Avoiding an Apocalypse

Concerning the transition to a low (or no) carbon economy, I am astonished that a low carbon economy is even an option considering the amount of CO2 emissions that have been released into the atmosphere to date. It is generally accepted by most that CO2 emissions are hazardous to the biosphere, though it appears a large segment of individuals are not cognizant of the fact that it is possible to achieve outcomes pertaining to carbon dioxide production that entails zero man-made CO2 emissions (Elias & Lininger, 2010). No net CO2 emissions is extremely feasible from office buildings to homes to vehicles to factories which assumingly account for the majority of current CO2 emissions. Society requires education that will inform larger bodies of individuals of the realistically and relatively inexpensive possibility of transitioning to a no carbon economy. As individuals become knowledgeable pertaining to the topic they will realize the necessity to either adopt a no carbon economy or face the alternative in which we systematically prevent the longevity of future generations.

Reducing deforestation and forest degradation is the quickest way to diminish CO2 emissions (Walsh, et al., 2017), not only should society be focused on zero carbon emissions, initiatives should focus on thinking of methods to reclaim CO2 emissions that have already escaped into the atmosphere. Ceasing to use CO2 emitting products or preventing deforestation isn’t enough, attention needs to be paid to reforestation and afforestation concepts. “Activities to enhance the rate at which tropical forests sequester carbon are especially important” (Walsh, et al., 2017), as deforestation adversely results in diminishing CO2 absorbing resources at a nearly unrecoverable rate. Reforestation replenishes resources that have been depleted in existing woodland areas and afforestation aims to reestablish forest land that previously existed but has since been exhausted and is no longer woodland. The land necessary for large scale afforestation and reforestation is available, especially if pasture land that was previously forest land is converted back to its original state, thereby fulfilling its absorption purpose. Large scale tree planting initiatives are a viable means to facilitate reforestation and afforestation efforts that will ultimately curtail the rapid decline of our environment by removing air pollution, reducing the rate of global warming, and enable the rehabilitation of global ecosystems and environmental networks.

Reforestation, afforestation and other methods to reclaim CO2 emissions already released in the atmosphere are promising mechanisms to get global warming and other adverse environmental factors under control in the long run. As these efforts are extremely timely to produce results it is paramount that in the near-term society adopts a mentality of zero not lower CO2 emissions as current efforts will take decades if not longer to yield positive results. Deforestation must stop, and measures must be taken to plant back what has been uplifted from the global terrain.

References

Elias, P., & Lininger, K. (2010). The Plus Side: Promoting Sustainable Carbon Sequestration in Tropical Rain Forests. Cambridge: Union of Concerned Scientists.

Walsh, B., Ciais, P., Janssens, I. A., Peñuelas, J., Riahi, K., Rydzak, F., . . . Obersteiner, M. (2017, April 13). Pathways for balancing CO2 emissions and sinks. Nature Communications, 1-12. doi:doi:10.1038/ncomms14856.

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2 thoughts on “Avoiding an Apocalypse

  1. Hi – well the title of your post alone should drive some action! You propose an interesting viewpoint of rather than going gently along this journey maybe we should take the bull by the horns and make the final goal the main concern and determine actions accordingly. Whilst I understand this viewpoint how do you think the wider community would take this style of message? Is being alarmist going to drive the change that we need or will the majority decide ‘oh well its too late to do anything meaningful’? I certainly don’t have the answer but would be interested in others perspectives that provides suggestions of how to mobilise the masses to go for the final goal rather than baby steps along the way.

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  2. Thank you for your Response! To be quite honest, the wider community isn’t doing enough, many have already taken the stance point as you mention that it is “too late to do anything meaningful”, many of those that haven’t taken this standpoint believe that the effects of carbon emissions are minimal or do not specifically affect them, the entities who actually understand the issue are the ones taking action. Mobilizing the masses will take regulation and government backing, if we leave it up to corporations and individuals some will do their best, while others will do absolutely nothing. The end result will be baby steps that will be to small to complete the journey before time runs out. Your point is valid there are definitely risk to being alarmist; however, something has to be figured out to drive the masses to action. If we are going to take baby steps they need to be really big ones.

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