Sunday, September 25, 2022

Climate change: what is the cause? What solutions can we apply?

Climate change, global warming: We experience it every day. The increase in severe weather, the droughts, and the melting ice are all symptoms of a worldwide illness. I recently read an article discussing the causes of alarming global warming. This article states, "Human activity has rapidly increased the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution-human activities such as burning fossil fuels, including coal and oil, have increased greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere."

The article did not point out the number of factories and cities constructed during the industrial revolution. Building the factories and towns required the consumption of acres of trees to clear the land and build the needed housing. Transporting goods and people led to the need for roads and railroads. While removing the trees, the use of fossil fuels increased with few remaining air filters (trees) to combat the warming effects of these greenhouse gases.

There is always cause and effect. The cause is the deforestation of the land and increased use of fossil fuels. The effect is global warming or planetary destruction. There is a reasonable, cost-effective method to reduce carbon dioxide using this simple cause and effect model. The technique is how our planet developed the life-sustaining air we need to exist.

Trees are natural air purifiers using a process termed photosynthesis. During this process, leaves pull in carbon dioxide and water and use the sun's energy to convert this into chemical compounds such as sugars that feed the tree. But as a by-product of that chemical reaction, oxygen is produced and released by the tree

Governments spend billions of dollars seeking to control carbon emissions and develop alternative energy sources. Carbon cleaning plants capture and bury the carbon dioxide. But these plants do nothing to release breathable oxygen back to nature.

 Iceland introduced the world's largest carbon cleaning plant, claiming the plant will remove 3,600 metric tons or 7,936,632 pounds per year. About 15 plants are in operation.. It is excellent to clean carbon dioxide from the air; it is better to set up an efficient air filter that removes the carbon dioxide and returns clean air. Achieving this is simple and rewarding. 165,347 mature trees can achieve the same air purification. One tree removes 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air and returns breathable oxygen.

The funding from the federal and state governments would be better used to reforest cities, develop incentives for builders to resist the need to raze land before building homes and business sites and remove blighted city areas, replacing these areas with trees.

Reforesting is not a novel idea. China, the top polluter of carbon dioxide, launched a reforestation project in 1999 to combat the damaged landscape of China's industrial growth. China has spent upward of 100 billion dollars, benefiting crops, controlling in part the carbon dioxide emissions, and has raised the forest coverage to about a quarter of China's total land.

In the U.S., combating the degradation and rise in crime in blighted urban neighborhoods could be better served by removing abandoned buildings and replacing these with trees. Many communities have pockets of blight, a breeding ground for drugs, crime, and despair. Replacing these areas with trees would improve living conditions and create an environment of hope and a future. One acre of blight can hold 80-120 trees and remove 3,840 to 5,760 pounds of pollution from the air in one year.

So what can one individual do? Plant trees. Incorporate trees into your landscaping projects. Various trees enhance any yard; some are quick growing, like the Quaking Aspen, Sugar Maple, and Arborvitaes. Whichever type of tree you choose, remember one mature tree can create enough oxygen to support 4 people.  

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