Monday, March 13, 2017

Environmental degradation is the most serious global abuse

 Series 2 - Armageddon in the Making (A Personal Dissertation)
Environmental degradation is the most serious global abuse, not only in pursuit of actual human need, but his unending want of affluence apparently of no end. The earth is slowly choking with deadly gases, its surface defaced and stripped of natural cover, man-made materials dumped on land and water, in fact its geography has changed and continues to be modified directly and indirectly by man.  Dr Abe V Rotor
11. What withheld the world to shift to alternative energy was the cheap fossil fuel, virtually oozing from the ground and flowing through pipelines around the globe to feed the 
Bad air over New Delhi, typical in other big cities like Beijing, New York and Metro Manila 
industrial boom and millions of cars as affluence rose to the point of ostentatious and frivolous living.  But each car’s exhaust is a miniature volcano, erupting daily, worse than a Mt Pinatubo (Philippines) and Mount St Helens (US) combined.
12. The air accumulates gaseous materials and particulates, building acid rain that turns  soil acidic and unproductive, defacing valuable works of art (historical relics and artefacts), causing illnesses heretofore  unrecorded in medical books, and triggering other diseases as well, including the resurgence of ancient diseases like tuberculosis.  

Thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica. Ozone hole has been detected over the Arctic. 
 13. The ozone layer, a protective blanket against radiation from space is being thinned by CFC and other gases.  A hole at the southern hemisphere as big as continental USA, exposes millions, particularly children, in Australia and New Zealand to ultraviolet rays, a major cause of skin cancer.  A smaller ozone hole is building up over the Arctic region. 


14. Gases in the atmosphere trap heat from escaping, thus solar heat together with heat generated by the earth and man’s activities collectively contribute to global warming at an alarming rate.  Climate change has been the cause of climatic adversities (typhoons, tornadoes, drought, blizzards), erratic weather, and other unexplained atmospheric phenomena. 


15. In Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” the world is getting warmer and warmer at a geometric rate, far exceeding any period of the history of the earth except in its early formation.  Warming is traced to increasing amount of CO2 in the air, the principal gas of combustion mainly of fossil fuel that runs agriculture, industry, transportation, and  iilluminate whole cities around the world.  

16, The failure of timely shift to alternative fuel even as fossil fuel sources are dwindling, even as alternative energy is available, even as population demand tremendously increased in the past one hundred years, has grave consequences which we are feeling today, and this is just the beginning - fuel shortage, high cost of living, increasing inequity leading to mass poverty.

17. Environmental degradation is the most serious effect, not only in meeting actual need, but unending want of affluence apparently of no end. The earth is slowly choking with deadly gases, its surface defaced and stripped of natural cover, man-made materials dumped on land and water, in fact its geography has changed and continues to be modified directly and indirectly by man. 

18. Reminiscent of the Dust Bowl of the Dakotas in the US in the early 20th century are similar desertification cases, farmlands becoming wastelands due to excessive farming and poor management, such cases include the Sahel region (Africa) struck in the 60s by extreme drought, farmlands around the shrinking Aral Sea (Russia), the source of irrigation now only a measly fraction of its original size. 
 A comparison of Aral Sea in 1989 (left) and 2014 (right)



19. We don’t have to go far.  Our own Laguna Bay, bigger than the Sea of Galilee, is dying, its once pristine blue water as I saw it in the sixties as a UPLB trainee in a lakeshore barangay, Gatid, Sta Cruz, is now shallow and muddy as siltation and pollution from homes, farms and industries from four surrounding provinces worsen by encroaching  settlements and fishpens clogging the lake – indeed a desecration of the lake’s beauty as described in Rizal’s celebrated novel, Noli Me Tangere. 


20. All over the world lakes and rivers are dying: Lake Chad of Africa, Aral Sea of Russia, tributaries of Mississippi in the US, Nile in Egypt, Yangtze in China, Mekong in Vietnam.  Who would believe that odor of methane and hydrogen sulphide from the polluted harbour of Hongkong is the first to greet passengers even  before landing on the sprawling modern airport? So with tourists on reaching the deck of the 100-storey Sears Tower on Lake Michigan in the US. 

To be continued.

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