It is best said that the health of humans, like all living organisms, is dependent on an ecosystem that sustains life. In a small way, each of us sometimes contributes to the health of our surroundings, some don’t, but if we are, are we doing enough? Defining health is sometimes an enigma but plant life, animal life, water, air, etc, depend upon environmental conditions and this constitutes the degree of healthiness in all living things. It is a no-brainer; we need a healthy environment for man and beast to survive.
Earth’s oxygen is produced in two ways. First, through photosynthesis in green plants, and 50% of the O2 comes from the Amazon forest (not conclusive). Secondly, the ocean, through phytoplankton, microscopic single-celled algae, produces the other half of the air that we breathe (again, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to back this up). Regardless whether or not we have substantiated scientific evidence, that is to say, which of the two produces the most oxygen, with these two important ecosystems; we must endeavor not to contribute harmful stuff that tends to damage our important resources. Our life, and our future generations depend on it. With the two oxygen producing elements, we need to make giant strides to protect our world’s future.
A rather complex, perhaps controversial solution is needed to eliminate the need to clear thousands upon thousands of acres of valued forest without replanting the barren land with saplings. The deforestation that is going on in South America is for the sake of making room for people to live and to set up businesses. What needs to be done instead is to evaluate existing towns and cities living environment. Granted, people need to expand but they can expand through the use of building better and more efficient office buildings, multi family apartment and homes.
Even in our own backyard, thousands of acres in the State of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, et al, are void of tree growth, where once millions of 100+ year old trees flourished are now desolate areas. It is understood that there are companies (i.e. Weyerhaeuser, et al) taking the initiative to plant saplings of fir, and other trees, but is the effort fast enough? Unfortunately, more state laws need to be written so that when trees are cut down an immediate replanting is required in order to continue the survival of the tree population.
Like it or not, forest populated areas (except designated hybrid forest areas producing lumber) need to be off limits to the human population for the sake of survival.
The earth can hold billions of more people but can the additional billions survive if we don’t have adequate oxygen to breathe, all because we eliminated most if not all of our forests? It is debatable whether the Amazon forest, for example, produces more O2 than that of the ocean. That remains to be seen.
Another very real possibility is that the addition of billions of people, there is a good chance that people cannot survive if, one, our oceans are decimated of certain fishes, thus the domino effect of breaking the food chain, and two, the steady decline of marine phytoplankton.
Phytoplankton survives through the sunlight and water but with the possible elimination of our largest forests, the key question here is can the ocean provide sufficient oxygen to support billions more to an existing world’s population?
It is interesting to note that in 2010, there was a study made and it was reported that marine phytoplankton have declined substantially over the past century, estimated to be about 40%. Some scientist and noted activist are claiming that this is largely due to global warming. So far, the study has not been substantiated.
The earth has undergone climate change for millions of years and it is no different now. Long before America was born, the Mississippi river, et al, had massive floods. There were millions of acres burned in the West, and throughout the ages, drought has occurred many, many times in the Central plains. Hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and other Mother Nature events had taken place, some worse than what was recorded in the last century, and yet the land survived.
What has changed is that we are not prepared for these seemingly catastrophic events. When our population increases we need to be better informed and educated on how to survive in the event of a Cat5, or a F5, or whatever comes our way, and thus make preparation ahead of time. These events are never going to go away, and they are here to stay, and that’s Mother Nature at work.
Another controversial solution is keeping most of the human population confined within urban areas when it comes to housing and expansion. Without the advent of decimation through human intervention, population growth cannot be stopped. Again, building better efficient multi-family housing, multi-apartment, or what have you, is needed to accommodate the population growth.
The bottom line here is that nation leaders need to set aside their differences and pay heed to the warning that the world must take responsibility and accountability for the sake of humankind. We need not become ecosystem activist fanatics. Indeed, we need to become educators, educating the ignorant, for these people are not stupid, they just don’t understand the need for preservation.
For centuries, humankind has hunted non stop without realizing that sooner or later we are going to run out of…whatever. To these folks, for what ever reason, they don’t understand the meaning of moderation. For example, there are countries that have fished whales for hundreds of years and refuse to stop, regardless how loud everyone is screaming that these non aggressive mammals face near extinction. Do these countries need to stop? Do they need to be forced to stop? The answer is not by force, but by education and perseverance to get them to understand that they need to take a deep breath and hope and pray that it is not too late.
© 2013 James Ian MacIntosh all rights reserved