MEANING          BIODIVERSITYGLOBAL WARMINGCLIMATE CHANGE

OZONE DEPLETION AREARADIOACTIVE WASTE

ACID RAINBIBLIOGRAPHY AND FURTHER READING

OTHER PAGES: DISCREPANCIES ON CLIMATE CHANGEBIOCONFINEMENT OF GEOs

EFFECTS OF SOLID WASTEOVERPOPULATIONDESERTIFICATIONHURRICANES

Published on November 13, 2002Updated on July 19, 2008
"In the postmodern view, whether in its Green or its deconstructive versions, science is not dispensed with so much as domesticated. Modern science is to lose its place of privilege, with “non-Western”- and nonrational- “ways of knowing” elevated to an equal position." (Lewis; 1996)

MEANING

Environmentalism is the promotion in the conservation and recuperation of the natural world. It is also known as conservationism, or Green Politics.

A conservationist is a person who is worried about the environmental deterioration.

The usurpation of terms related to the science of Ecology has caused an absurd confusion with regard to what is scientific matter in environmentalism and what is outright non-scientific matter, or outright antiscientific stuff. Let us see the real meaning of the grabbed terms and how they should be correctly applied:

Labels, which are identical for two classes of environmentalists, should not confuse us: activists or radical environmentalists and science-based environmentalists are two opposite classes of conservationists.

There is an enormous divergence among the radical environmentalism and the scientific environmentalism, mainly by the foundations upon which both groups are based. Often, the activists are not established on science, but are diametrically opposed to science, so in form as in objectives.

Besides, we should not use the name "Ecology" to identify "Environmentalism", nor vice versa. Ecology is the branch of Biology that studies the relationships between living beings and environment, while environmentalism is a campaign in favor of environment.

The same thing occurs with the terms "Ecologist" and "Environmentalist". Ecologist is a scientist dedicated to the study of Ecology, while Environmentalist is a person worried about the deterioration of the Environment.

Let me give you an example. When a person says publicly that "the emissions of an industry are deteriorating the ecology of our city", he is really saying that "the emissions of that industry are deteriorating the science dealing with the relationships among biotic and non-biotic factors", which results to be a linguistic aberration.

Therefore we must to be careful with the labels of the environmentalist groups, as with the application of the terms "Ecology", "Ecologist", "Environmentalism" and "Environmentalist".

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BIODIVERSITY

Biodiversity is the sum of all species living in a specific area, or in the wholeworld.

The biodiversity crisis refers to the absolute extinction of many species in our planet.

This implies a quick decrease in the life's diversity on the Earth. (Mader, 2004)

Although the extinction is a process that occurs normally, currently the human activities have provoked that the rate of extinction has been increased 50 times over the normal extinction rate.

The biodiversity is important for human beings because we depend directly of other species for dress, for eating, or for obtaining medicines.

The disappearance of about 40 000 species along the two last centuries is defined like an ecological catastrophe.

Some causes of extinction of species are habitat lose by the expansion of human colonies destroying biomes, invasive species, toxic waste and illnesses, and overexploitation.

The advance of human populations, agricultural and industrial activities, has devastated the 50% of land surface.

If we continue with our destructive eagerness, we could be in the threshold of the disappearance of life on Earth.

HERE IS A SHORT LIST OF THREATENED SPECIES:

Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus)

Least Tern (Sterna antillarum)

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Whooping Crane (Grus americana)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum)

Black-Footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes)

Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Caribou (Rangifer caribu)

Tiger (Panthera tigris)

Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis and Rhinoceros unicornis)

As them, there are 3649 species in danger of extinction.

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GLOBAL WARMING OR TROPOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE VARIABILITY?

The occurrence of Global Warming is a natural phenomenon caused by the energy stored in oceans. The Climate Variability and the Global Warming are in progress. The debate about the responsibility of humans is currently debated, although I could say that both sides have been contaminated by politics and pseudoscience. The best example on this kind of pseudoscientific and antiscientific practice is the argument expressed in the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

Surely you know almost all on the film "The Day After Tomorrow" where in it appears a catastrophic and fatalistic panorama for the terrestrial Northern Hemisphere. We are bombarded daily with information that makes us feel like the assassins of nature (ecocides) and as the direct cause of the Global Warming; but, is it real? Are we humans causing a Climate Change and destroying the world through our industrial, scientific and technological activities? The evidence says that we humans are not responsible of the Climate Change (which should be labeled like Climate Variability), but the nature itself.

The problem is that -for reasons more political than rational- some academies have been adhered to unwise radical-environmentalist grounds so they are being very selective on the publication and diffusion of scientific reports that are referring this matter. For example, if you have discovered some incongruence in the data handled by some authors, and you write a paper for its publication on a scientific magazine, the publishers would simply reject your paper without bothering themselves on reading it.

The selective publication only of those articles that match with the environmentalist ideology is anti-rational dogmatism because they wish to compel their ideas through the authority and power that they wield on the diffusion of science. What they try to achieve is to hide the truth from the public comprehension pretending that there is a scientific “consensus” on the anthropogenic origin of the Climate Fluctuations. It is not futile to say that there is not any “scientific consensus” and that we do not acquire the true knowledge of the nature’s events (science) by “consensus.

1. AGW proponents argue that the global warming is a without-parallels-phenomenon by the last ten thousand years. This declaration widely spread by Media and several “scientific” magazines, is false. There was a global warming in the Medieval Age that was longer and more accentuated than the current global warming. (See a graph here).

2. AGW proponents say that human beings are increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases through our industrial activities, and they have said that there have been never higher atmospheric concentrations of those gases in the past. This is a blatant lie because we can see from the graph of geological timescale that the density of CO2 has been by much higher in other eras than at present, even when there were not industries and motorized vehicles in those times.

3. AGW proponents hide from you the fact that we did not create a single molecule of CO2 because matter is not created or destroyed, but transformed; so that, all the CO2 and the residual “greenhouse gases” that we are releasing to the atmosphere existed in other Geological Eras. Those gases were used by the photosynthetic living beings for growing and reproduction. Those photosynthetic organisms died and, by geological processes through billions of years, were transformed into the fossil fuels that we use today for our technological activities. The unique thing that we are doing is returning those gases to the atmosphere from where they were taken by the photosynthetic organisms. See a graph about CO2 concentrations in the Earth’s Geological Eras.

4. AGW proponents say that the “greenhouse effect” is worse now than ever because the human beings are increasing the concentration of “greenhouse gasses” in the atmosphere. This is a fallacy because the current concentrations of “greenhouse gases” reach roughly 380 ppmv; however, in the Eocene, when anthropoids appeared, the concentration of CO2 was higher than 2050 ppmv (about 184% more than today), six times higher than the current concentrations! How can we survive under that “environmental catastrophe”? There were not cars, planes and human industry at those times, yet. See the next graph:

Scientists from NASA have discovered a positive trend in the intensity of the solar activity since 1980. The factor of variability is about 0.06 flares per year. The latter is similar to the annual variability of the tropospheric temperature on Earth, which has been 0.05 per year. In the graph, the green sharp line represents the number of solar flares per day, the blue line represents the variability in the tropospheric temperature on Earth, the dashed green straight line corresponds to the average of the tendency in the variability of solar irradiance per decade, and the blue dashed straight line denotes the median of the decadal tendency of the variability in the tropospheric temperature of Earth.

I have noticed that the trend in the fluctuations of the solar activity and the trend in the variability of the tropospheric temperature on Earth are almost parallel one to another. Simultaneously, both trends are separated by an equalized interval. I think that the steadiness of the difference between the two trends corresponds to a difference between the Intensity of Solar Irradiance and the Tropospheric Temperature (0.06 - 0.05 = 0.01).

It is evident that the equivalences between the variability of the tropospheric Temperature and the variability of the solar irradiance are directly related with the intensity of the incoming Solar Radiation. The latter includes all forms of radiation emitted by the Sun, for example, Infrared Radiation (Heat), light, UV radiation, X rays, gamma rays, etc. At present, we are experiencing a larger solar cycle (lasting about 100 years) that includes 10 cycles of 11 years each.

In the graphic of the Geological Eras we can observe large fluctuations in the global temperature of Earth through millions of years. I do not know the point that the current tropospheric temperature fluctuations will reach, perhaps the fluctuations will stretch to standards similar or higher than the maximum values of precedent fluctuations, but I am not sure about that.

NASA scientists elaborated a prediction about the next solar cycle of 11 years based on the observation of the past tendencies and on the direct influence that the previous cycles have had on the intensity of the following  cycle. The intensity of the solar activity has been progressively increasing on every cycle.

The implementation of the Kyoto’s Protocol will not solve the phenomenon of global warming; in the first place, because it does not depend absolutely of the human activities, but from natural factors. In the second place, because the concentration of Heat-Forcing gases in the atmosphere are not thermodynamically capable of store the density of heat registered in the last century. The variability in the tropospheric temperature on Earth depends on cosmic factors, like the increase in the intensity of Solar Radiation and of Intergalactic Cosmic Rays.

Through the analysis of boreholes in ice, some investigators announced last Thursday that they had finally demonstrated that the current levels of atmospheric Carbon Dioxide were never ranged through the last 450000 years. This news has important implications, given that, with the confirmation of something that we already knew from the 90s (McElroy, Harvard, 2002), the AGW proponents have to find a feasible system for explaining all the global warming periods, from 450000 years ago that have happened through the geological history of Earth, which -from now on- could not be related to high CO2 concentrations. Hereafter, warmologists will have to correlate the current Global Warming to the sources that happen cyclically and frequently in nature, for example, Solar Irradiance, Interstellar Cosmic Radiation, Interstellar Dust, El Niño, oceanic and continental volcanic activity, geodynamics, solar photon streams, surface photon streams, etc.

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Is it real that humans and only humans are responsible of the climate change? It is true that human activities have contributed to the phenomena. For example, Methane is produced by degradation of cattle-droppings, residual waters, corpses and organic waste. Carbon Dioxide is produced by burning fossil fuels like oil, gas, gasoline, and carbon. Nitrous Oxide is produced by rich-Nitrogen fertilizers used on crop lands. Besides, we humans have devastated forests, prairies and other biomes accelerating the natural ecological succession.

However, human industry also produces some aerosols that mitigate the Radiative forcing. For example, SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide) can offset warming by 40%. SO2 reacts with Oxygen in the atmosphere to form SO3 (Sulfur Trioxide), which is also an aerosol that mitigates the Greenhouse Effect; thus, humans are not the final guilty on the Global Warming event.

Also, we have found that clouds, ocean surface and reflective lands can reflect radiant energy toward space alleviating troposphere warming.

In spite of a human industry influence on Climate Change, we have detected through observations that the Climate Change is a natural phenomenon. Climate Changes has been happening every 100 thousand to 200 thousand years. Measurements made of Oxygen isotopes, coral reefs, tree rings, levels of aragonite, etc. demonstrate that the last Climate Change was given some 580, 000 years ago.

As we compare a graphic of the Global Warming related to an anthropogenic influence over the graphics made from the observations of the natural change, we find that it is very likely that the natural influence is the primary and main component of the Global Warming.

One indication to recognize this fact is the almost-null fluctuations of El Niño and La Niña occurrences by means of the Global Warming. We have found that El Niño y La Niña streams have not been influenced by the Global Warming. However, we have found that the dramatic weather manifestations in some land areas, as thunderstorms, cyclones, twisters, heavy snowing, hailstorms, etc., are normal phenomena boosted up radically by the pressure of deforestation and the alteration of the topography by incontrollable cropping and the excessive growth of the urban areas.

Another indication is the high uncertainty of the available data to understand the radiative forcing and the unpredictability of the radiative forcing itself as to attribute the problem to an unprecedented rise of Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Since 1980, our Sun is sending more intense radiation to Earth by an anomaly in the number of solar fulgurations (Benson, 2001), which coincidentally has been more intense on the warmer years (1998, and 2005). If our main supply of heat and other types of energy is our Sun, and if our Sun has been more active through the last two decades, it is coherent and adjusted to the scientific validation that we concluded that our planet has been hit more intensely by the Cosmic Radiation, and much more logical it is that Earth has been receiving more heat waves than usual. I do not find another realistic basis, since at other times we have suffered the same heating up; for example, during the Medieval Age. However, we have had periods of intense cold when the atmospheric Carbon Dioxide concentration has been in levels five or more times higher than nowadays, and periods of overheating in geologic periods when the concentration of Carbon Dioxide was by far in lower than at present. Scientifically, all about a connection between the globe temperature and the atmospheric CO2 concentration is not as sure as some people say.

From 1999 the atmospheric CO2 concentration has not changed much; what is more, it has been alternatively increasing and diminishing; nevertheless, the variability in the tropospheric temperature has been gradually increasing IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE. The comparison between the two variables is not possible and they do not agree indisputably, as IPCC has been claiming. There is not "a forceful" test on an anthropogenic effect on the Climate Change and the Global Warming. The real overwhelming facts are a feature of the anomaly in the solar activity and in an anomalous increase in the energy of the Intergalactic Cosmic Rays that strike on Earth (Decker, Gurnett, Kurth, Stone, 2005).

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OZONE DEPLETION AREA

NASA has detected an increment in the width of the ozone depletion area. At present, the area measures a little more than 28 million square kilometers. This represents an expansion of the 2% annual. After the Protocol of Montreal, we thought that the actions taken would be sufficient to stop the destruction of the ozone layer, therefore we see that it is not as we thought. I think that everything we can do to stop the destruction will be valuable for the future generations (To get an idea, the present extension of the depletion zone is three times larger than all the territory of the United States).

As you already know, the pollutant gases aggregated to the atmosphere have caused the depletion of ozone layer, especially the chlorofluorocarbonated (CFC) compounds. Most of them generated through human activities, as aeronautics, astronautic, industrial activities, use of aerosols, etc.

We cannot do a great deal to stop the process, therefore although we decide to abandon totally those practices, the recuperation of the ozone layer would take several centuries to be recuperated. Besides, NASA has shown that a substantial part of those gases is produced by nature.

The instrument used for this measurement was the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), mounted in the Earth Probe (TOMS-EP) satellite.

As we informed above, the ozone layer depletion has been expanding in an abnormal pattern through the last four months. According to the report from NASA, the ozone layer "hole" has been expanding in an accelerated way and it has reached a diameter three times greater than the entire area of USA: http://www.science.nasa.gov

Now NASA has released a report that has spawned scratchy suspicions on the environmentalist organizations. The cause of this worry are the statements of the specialists in space climate who assure that according to the studies of NASA, the cause of the ozone layer depletion is not provoked purely by Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), but also by natural phenomena acting in the stratosphere.

Doubts on the cause of the unusual expansion of the ozone layer depletion arose when the annual graphics on the concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons in the terrestrial atmosphere and the graphics about the destructive activity in the ozone layer were compared. The result of the comparison revealed that as the atmospheric concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons are diminishing, the ozone layer depletion is increasing! This does not mean that the chlorofluoro-carbons have not an effect on the stability of the ozone layer, but that CFCs have not actually the so enormous importance that we had given to it before. It does not suggest that CFCs have a diminutive importance as destructive agents; in contrast, it means that other factors (basically, natural) are provoking the spiraling in the ozone layer depletion.

Now I remember that essay where NASA said that the global warming was not detected by them, and that, opposing to what the scientists on ground said, they (NASA) had identified a "global cooling". At the end of the polemics, NASA had to accept that its allegation was erroneous.

But this time NASA is right. Other factors, many of them susceptible to man manipulation and many more that befall significantly afar from our scope, are stepping up the damage on the ozone layer.

The man-made factors are CFCs, ammonia, methane, and other noxious waste, including radioactivity.

The natural factors relate to the cooling of the troposphere and with the inner physical conditions of the ozone layer (Stratospheric ice crystals, Antarctic current, and global warming). Certainly, there is an amount of methane and ammonia derived from natural man-activities as harvest and other non-derivative from human actions, as decaying of plant and animal corpses, etc.

The other news is that the extension of the area of ozone layer exhaustion has extended out of the Antarctic limits.

Thus, we have to do something to stop this; but what can we to do to alleviate the damage on the ozone layer?

Five steps for help:

1. Use your car only when it is necessary. The less we use our cars, the less pollution we emit to the atmosphere. Remember that the burning of fossil fuels generates many substances that damage the ozone layer.

2. Do not buy refrigerators or air-conditioned equipment that use CFCs as refrigerant. Seek to this information on labels, or ask directly to supplier.

3. Do not use cleaning solvents containing CFCs or ammonia.

4. Do not use aerosols and do not buy objects made with plastic foam. Send back all plastic foams to the sender if you receive those like backfill into your mail packages. The low consume of these products will discourage the manufacturers of plastic foam.

5. Spread the sound. Please, show this to your children, your relatives, friends and neighbors.

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RADIOACTIVE WASTE

The radioactive wastes are those generated by the decay of the radioactive elements used in nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. In the course of 50 years of activity in this field, the nuclear industry has generated so much radioactive waste that it has become in a large problem, specially related with its proper release.

At the beginning, around the 1950s-1970s, the radioactive waste were confined in metallic containers that were released in the oceans, or were buried in deep deposits, far from populated zones and under meticulous standards of security.  What has occurred from 1970 to date?

Many things have changed since then, at present the costs for the traders of radioactive wastes have surpassed the budget designed for it, of such form that new forms of discharge have been sought. Unfortunately for us, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is in route to make legal the free commercialization of the radioactive waste for the manufacture of materials for the building and the assembly of daily household objects. At present, radioactively contaminated metals are being sent for the manufacture of toys, pans, batteries, kitchen utensils, and many more domestic items.

What is the Problem?

A good number of scientists think there is not a minimum sure dose of radiation absorbed by man (ram). This idea is supported by the observations performed in persons that have been in contact with radioactive material, whether it is a smaller or a greater level of rams.

The exposure to ionizing radiation intensifies the danger of cancer, fetal deformities, mutations, immunity deficiencies, and burns. Radiation also reduces the natural life. The injuries from radioactivity are typically irreversible and always lead to death. Embryos, fetuses, children and elderly deal with the maximum peril.

What can we do? Write letters to your local newspapers about this worldwide irritating problem. Take charge of demonstrations, alertness and other events requiring that they keep radioactive wastes isolated from the human communities and natural environments.

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ACID RAIN

Acid rain is a form of pollution caused by the release of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides to the atmosphere.

More than 90% of sulfur and 95% of nitrous emanations derive from human activities. These primary air pollutants are produced mainly by the use of coal in the generation of electricity, the Iron & Steel Production, and the combustion of fossil fuels in motorized vehicles. Once in the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide and nitrogenous oxide can be transformed through chemical reactions into more dangerous secondary pollutants as nitric acid and sulfuric acid, which can dissolve easily in water. The acid water droplets can be driven by long distances by prevailing winds. The acidified droplets of water can fall like acid rain, acid snow or hail, or can form dense fogs.

Scientists have discovered that air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is the main source of acid rain. The main chemicals in air pollution that generate acid rain are sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide. Acid rain regularly starts high in clouds where sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide react with water, oxygen, and other oxidants. The combination of the components forms a caustic solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Sunlight increases the rate of these reactions. Rainwater, snow, fogs and hail that contain those caustic solutions of sulfuric and nitric acids fall on ground as acid rain.

About a 40% of sulfur dioxide is generated by motorized vehicles (motorcycles, ships, cars, trucks, buses, trains and rockets), about 25% from thermoelectric generating stations, and 35% from other industrial, commercial, and home-made combustion practices. Almost 70% of nitrous oxide is produced by farming activities.

ADVERSE EFFECTS OF ACID RAIN:

  • Acid rain kills to natural and cultivated flora, to underground invertebrates and burrowing vertebrates. It is particularly noxious for frogs and toads.

  • Acid rain inhibits the germination and reproduction of many plants.

  • Acid rain accelerates the soil erosion, removing many important nutrients for plants.

  • Acid rain makes more soluble some toxic elements, like aluminum. High concentrations of aluminum in soils can stop the uptake and metabolism of nutrients by plants and earthwormes.

  • Acid rain destroys the protecting waxy surface of leaves, lowering the resistance to plant diseases.

  • Long-term statistics indicates that, although changes in stream pH have been small, a great amount of calcium and magnesium has been misplaced from soil and distributed to other areas by water streams. It happens because a reduction of the capture of acid components by the atmosphere. As a result, the recovery of the chemistry soil and water streams -in response to a reduction of acid rains- will slow down.

Although the United States and Europe Union have diminished radically the pollution with sulfur oxides, forests, lakes, and water streams have not bounced back as fast as it was estimated. A team of investigators reported that Acid rain has initiated irreversible alterations of soil. Statistics on the chemistry of rain and rivers in New Hampshire’s woodlands provide evidence that acids have stripped away the basic mineral ions of soils that work like a shield by neutralizing the acids and that are vital to plant growth. Given the rate at which those mineral ions are still being depleted, it could be take many decades to make the acid-ravaged ecosystems become healthy again.

Author: Biol. Nasif Nahle

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BIBLIOGRAPHY AND FURTHER READING

Bains, S., Corfield, Richard M., Norris, Richard D. Mechanisms of Climate Warming at the End of the Paleocene. Science. Vol. 285. Issue 5428, pp. 724 - 727; 30 July 1999.

Campbell, Neil A., et al. Biology. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. 1999, Menlo Park, CA.

Curtis, Helen. Biology. Worth Publishers, Inc. 1983, New York, New York.

http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/11.14/09-globalwarming.html

Mader, Sylvia S. Human Biology. 2004. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. New York.

Sutton, David B., Harmon, N. Paul. Ecology: Selected Concepts. 2000. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York.

Turk, A., Turk, J., Wittes, J. Ecología-Contaminación-Medio Ambiente. 1973. Nueva Editorial Interamericana, S. A. de C. V. México, D. F.

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