Studies: Environment

18Jan

Green Revolution

A lot of people have heard of the Green Revolution, but few know what it is. Even when a person does know of it, it is unlikely they know the implications of the subject. Here, in the raw, are the facts, and the implications.
The Green Revolution is a global system of change imposed by the western world. With no doubt genuine concerns behind its conception, the idea was to free the Third World from poverty by revolutionizing its agricultural base.
Inspired by monoculture, westerners looked at the diverse subsistence farming methods of poor countries and realized they couldn’t produce surplus in order to kick-start a true economy. Hence, they introduced single-crop farming to provide a surplus.
The result was that farms got bigger, making small farmers poor, and peoples were displaced to allow irrigation for the growing industrial farming methods. The need for machinery and chemicals led to increasing debt to pay for it.
In no time at all, the Third World was producing mainly for western markets at low prices, and failing to provide for their own population. This increased hunger and debt to the point that the west takes out substantially more than they give back.

GREEN SCENE

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18Jan

Pollution

Most people think of pollution in terms of the smog of the 19th century, or low-lying ozone from car exhausts, leaving a summer haze over cities. Alternatively, they are aware of the rise of asthma, possibly due to pollution. But the problem is much worse.
Modern industry packs hundreds of chemicals into products and packaging. Many of these mimic hormones, and leave traces in the environment. Some research suggests this may be behind apparent sex changes in some animals.
This may tie in with declining sperm counts in men, the hormone mimickers leading to a possible slow death of the human race through infertility. But this isn’t the worst problem with this form of subtle pollution.
Essential to life on Earth is the food chain. At its simplest, vegetation is eaten by the herbivore, who is in turn eaten by the carnivore, with man at the top of the chain. But the nature of the chain is that whatever gets into the chain at the lower end, end up at the top.
In this way, anything that is introduced at the lower end ends up at the top. So if a lower life form is affected by chemical pollution, it will eventually get us. In this way, nature spreads itself throughout an ecosystem. We put a lot of chemicals in vegetation.
This system also works in reverse. The plastic carrier bag has been cited often. Being non-biodegradable, constituents of billions of bags seep into the seas and soil, soaked up by vegetation, and passed up the food chain. Bin bags are colonising our bodies.

GREEN SCENE

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18Jan

Sustainable Development

Sustainability, or sustainable development, is the environmentalist’s call to industry. At present, industry looks to the environment and takes what it wants in order to make a profit. It has no real regard for what it is taking, or the effect on the planet.
Sustainability requires the industrialist to treat natural resources in the same way he treats his bank account. A healthy economy requires capital to be retained, which earns interest that can be spent. If you use capital, the interest declines.
Natural resources work in the same way. Any product, animate or inanimate, has a ‘capital’ which produces an ‘interest’ which can be used. For instance, the interest of a fish stock or forest is a percentage of what it is can replenish itself.
If the amount taken from a natural resource is above the amount it can naturally replenish, then the overall species cannot be sustained. As such, continual use of the capital will eventually remove the resource from the planet.

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18Jan

Bio-Diversity

Bio-diversity is a term to explain the huge variations in nature. It is a simple fact that neither evolution nor nature could thrive if all options were not explored. Life on Earth is the result of a mixture of all possibilities.
Does bio-diversity matter today? To say it doesn’t would be to say that evolution is at an end. But modern practices seem to be going in this direction, preferring the big to the abundance of small, and the simple as opposed to the diverse.
Specific crops are preferred over the many; over-husbanding of animals is reducing the gene pool. It appears to be an efficient system, but only until something goes wrong. In Ireland, potato became the main crop, until potato blight brought the country to its knees.
This move away from diversity exists throughout modern life. Religions, languages and cultures are merging into a few standard models. Cities are beginning to look the same. But when something goes wrong, it can blight the lot.

GREEN SCENE

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18Jan

Ecology

We are aware that we should be Green – that we are polluting the environment and heating up the world – but many people have little understanding of ecology and the science behind many green issues.
Ecology is about holism. It isn’t so much interested in the parts of something, but the wholeness of the system. It looks for interactions that cannot be seen, measured or observed in an easily scientific way.
The best way to identify this concept is to take the words on this post. Any one word in isolation cannot give true meaning to the whole. It is when they are grouped together that meaning is had by reading. Yet that meaning cannot be measured in a physical way.
Ecology is also about balance. For a system to work, everything must operate together. Everything must be in order and undisturbed. If one thing goes wrong, it can upset the balance and the result is disaster. Nothing works.
Such concepts are esoteric, so look at the ‘ecology’ of a central heating system. The heat in your house is above any of its individual parts. And if those parts are not all in order, none of the system works.

GREEN SCENE

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14Jan

Global Warming

Global warming is said to be caused by the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other chemicals in the atmosphere, allowing sunlight through, but impeding heat getting out, thus causing the planet to warm up. This is why it is known as the Greenhouse Effect.
As the planet heats, a number of factors can be identified. Changing air currents cause havoc, resulting in changing and violent weather patterns. As warming proceeds, ice caps could melt, causing a worldwide rise in water levels, swamping low-lying land.
The main culprit behind global warming is said to be industrial man. The burning of fossil fuels in power stations, modes of transport and homes releases massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Deforestation adds to the problem, cutting oxygen released by trees.
Others argue global warming is a natural cycle we cannot change. For instance, in the 12th century vines were grown in northern England, whilst during the 16th, the Thames regularly froze over. Climate changes, so there.
Western politicians are also said to have an agenda behind acceptance of man-made global warming. By trying to stop developing countries using fossil fuels, they are protecting global markets for the western world.
Clearly man-made global warming is not proved, but it is likely. In light of this, we have the Precautionary Principle of better to be safe than sorry. Put it this way – if a car is balanced on the edge of a cliff, a human finger can tilt it over.

GREEN SCENE

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