take that step Backwards?”
First of all, life will be much slower: no vehicles and fast automobiles to take us from one place to another; we will either walk or use animal transportation. Second, it will be less stressful because we won’t be multitasking all the time. Third, almost every person looking for a job will find one because people will replace computers. Fourth, jobs will be somewhat harder and will involve more physical power, which is quite beneficial for our health. This is a quick description of what our life will be once we take that step: harder, but better. However, not all technology could be unplugged, we still need advanced medicine. Some regions could still have technology but only places devoted to finding a faster solution to the problem. Also, space programs cannot be stopped because, just in case we were late in applying this plan, we still have someone trying to find a place where we can go to. Also, we need to find a way to sustain life for a long time in space (the planet orbiting Gliese 581 is around 20.5 light years away).
Finally, one problem remains, a problem that causes more devastation and chaos than any other: war. All high tech weapons should be handed to the United Nations including Atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, and any other type of mass destruction weapon which will be almost totally diffused. Only low tech weapons can remain with people for emergency and self-defense. That way, nations will have no power to declare wars upon each other and will try, for once, to go hand in hand trying to find a solution to a common problem and maybe a new source for clean energy.
At last, once all nations agree and acknowledge that we are facing a common problem, we might have a shot at actually solving many other problems that we have never dreamed of ever solving, problems that were created by the greed for power such as cold wars. Once power is eliminated and all nations see each other as equals, we will have a chance. Together we are strong; divided, we are wrong.