Mankind a Self-Destructive Species

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A brief story of mankind as a destructive species. I discuss how man is destroying the planet and ultimately the extinction of the human race due to man's destructive nature.

Submitted: May 05, 2015

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Submitted: May 05, 2015

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SPECIES

By Michael Dale Sipes, Jr.

 

Each year massive amounts of CO2 is being thrown into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels, either by our automobiles, factories and power plants. At one time Earth had twice the amount of oxygen it has now, and both animals and insects grew to huge proportions. Dragonflies the size of eagles, millipedes the size of crocodiles, huge animals. This was due to the abundant trees on Earth at that time and the absence of fungus or mold to break down those tree’s once they died and fell to earth. Once fungus and mold evolved to break down the dead tree’s their trapped CO2 and carbon were released back into the atmosphere, the oxygen levels decreased and Earth achieved a sort of homeostasis which balanced the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere with the amount being absorbed by algae, plants, and trees for hundreds of millions of years thereafter. Most people do not realize that it’s not just the tree's that produce our precious oxygen, but phytoplankton in the Earth’s oceans produce half of the oxygen we rely on comes from these tiny creatures. Temperatures have increased by 0.5° Celsius over the last 100 years. Most of these increases occurred in the first 50 years of this time period. 100 years ago carbon dioxide levels were about 300 ppm, as of April 2014, CO2 levels have hit 402 ppm, a full 33% increase. This is the highest CO2 level on Earth in the past 800,000 years. This is due to the industrial revolution, deforestation, burning of fossil fuels and so on. It’s a fact that humans have caused carbon dioxide concentrations to rise 120 ppm since pre-industrial times, with over 90 percent of that in the past century alone. And what is even more scary is that if we stopped burning fossil fuels right now, completely stopped, it would not make a difference for centuries, even millennia because a single molecule of carbon dioxide can remain aloft for hundreds of years, which means that the effects of today’s industrial activities will be felt for the next several centuries, if not thousands of years. There is also a direct correlation between CO2 levels and temperature. The higher the CO2 levels the higher the temperature. I for one have observed some of the hottest summers in the past 5 years that I can remember. While 400 ppm is mostly a symbolic number, the climate changes it could cause are not. Among other impacts, increased carbon dioxide contributes to heating the planet’s surface and ocean temperatures, which in turn melts ice and raises ocean levels. Oceans have already risen 8 inches in the past century and may rise another 3 feet by the end of the century with grave costs to coastal communities. When carbon dioxide was last at these levels, the polar ice melted and flooded the oceans, raising levels up to 130 feet higher than today's levels.

Of course, there are those who don’t believe in climate change or global warming or believe that putting 80 million tons a day of CO2 into the atmosphere does any harm. If releasing human-made carbon dioxide into the air doesn’t cause any harm to the atmosphere then why has the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased by close to 30% since the start of the Industrial Revolution. I don’t know what planet some dullards are living on but I see trouble and it doesn’t take a Ph.D. to recognize that we are destroying our planet and all the life on it, and fast. The Earth is an organism, which changes extremely slowly, hence we do not think it changes at all. That’s one reason no one believed in plate tectonics at first, how can a person who only lives 70 to 75 years observe a continent drift, but with precise measurements it was proven they do drift, anywhere from 1 to 3 centimeters a year. Same goes with the moon, it drifts away from the Earth about 2 to 3 inches a year. Doesn’t seem like much but it is happening and eventually, it will drift far enough to affect Earth in negative ways. Most people do not understand the great significance the moon has to the life on Earth, if we had no moon, there would be no life on Earth.

I don’t understand what makes some people not believe in science and consider global warming or climate change just something someone decided to make up. For instance the ozone layer, no one even mentions it anymore. We have stopped using a lot of CFC’s in our products but the damage is ongoing since 1 molecule of Chlorine from CFC’s can destroy anywhere from 10,000 to 1 million ozone molecules. According to NASA’s projection, the amount of ozone covering the United States had roughly 300 Dobson units of ozone in 1994, which is about average. In 2009 that had dropped to 250. The projection for 2020 is a little over 200, in the year 2040, the number drops to 200, by 2060 the number drops even farther to 175 and finally at the end of the projection in 2080 the level of ozone is expected to be under 100. You would have to wear SPF of 500 to go to the store. But there won’t be a store because life cannot exist under such concentrated UVB radiation. The stratospheric ozone layer absorbs most of the harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation (shortwave UV rays measuring 280-315 nanometers, or nm) emitted by the sun, without it the plankton in the oceans die, then the fish, mammals or in other words us. There cannot and will not be life on Earth without an ozone layer. Our planet is a perfect model of what has happened to Venus. Venus has certain terrain features which suggest at one time it had rivers or even oceans. But due to a runaway greenhouse condition its atmosphere became thicker and thicker with CO2, which trapped the heat, Earth’s future is analogous to Venus’s past. In the runaway greenhouse stage, Earth would absorb more solar energy than it can give off to retain equilibrium. As a result, the Earth overheats, boiling its oceans and filling its atmosphere with steam, which leaves the planet glowing-hot and forever uninhabitable, as Venus is now.

Mars is very similar to Earths past and Venus, is the hell in which is Earths future. Scientist have even given the time period we live in a name which suites our tenure of the planet completely, it’s called the Holocene extinction. It’s the period of time ranging from 10,000 years ago to present day. The name describes the extinction event of species that has occurred during the present Holocene epoch (since around 10,000 BC) mainly due to human activity. Basically we are killing our planet and ourselves. I feel very sad for young people today, those who are just children. I think to myself, how will their children survive, or will they live to see grandchildren themselves? I know that by the time the Earth reaches its tipping point and revolts in a mass extinction of the human species, I will be long gone, but I still feel for those who will be here to witness it and the horrors that await them as they try to survive with little or no food, air that is unbreathable and water that is too tainted to drink. My faith in God is strong, but my faith in the human race is gone.

 


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