Here’s a summary of my blog posts of 2013. The glories and the mess, the past and the present, the lost and the found.
2013 witnessed corals that can sustain in ever-growing temperatures. They are called Gorgonian corals. Then we found out that a new life is adapting to the plastic junk floating around. Scientists writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology are collectively calling this new life the ‘plastisphere‘. And the marine life adapting to oceanic acidification. The species that are good at adapting will survive, other’s won’t. Isn’t this the simplest of all things complex? I don’t see why one would say that we are responsible for the life and death of everything on this planet. Why would anyone think we are different from nature? If we are worried about the planet, I think it also means we are worried about ourselves. Creating new technologies is how humans have evolved, right? Some of these technologies are creating problems ‘for us humans’ (let’s keep the other species out of the picture here for a second) and we are correcting it and that is good. But to say we are ‘ruining’ our planet? We are a part of the planet, not ‘the’ planet or apart from it.
Perception of things
Is oil a renewable energy resource? Yes, but only if we consider a time frame of a million years. Too much? We might as well call it non renewable, eh? The oil that we get from deep within the earth’s crust took millions of years to form. But hey, a team of scientists have produced oil from algae in 30 minutes. The process is ready to be scaled up. Most importantly, it did not take us million years to do that. That’s something, right?
Does plastic decompose without us doing anything to help? Yes, if you consider waiting for, say 450 years for a plastic beverage bottle to decompose. Therefore, we might as well call it non-decomposable. The point being, everything comes to an end eventually and the earth as a whole has its own ways of dealing with it. In the meantime, we might choke on BPA or other pollutants. But hey, we are working on technologies that are clearing up this mess. One might argue: ‘Why make the mess in the first place?’ I’d say that we are humans and that’s just what we do, we mess up. And we evolve just like other species. It is ‘natural’. For example, chemists are working on safer and benign chemistries – green chemistry. A lot of conventional chemistry has been hazardous for ourselves and chemists are correcting it now. And then there is ‘Harmon(e)y with environment‘. Economics is a branch of knowledge like any other. It also has to adapt and change with time. Although making money is universal, doing it must be in our favor too. Otherwise, I don’t see how humans as a species will flourish. We are all connected.
“Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.” – Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiograpy of Nelson Mandela with Connections
Whatever happened to planet Earth
Imagine if the earth never had formed. But it did. Imagine the dinosaurs never had disappeared. But *poof*. They did. Imagine humans never had come to being. Yes – ‘But they did’. Ice age-global-warming-ice age-global warming. We didn’t start this cycle and we are probably not going to end this either. The earth is not alone in this, there are all kinds of cosmic factors responsible for whatever goes around, not just itself or us. The so-called anthropogenic CO2 seems to be greening the planet’s surface by aiding photosynthesis, according to a new research that calls this effect as the ‘CO2 fertilization effect’. Brace yourselves for we are just another species on this planet that have come and gone. Why would someone think it is wrong for us to use things around us to our advantage? Because if you don’t use it, some other species might. Or it might turn into oil or methane clathrate?
Now that we’ve advanced a fair bit in the renewable sector, there’s something still amiss. Here’ what Anthony R. Ingraffea, at the New York Times has to say:
We have renewable wind, water, solar and energy-efficiency technology options now. We can scale these quickly and affordably, creating economic growth, jobs and a truly clean energy future to address climate change. Political will is the missing ingredient.
I’ll let you ponder on this one: Major challenges to sustainability.
I wish you find the strength to adapt, to question, to educate yourself, to understand, to change, to be honest with yourself: this new year and always.
I will leave you with George Carlin now.