March 19, 2013
Agriculture is both one of the sectors most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and a net contributor to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. With 15% of global emissions, agriculture rejects methane from livestock and land, nitrous oxide from fertilization with nitrogen and manure management and carbon dioxide from energy consumption. According to its impact on agricultural lands and practices, agriculture can also be used to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and thus mitigate climate change, but it can also contribute to global warming, for example by causing deforestation.
If emissions from agricultural sources are declining in most industrialized countries, the globalization of trade and population growth partly explain the sharp increase in agricultural emissions in developing countries. Similarly, if methane (livestock, waste management and rice cultivation) is the main gas emitted in the South, it is nitrous oxide (use of fertilizers and manure management) which tops agricultural emissions in the North. However, it is important to note that due to the complexity and variability of agricultural systems, uncertainties remain regarding the assessment of these emissions, necessitating a research effort in this area.
All agriculture production except the ones for organic cultivation use fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, which must be produced, and this requires fossil fuels, thus generates CO2 emissions (synthetic fertilizers are produced from natural gas). So when you eat carrots or apples, or when you drink coffee or orange juice, remember that this contributes to the global warning effect. Not just driving your car.
If we reason to the hectare, synthetic fertilizers are mainly upstream emissions, pesticides are much more marginal emissions for greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, intermediate chemical reactions in the fertilizer production also generate some N2O. Of course the emissions associated with the manufacture of these products are not counted under agriculture, but under “industry”. Expenditure for the purchase of raw products such as vegetables or fresh fruit in bulk, or fresh meat, represent only about 20% of all of what we spend on food on average. The rest of our spending is devoted to production of processed food like pasta, canned and frozen foods, ready meals, biscuits and sweets, drinks,… These industries consume energy directly, and therefore emit greenhouse gases as well that will be included in the products we buy, with about 15% of the energy industry in developed countries made by the food industry. Next these products are usually packed. It turns out that the manufacture of packaging represents a significant fraction of base material that we produce such as aluminum and plastics. Basic materials production is responsible for 70% to 80% of emissions from the industry, with a part of the package that will be used at the supermarket.
Solutions exist to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in agriculture: optimizing of the use of nitrogen fertilizers, better waste management to producing energy from waste, development of simplified cultivation techniques but also in some cases deployment of energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.
Today it is not possible to make a precise comparison between farming systems (organic, rational, conventional) from the standpoint of only gas emissions. This is partly due to many uncertainties, but also to the lack of accurate data on the full gas balance of different systems, both because of their their diversity and complexity. However, it is clear that agriculture in the 21st century will have to answer a series of environmental, social and economic challenges involving a fundamental change in practice, notably to meet the need of mitigation of gas emissions and the preservation and ecosystem restoration.
The international community is committed to maintain global warming to below a 2 degrees Celcius increase. This implies a division by at least 2 of global emissions by 2050 and a reduction by a factor of 4-5 in the industrialized countries. In this sense Europe has committed to at least a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. These objectives defined at the international level require the mobilization of all sectors, including agriculture, which will have to undergo a profound change to meet the climate challenge.
The adaptation of agriculture and forestry systems to this new climate situation as well as the effects on diseases, pests and weeds require new skills in agronomic and forestry: development of new varieties, development of cultivation techniques adapted or forestry, etc. This adaptation also leads us to consider the geographic mobility of production areas. Migration of cropping or forest species to enhance adaptation, new agroclimatic potential and forestry, biotech opportunities in connection with the economic determinants, and more generally the future direction of the duties of the agricultural and forestry production.
September 8, 2011
While cycling has increased in French cities, sustainable neighborhoods begin to bloom in the capital. Residents may well be among the first to use the bike paths of sustainable neighborhoods, which are biased toward light motorized traffic and public transport. The construction of an eco-district among other thing rests on better living and living together. The urban setting has to be warm and alive, and natural heritage, security, as well as biodiversity, water management, noise and air pollution are taken into account. Building a sustainable community is based in particular on high environmental quality rewarding the preservation of the planet and a better quality of life. A sustainable community is designed according to environmental and energy challenges, but also according to economic and social criteria. Eco-building, renewable energy, greening techniques are widely used in these eco-neighborhoods.
The concept of eco-neighborhood was first developed in the countries of northern Europe. The Government has encouraged its development in France where the projects of sustainable neighborhoods are still very recent. These neighborhoods are close to the center and well served by public transport. Meanwhile, there is a proliferation of small projects in France. These new neighborhoods are truly eco-neighborhoods, they need to be serviced by public transport and car traffic and parking are limited. It is a difficult objective to implement but the view is changing even though it is still a gamble at this stage. Indeed, 40% of average emissions of greenhouse gases are produced by buildings and 40% by public transport. Other sectors, which include industry, only account for 20%. In France the focus is on the building with techniques such as thermal insulation, while in the first experiments in Germany, the main criterion is a city without a car.
The construction of an eco-district refers to the principles of sustainable development based on economic issues (including development of commercial and non-polluting activities), social (build social housing and community facilities) and environmental (focus attention on managing energy, water and waste). The principle of an eco-neighborhood is a first step towards a new vision of the city, the goal is to break the boundaries of these eco-communities across the territory of the city. To do this, these areas must be readily accessible to all, that they are role models. Beyond the planned actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the City of Paris is acting on the environment: adaptation of buildings, vegetation of Paris, creating green spaces, roofs, shared gardens and playing grounds. The sustainable neighborhoods are emerging especially on the outskirts of the city, on vacant urban land or concerted development zones.
The district Fréquel Hondarribia in the 20th district was awarded in November 2009 a contest in the category of driving down energy costs. The Batignolles district in the 17th district will be divided into three areas including. In 2012, the heart of the 18th district will pilot an eco-neighborhood in Paris, while it will retain its architectural heritage site. Launched in December 2009, the warehouse Macdonald located in Aubervilliers, is the largest geothermal project of its kind in Paris and covers an area of 1200 hectares. By common impulse, the inhabitants of the street Denoyer, in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, decided to participate together in the greening of their neighborhood.
In Europe, there are many sustainable neighborhoods, including the Netherlands, Ava-Lanxmeer in Culemborg, Sweden, B001 in Malmö and Hammarby in Stockholm, and Finland in Helsinki Vikki. BedZED is a neighborhood built between 2001 and 2002 in south London. Covering an area of 43 hectares, it accommodates 100 housing units, 2,500m² of offices and shops, green spaces, playing fields, a theater, a gaming center, a health center, a sports complex and a nursery. Since its inception, and compared to conventional dwellings, this eco-district reduced its energy consumption for heating by 88% and electricity by 25%.
In Germany, the Vauban district in Freiburg im Breisgau was rehabilitated in 1996. Nearly 3,000 homes and 600 jobs were created. The homes are powered by solar energy and produce more energy than they consume. The neighborhood was built for optimal sun exposure, with ecological materials, and the roofs are vegetated. The traffic is reduced and the outdoor space reserved for soft play and travel. Switzerland also has many eco-neighborhoods, in Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich and Bern near the casino area. Plans are under way in Austin, Texas, United States, and Wuhan, China as well.
The City of Paris has been engaged for several years in a new policy of sharing public space. For example Alesia-Tombe Issoire sponsored by the code bonus pokerstars 2014 covers an area of 465 hectares and is built to improve safety and comfort of residents. The continuity of bicycle routes has been optimized, and speed of traffic has been limited. A significant portion was also dedicated to the greening of the district, with the planting of 45 trees and 14 planters. In the 12th arrondissement, the district encourages slow travel, with a velocity of 30 km/h, a revamped parking lot, or the creation of bike paths. Shrubs and planters were installed to add vegetation to the area.
January 8, 2014
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are two contiguous parks which are the largest green space in central London, stretching between Queensway and Marble Arch.
The northeast of the park, Speakers Corner near Marble Arch, is the traditional site where storytellers, anti-globalization and religious preachers used to meet as then could talk freely and be heard by anyone who would listen to them.
In the summer, hundreds of Londoners occupy the many lawns in the park and meet at concerts. Hyde Park is divided into two parts by the Serpentine, a small lake located near the Serpentine Gallery, a contemporary art gallery. In the southeast, the Serpentine lake home the memorial to Princess Diana, built in 2004.
This side of the park is bordered by many luxury hotels. Kensington Gardens is home to The Albert Memorial, a flag in memory of Prince Albert. Erected in 1872, this is a statue of Prince Albert covered with gold leaf and surrounded by four groups of statues representing Asia, Europe , Africa and the Americas.
In the park there is also a statue of Peter Pan and a lake named the ‘Round Pound where live many species of birds, including ducks and white swans. They are not afraid of people as they get fed by them, and you can walk among dozens of them resting on the ground.
Both Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park have many trees as well as lawns. These two adjacent parks teem with a multitude of squirrels and foxes and offer a haven of tranquility just steps from the bustle of Oxford Street. What you can do there is walk in the park, visit the Serpentine Gallery, go listen to the speakers in the Speakers Corner, You can also see the Fountain of the Serpentine Lake Kensington Gardens, the Albert Memorial, The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial and statue Peter Pan.
Hyde Park is none other than the biggest and perhaps the most famous park in central London. It is divided in two by the Serpentine Lake separating Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. It extends over an area of 2.5 km². Do not miss a visit to Speakers’ Corner. This has become a real institution since the late nineteenth century, reflecting the freedom of expression in Britain. When the warm weather arrives, workers rush to London Hyde Park for lunch. In the summer you can attend music concerts, golf, tennis, riding through Rotten Row orr simply enjoy the moment!
Many of the most expensive houses and apartments in London stand along Hyde Park. The most prestigious address in One Hyde park, where the cheapest studio is worth a few million pounds.
April 6, 2013
In one of the last posts I told you about the basics of global warming, and one of the factors that could cause it. In this post, I will talk about what the greenhouse gases actually are, another possible factor for global warming, and the likelihood of its past, present, and future occurrence.
First off, you know that the greenhouse effect is a possible contender for global warming, in the event that it happens. In that greenhouse effect, there are four main greenhouse gasses that make up the ‘layer’: carbon dioxide (CO2), which makes up 55% of the layer; chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) – 25%; methane (CH4) – 15%; nitrous oxide (N2O) – 5%; and ozone (O3), which is still yet to be quantified. All these gases play a big role in the reflection/absorption/retaining of the sun’s energy.
Another factor that people think could cause global warming is a rise in the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Since CO2 has more molecules in the greenhouse layer, this could retain more energy (heat) in the atmosphere. Thus it will cause a noticeable rise in the earth’s temperature, forming global warming. Over the last 80 years, the CO2 levels have risen. There are at least two explanations to why this has been happening:
Because of the industrial revolution, we are burning more coal, wood, and gases thus putting more carbon dioxide in the air. The result of more people on the earth (more than all other centuries put together). Since people exhale carbon dioxide, this will put more CO2 in the atmosphere.
The only thing is that global warming has not happened yet despite the fact that CO2 levels have been rising, as the temperatures are still yet to leave the average mark. This does not mean that carbon dioxide does not have an outcome on the greenhouse effect, for there are still other gases that would have to rise at the same percentage too.
I’d like to move on now to talk about the existence of global warming in the past, present, and future. I’ll begin with the past. During the medieval climate optimum (9th – 14th centuries) the temperatures were actually much hotter than those of today (well, not ‘today’, but in more recent years). Scientists have studied the results on temperature proxies; items such as tree rings, ice cores, and historical documents, that ‘record’ the temperatures over the years.
They (the scientists) have concluded that the earth is still yet to reach the medieval temperatures. There also was a little ‘ice age’ (nothing like it’s commercialized) that set in around the 15th century and lasted to about the 19th century. During these times the world cooled dramatically. Today’s “record breaking temperatures” is just the earth recovering from the “ice age”. If you compare the present temperatures over a short period of time (18th – 21st centuries), it does appear that they are indeed rising. That is why it is better to collect data from a greater distance of time to get better results.
For the present, if you look at temperature graphs, you can see for yourself that the present temperatures have hovered around average for the last hundred years. So as its definition states, global warming could definitely not be happening today.
One of the only ways of predicting a future occurrence of global warming is by computer models. A model is basically a representation of something that cannot be seen or known. Even with these, there is still no sure way of knowing what the future will bring for global warming. It may happen eventually, but there’s one sure thing: global warming is not happening now.
So, in conclusion, I hope you have learned some new things about global warming and that you will continue to observe controversies like this from a more conservative standpoint, and not just rely on what the media says. Especially so that you’ll think twice the next time you hear on the radio or in the news, “We are very certain that global warming is happening today”, and know the facts why this statement is not true.
October 28, 2012
Global warming has been one of the hottest topics in the past few years as practically every news network and blogger has sounded off on it, not to mention that numerous scientists and researchers keep on bringing it up in relation to new findings and concerns.
However, after all the studies that have been done on it, people are still quite divided as to whether or not global warming is actually something caused by humans or if it’s simply a natural process part of a greater cycle which spans across thousands of years.
To start things off, it is important to determine just how natural this warming up process is; after all, it has been established that over the past 650,000 years, the Earth has undergone four cycles of temperatures rising and falling. However, the truly damning factor is the fact that during these 650,000 years, the atmospheric CO2 levels have never, ever gone up above 300 CO2 parts per million. However, around 1950, that barrier has been breached for the first time as far as researchers can determine. Currently, the level of atmospheric CO2 is estimated at around 380 parts per million. While it is true that part of this increase can be attributed to the Earth entering the part of the climate cycle where the temperatures go up, only the industrial revolution, a man-caused event, can explain why the levels have increased so drastically.
Another important evidence of global warming which nobody can overlook is the ice capes melting. The ice in the arctic has been disappearing at an alarming rate, and it is predicted that somewhere around 2040, the arctic may very well have a summer devoid of any ice. Even the current conditions are far from being ideal as the local indigenous cultures and fauna are having a hard time surviving with an ever-diminishing icy surface.
The evidence of global warming doesn’t stop there; many people have noticed that in recent times there has been a surge of activity in regards to dangerous weather-related events, including hurricanes, tornadoes, strong tropical storms, wildfires, typhoons, etc… etc… Many experts believe that the sudden shifts in atmospheric pressure are to blame as they cause great imbalances; after great heat waves, which can actually cause wildfires, all of the evaporated water needs to come down, and it often does in a very violent fashion.
In order to determine just how responsible humans are for these changes, more than two thousand scientists in over a hundred and thirty countries have come to the conclusion that deforestation, pollution and industrialization are the main cause for the tremendous increase of greenhouse gases that get trapped in the atmosphere. As most people are aware, these greenhouse gases prevent heat from escaping the Earth, consequently heating it up, causing the global warming observed today.
What can humans do to fix it? Long story short, to repair the damages and end the degradations, practically everything about this world needs to change in an aggressive way. When looking at the big picture, we are all alive and well because we have built a society which revolves around technology and industrialization… unfortunately, following this way of living damages the Earth, and it seems that it can’t take much more of it. Our reach is exceeding our grasp, and until the people in charge are willing to give up some of their comfort and money in order to look for alternatives to this problem, it will get worse.
May 9, 2012
Pandas with their scientific name ‘Ailuropoda melanoleuca’ are the herbivorous animals similar to that of a polar bear but in black and white. The meaning of the scientific name given to this endangered species is “black and white cat-footed animal”.
Scientists have spent enough time arguing and studying to confirm its relation with either the raccoon or bear. The panda possesses a body similar to that of a bear and the other physical characteristics like the male genitalia resembles that of a raccoon. According to recent research and studies, it has been proved that the closest relative of a panda is the spectacled bear belonging to South America.
Pandas were first found around 3 million years ago and the original habitat of this animal is noted to be Northern Vietnam, some areas of Myanmar and South and East China. With the fossil evidence their existence has been stretched even towards North Beijing. As of now, pandas are evident in six of the major isolated forest region in Shaanxi, Gansu and Sichuan in the Chinese provinces. The giant pandas are commonly found in the coniferous and broadleaf forests at the height ranging between 5,000 to 10,000 feet.
The bamboo forest located in the Tibetan plateau is their main habitat that lies around 10,000 feet above the sea level. It is a damp coniferous forest and during winter and spring they move to the lower elevations looking out for edible bamboo. Dense mist and heavy rain are common in these regions. While they roam around, they have to protect themselves from the farmers of the river valleys if they want to survive.
Panda feeds on bamboo for more than 21 hours per day to manage and support their huge body. Unlike bears, Pandas do not hibernate during the winters and instead they remain comfortable within the unbearable weather by moving up and down in their habitat. They take rest or sleep on tree trunks, cavers, outcroppings of cliffs or any other non permanent shelters of the caves. You can see pandas resting during a hot sunny day and also when the ground is frozen up with snow.
The giant pandas measure four to six feet in length and three to four feet in height when they are on their four legs. Males are mostly found to be heavier than females, reaching 250 pounds while females hardly surpass around 220 pounds. Life at the zoo for this endangered species is pretty different from life in their natural habitat, and they seem to have a longer lifespan than when they are in their own habitat. Zoo pandas of 35 years of age were recently revealed by Chinese scientists. Even though they have a long life in captivity, the breeding pattern is intense in the wild when compared to that of the zoo.
Their major natural food is bamboo constituting up to 99% of their daily diet even if it feeds on grasses and other animal carcasses very rarely. In zoos they are given extra care, love, pampering and a recreated natural atmosphere and they mostly feed on rice gruel, sugar cane, bamboo, special high-fibre biscuit, apples, carrots and even sweet potatoes.
Their medium of communication differs from anything like urine, scent marks, calls, occasional meeting and even tree scratches. A panda spends an average day by mostly feeding, resting, playing and searching for food. There are plenty of organizations and steps initiated to save this endangered species from extinction and studies are still on its way to learn more about its behaviour and other patterns of life! One thing to note is that global warming is reducing their endemic natural gaming habitat and without the zoos they probably could not survive as a species. So let’s not gamble with their survival and make an effort to lower carbon emissions.
February 29, 2012
Are polar bears global warming’s assured victims?
It is difficult to think of the North Pole and its surrounding areas without its most impressive denizen, the massive polar bear, but this might soon be a reality because the future of polar bears is assuredly very bleak. Estimates about the exact number of these majestic creatures left in the wild vary but it is believed that there are about 25,000 of them alive. While more than half of them live in the Canadian Arctic, the remaining numbers are distributed in neighboring areas.
The future of polar bears is very precarious because of many reasons, all of which are due to global warming. We generally speak of global warming and climate change in terms of how it affects humans. However, what many people do not realize is that many species of animals and plants are facing destruction at cataclysmic levels because of the changes brought upon by us and out unbridled greed for the earth’s non-renewable natural resources.
Polar bears are the monarchs of their frozen world but the fact is that they are highly dependent upon their ecosystem which is increasingly becoming very fragile. These magnificent beasts travel over huge distances in search of food. They travel over ice and water almost effortlessly. They are extremely skilled hunters who subsist on seals that live in polar areas. The steady warming of the earth has affected the polar caps as well, and this has reduced the territory available to these animals. They are finding it increasingly difficult to hunt their prey since they keep entering into each other’s territories, which is very difficult for these animals.
The other problem affecting the future of polar bears is that ice is now forming far later than before. This actually means that these animals have less time to hunt for animals and build the layer of fat that enables them to survive the bitingly cold winters of this area. The numbers of seals are also decreasing because the seas are becoming warmer and the availability of certain species of fish is decreasing. The depletion of available food has resulted in a higher mortality rate of these animals. According to scientists, the mortality rate of newborns has increased almost 50 percent in certain areas.
The lack of food is causing polar bears to increasingly get into confrontation with humans. This invariably does not end well for the animal and its population drops further. It is also believed that they will try to encroach into areas where grizzly bears live.
It seems very unlikely that the future of polar bears is going to look up since human beings are making very little effort to change the way in which they live. As a matter of fact, people are developing the frozen world where these animals live in an effort to extract the immense natural wealth that exists here. Humans will have to make a lot of changes in how they live in case they have to give these animals a chance of survival.
December 8, 2011
How can you contribute to a greener planet
Most of us tend to wrongly believe that only governments and climate change organizations can do anything to bring down the effects of global warming. But the truth is that each one of us can contribute individually to this and have a major role to play in global climate change. There are a lot of global warming solutions that you could undertake in your home and contribute your bit to save the planet.
Cutting down on heat-trapping emissions does not mean using less electricity or avoiding the comforts of the modern technology. It only means installing energy-efficient devices and using smart technology to reduce the effect of global warming.
Choosing the car you drive is one of the most important ways by which you can help bring down the climate change impact. It is best to buy a vehicle that offers maximum fuel economy which not only helps you cut down costs but also offers better gas mileage. Cars with hybrid engine technology is one of the best buys for this reason. Another great one among global warming solutions is to switch to an electricity company which offers clean renewable energy. Most often the electric current we use come from highly polluting coal-fired plants which is the biggest source of heat trapping gas.
Whenever you buy appliances or gadgets, look out for the energy star label; these may cost a little higher at the time of purchase but can save you a lot of money in the long run. A lot of heat-trapping gases can be eliminated if you invest a little smart and wise in such appliances. If your family owns an extra freezer or refrigerator, then remember to unplug it at all times it is not in use. This can save a lot of energy and is one of the most practical global warming solutions for a household. Replacing your ordinary light bulbs with energy saving models are the best way by which you can cut down energy use and costs. These days, you can get compact fluorescent bulbs in all attractive shapes and sizes to suit your interior décor and these can greatly help to save energy.
Another sensible and practical way of contributing to climate change is by using wood and wood products which are obtained from supporting and sustainable forests. This helps to preserve the trees and also cause least disturbance to the carbon-storing soils. Plant trees wherever you can; this single act by every individual can make such a huge impact on energy saving and climate change. You can also undertake this as a local project and gather people in your neighborhood for this. Carpooling is another way by which you can save fuel. If you have more than one car in your household, use the less fuel efficient one only if there are a lot of passengers or you are going on a long trip. Or you can be kinder to the environment by taking the mass transit or public transport.
The right global warming solutions can create a huge impact on our climate and help keep our environment green.
June 10, 2011
The average temperature of the Earth as a whole is not stable but varies with time, as evidenced by analysis of geological layers. For example our planet was ten degrees colder 20,000 years ago, during the height of the last ice age. These variations are still very slow, and the temperature has fluctuated by only 0.2 degrees between the year one thousand and the late nineteenth century.
The fact that worries the international community at present is the acceleration of the phenomenon, which now occurs at a rate unmatched in the past. Thus, since the late nineteenth century, a hundred years ago, the average global temperature rose 0.6 degrees. Worse, the computer simulations suggest that warming will accelerate and the average temperature could therefore increase by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees by the end of the century. It is this unlucky phenomenon that is called global warming.
Temperature variations of the atmosphere are usually linked to factors such as fluctuations in solar activity or speed of rotation of the Earth. But most scientists believe that the main cause of the current warming of the planet is a different phenomenon called the greenhouse effect. It is a process by which a large part of the Sun’s energy reaching Earth is stored by the atmosphere of our planet, rather than reflected back into space.
As we have seen, according to Wien’s law, the nature of the radiation emitted by a body depends on its temperature. The Sun, with a surface temperature of 6000 degrees emits mainly in the visible and energy passes easily through our atmosphere. But as the Earth’s temperature is much lower than that of the Sun, the Earth re-emits this energy as infrared radiation. However, certain gases in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, although transparent to visible light, are opaque to infrared light. So they block the re-radiation, absorb its energy and thereby heat up. Much of the solar energy is absorbed by the atmosphere, a phenomenon that is also found on the planet Venus.
The most likely cause of the acceleration of the greenhouse effect and global warming since the late nineteenth century is the impact of humans playing on the environment. Huge amounts of greenhouse gases are indeed released into the atmosphere by various modern activities such as fossil fuel use in industry and transport, and agricultural practices such as deforestation and farming cattle. For example, it is estimated that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased 30 percent since the beginning of the industrial age, which contributes significantly to the greenhouse effect.
The effects of global warming already being seen with, for example, the withdrawal of some glaciers, rising of sea level by thermal expansion of water as well as reduction in thickness of the polar cap Arctic. The acceleration of the phenomenon in the twenty-first century should lead to stronger effects, especially a sharper increase in the mean sea level and extreme changes in weather, with powerful heat waves and periods of heavy game rainfall .
The effects will induce great human suffering with more floods, more droughts, problems of water supply, development of diseases like malaria, the disappearance of certain coastal areas or low altitude islands. In the longer term, we can worry about such phenomena as the melting of the ice sheet covering Greenland, which would result in a 6 meters rise of sea level, with the disappearance of most coastal regions of the world. We should not count on luck for the game of global warming effect to reverse, but only hard work for the current and future generations can make it happen.
June 9, 2010
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
– Albert Einstein
According to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), cows, pigs, sheep and poultry are among the world’s greatest environmental threats in the cards and contribute a staggering 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions—considerably more than transport, which emits 13%. The report, entitled “Livestock’s long shadow,” says the meat industry is degrading land, contributing to the greenhouse effect, polluting water resources, and destroying biodiversity. Livestock use 30% of the earth’s land surface and pastures for cattle use 70% of deforested areas in the Amazon. Massive deforestation is expected as meat consumption is expected to double by 2050 as the populations from emerging countries embrace an unhealthy “western diet” based on meat products and fast food.
Curiously, the environmental threat caused by the meat industry has been mostly absent from the ongoing dialogue about climate change. Even the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth failed to address the livestock industry’s impact on global climate change.
In the video Methane, I combined footage of factory farms found on the web using the search tool in Flickr, YouTube, and various blogs, with an animation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre Scientific Visualisation Studio. The animation depicts the breakup of the Ayles Ice Shelf in Canada’s Ellesmere Island on August 13, 2005. More than 90% of the ice cap has been lost. The piece shown in the animation is equivalent in size to approximately 11,000 football playing fields. The Canadian Arctic is experiencing the highest degree of climate change on the planet.
– Michael Alstad
Have we overlooked one of the largest factors in global climate change? Methane is an eye-opening and devastating portrait of the livestock industry as a main producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Our contribution to a destabilizing climate does not stop at the toxins being dispensed into the water and air, but includes the animal products we farm and consume. Alstad emphasizes a circuit between the unnatural living environments of stockyards, ensuing environmental damage, and the Arctic ecosystems that are impacted. Though the footage is shocking, the real cause for alarm—and motivation for immediate action—lies in the causal relationship that is exposed. Why has this link been so often ignored or concealed? What other aspects of the debate have been deliberately left in the dark? It is not a game.