The Way the World Ends
An Article by S.R. Miller
"So this is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but a whimper."
I've been very angry about this global warming thing for quite awhile, but I recently found a few facts about it that I hadn't heard before, and they scared me.
Most people know that the ice caps are melting. Some have even heard this would trigger an ice age. But I have found an even bleaker, far more scary outcome that is not as well broadcast, or known. I hope, that by publishing this article, I can shed some light on just how serious this climate change shit is, and maybe scare a few people into action against air pollution.
A Giant Blue Thermostat
To explain how this works, i need to explain some earth science. Chiefly about the oceans. The oceans are the world's thermostat. They keep Hawaii warm and europe from being a frozen wasteland. They control weather patterns, and almost every species on earth depends on them, directly or indirectly, for survival. Including humans.
How this works is simple. Have you ever poured water on something to thaw it? It works like that, but on a much larger scale. The currents in the ocean carry warm water from the equator up the coast of Africa and all the way to europe, and then around to Maine and northern USA, keeping it from being a frozen wasteland like northern Canada. Currents all over the world keep hot places hot and cold places cold. It's Because of the oceans many islands are the tropical paradises they are.
To phrase it for idiots, the currents are important.
There are two kinds of currents; surface currents, which are created by the wind and the turning of the earth, and deep currents, which are created by water of diferent densities and salinities (saltiness) moving around. Basically, something that is denser than another will sink, something less dense will float. Salinity is similar. Some parts of the ocean are saltier than others. Deep currents are caused by cold polar water moving (because of density/salinity) across the globe, slowly rising as they get warmer (therefor less dense) and then sinking down to the bottom again when they reach the other pole. These deep currents keep the ocean mobile, like stirring a pot of water, or the flow of rivers into lakes.
Another thing that currents do is feed us. It's a food-chain. The plankton feed the bigger plankton, which feed the shrimp, which feed the fish and so on. The plankton get nutrients from the sun, but also a process called upwelling. Upwelling is when the warm top water is pulled away from shore and the cold, nutreint rich deep water rises up and fills it's place. The nutrients in the deep water come from the carcasses of marine animals floating to the bottom of the ocean and breaking down. So the currents bring the cold water, which feed the plankton, which feed the fish, which feed us.
So what happens when those currents stop?
When the Currents Stop
Have you ever seen a pond with really gross, bad-smelling water? The kind that just sits there without having any fresh water added by river or rainfall? The water is probably stagnant.
Something similar will happen to the ocean if the poles melt. Once the poles melt the water won't be cold enough for the deep currents to curculate, like ice cubes melting in a glass. Once that happens, the water stops moving. The surface currents will still go on, powered by wind and not denstiy, but deep currents like the East Australian (You know, from the movie Finding Nemo) will stop. And this is one of the scenario's that will play out.
Once the water stops curculating, europe and northern USA are going to get a lot colder. But that's barley a footnote. here's the scary part.
When the plankton die from lack of nutreints from upwelling, the fish, like salmon and tuna, will go too, colapsing the fishing industry. And that will be all for a little while.
but then, the oceans will get stagnant.
The first to go will be the creatures sensitive to changes in enviroment, like the jellyfish, and the coral. Those will be the first causualties.
After that, the stagnant water will turn poisonous.
The accumlalation of dead creatures will be eaten by bacteria, which after a long time, produce a poisonous pink gas. And as that poisonous gas builds up, it eventually reaches the surface, and dissipates into the air, effectivly gasing the planet over time. Killing everybody.
How do we know this will happen? Because it's happened before; a long time ago, before the dinosaurs. The same thing happened, triggeringa mass extinction like the world has never seen since. This extinction killed 90% OF ALL SPECIES ON EARTH.
It works the same with a bottle of wine. The yeast breaks down the sugar and produces alcohol. But eventually the yeast run out of food, and start breaking down the alcohol turning it into vinagar, eventually killing them. Right now, we are like the yeast, taking away the oxygen and producing the carbon dioxide, thus melting the poles and making the ocean stagnant, digging our own graves.
And even if humanity is not one of these ninety percent, what about the other species? Cows, pigs, chickens, fish, deer, vegtables and fruits? none of them are praticular hardy when it comes to poisons. Neither are we, actually. Even if we survive the gasing of earth, will we survive the rebound? Will we hunt rats and cockroaches? Gather algae and fungus to eat? Or will we simply fade from existence, the masters of earth killed by something so small, as a tiny bacteria?
A Light in the Darkness
The future is grim, the way it's headed. But doesn't need to be. The furture is written in water, not stone, and even the smallest things create big ripples. It's not too late to change, to build a better future for our descendants. Knowlege is power.
So email this article to everyone you know, inform people about this and we can DO something!! WE are powerful, not our leaders or governments! They our powerful because we let them be, conviced as they want us to be that one person cannot change anything! But that is as far from the truth as can be! ONE person can do something. And for every one person who has an ally, we can change the world if we can only THINK we are powerful! One person can change little more than a single city, or a single law, but one thousand ones can change the world! So help change it, you are one of those ones!
California Earth Science Textbook
Mr. Flory's 9th Grade Earth Science Class at Pleasant Valley High School, Chico, CA
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