"At this rate, the Arctic Ocean
could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than
previous predictions." NASA climate scientist Jay
The above statement was made by Jay
Zwally after the 2007 NASA satellite data revealed the Arctic ice had melted much more than
expected. The amount of ice
remaining at the end of summer 2007 was the lowest on record, being 50% below the levels measured in 1979.
The image below demonstrates.
Arctic Sea Ice
Concentration in Summer 2007 compared to 1979
The earth is approaching an ecological
tipping point that could see global
warming spiral out of control
unless urgent actions are taken. Global warming is not a linear
process given the extremely complex nature of the earths' ecosystem.
There exists many 'feedback loops', which could greatly accelerate the warming
process of the earth over the next few years.
Greenland Ice Sheet - Summer 2007
The Arctic ice is like the canary of the planet.
Owing to its extremely cold climate, it is highly sensitive to global
warming and has been showing signs
lately of rapid melting. This should
come as a serious concern to every citizen and government of the earth,
as this planet is our home, and extinctions
of 90% of life on the
planet has happened before, and it could happen again.
What could cause a mass extinction?
The Arctic ice plays many important
roles in the stabilization of the
earths climate including the regulating of the oceans currents
explained in Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth') and the reflection of
sunlight energy back into outer space.
the oceans and permafrost
lies enormous amounts of frozen
methane hydrates, which could melt and dramatically increase the
of the planet and possibly cause a mass extinction. The methane
times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, and scientists
believe that in the past mass extinctions have occurred due to the
release of this toxic gas.
Dr Katey Walter, Assistant Professor of Limnology,
personally conducted research projects to the Arctic and was lead author on a paper published in September
2006 in Nature titled “Methane Bubbling from Siberian Thaw Lakes as a
Positive Feedback to Climate Warming”.
Dr Walter has proved the
existence of these vast stores of methane, as
can be seen in the photo on the right. Methane is already being
Methane pocket being ignited under the Siberian ice
An Explanation of Methanes Role in Global Warming by Dr Walter
What is The Solution to Climate Change?
We need to act quickly to change whatever we can. Currently the worlds top three greenhouse gas producers
All three areas need to change, but unfortunately 2 of the 3 are very
slow to change. It takes a long time to change our energy generation,
even building a single power plant can take years and cost millions of
dollars. Transport is another, hybrid cars are a good alternative, yet
how long will it take and how much will it cost for all the cars on the
road to be replaced. This leaves livestock. To quote the United
Nations report 'Livestock's Long Shadow':
"At the same time, the livestock sector has assumed an often
unrecognized role in global warming. Using a methodology that
considered the entire commodity chain (see box below), FAO
estimated that livestock are
responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse
gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. It
nine percent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, most of it due
to expansion of pastures and arable land for feed crops. It generates
even bigger shares of emissions of other gases with greater potential
to warm the atmosphere: as much as 37 percent of anthropogenic methane,
mostly from enteric fermentation by ruminants, and 65 percent of
anthropogenic nitrous oxide, mostly from manure.
Livestock production also impacts
heavily the world's water supply,
accounting for more than 8 percent of global human water use, mainly
for the irrigation of feed crops. Evidence
suggests it is the largest
sectoral source of water pollutants, principally animal wastes,
antibiotics, hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and
pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures.
While global figures are unavailable, it is estimated that in the USA
livestock and feed crop agriculture are responsible for 37 percent of
pesticide use, 50 percent of antibiotic use, and a third of the
nitrogen and phosphorus loads in freshwater resources. The sector also
generates almost two-thirds of anthropogenic ammonia, which contributes
significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.
A major cause of global warming and
pollution is livestock
Already 40% of the of the worlds
grains are fed to livestock, along with enormous amounts of
water and energy. Meanwhile close to 1 billion people on the planet are
starving. It seems inhumane for us to consume such large amounts of
meat, while others starve. The
livestock industry represents something that each and every one of us
can change now, just by adopting a vegetarian diet. There are many
substitutes today made from soy, that mimic the texture and flavour of
meat, yet are far healthier on the body, produce much less pollution on
the planet, and even costs less than animal flesh.
Changing from a
meat based diet to a vegan one is the quickest way to stop global
The process of making this change is simple, as each and every one of
us has control over it, unlike the process of changing the energy
sector, which involves billions of dollars of investment and mountains
of bureaucracy at every level of government. The process of changing
transport sector is not much easier either, as all the planes, buses
and truck are out of our control, and buying an eco-friendly car for
ourselves is not cheap either.
Humanities desire for meat leads us to breed and eat 55 billion farm animals per year, a figure that is difficult to comprehend, and is having an absolutely devastating effects on the planet and also our health.
Eating a vegetarian diet would cut more than 50% of the U.S. consumption of oil and water and also rapidly slow or even stop global warming. The Meat-based diet worsens world hunger and is a primary cause of deforestation. A vegetarian approach to a green lifestyle can improve your health while enhancing the lives of everyone in the world.