HANGING BY A THREAD
This planet Earth is in many ways like a cocoon, designed to protect and shelter life in all its variations from the harsh and hostile environment that everywhere surrounds it… the atmosphere that blankets our planet is about 300 miles thick, and serves much like a semi-permeable membrane in keeping ‘foreign objects’ out, while keeping materials necessary for life – air, water & warmth – safely within.
Without an adequate atmosphere, all life on this planet would soon cease to exist. Our life-giving air & atmosphere absorbs solar radiation, deflects or burns up most asteroids & meteors on collision course with Earth, allows water to exist as a liquid and vapor, warms the surface of the planet, permits plants to grow through photosynthesis, and regulates temperature extremes between day and night.
Without the Earth’s atmosphere, this planet’s average temperature would be well below the freezing temperature of water.
The reason that is NOT the case is because our atmosphere contains a number of chemical gases known as ‘greenhouse gases’, such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone and water vapor which absorb heat from the sun, and trap its radiation within the planetary system.
This is commonly called the ‘Greenhouse Effect’, although that term is a misnomer. (In an actual greenhouse, heat is unable to escape and continues to accumulate more and more; whereas, in the planetary system greenhouse gases act as heat regulators which control the rise and fall of planetary temperatures.)
Water vapor alone causes about 36 – 70% of Earth’s Greenhouse Effect to occur, with carbon dioxide (CO2) contributing between 9 – 26%, while methane (CH4) causes around 4 – 9%, and ozone (O3) brings another 3 – 7% of the total.
Normally, only external factors – such as the strength of solar radiation, excessive volcanic eruptions, or variations in the Earth’s orbit – will have appreciable effects upon these normal ecological workings.
But since about 1880, the global average surface temperatures, on both land and in the oceans, have begun to increase – and since 1960, the rate of global warming has almost doubled, with most of the additional energy accumulating in the oceans. The rest has warmed the atmosphere itself, along with the continental land masses and the polar ice caps.
The results of this global increase in temperature has been a worldwide rise in sea levels, an increase in the acidity of the oceans, increases in desertification around the world, increased overall humidity around the globe, a widespread melting of the world’s snow-packs, earlier flowering of plants in the Spring, an increase in severe weather, and a decrease of sea-life within the oceans.
The consensus among scientists is virtually zero that these changes could be occurring strictly by chance.
The only real change that has taken place in the past 200 years or so that could bring about this state of affairs is the amount and type of human activity that has gone on. The accumulated concentrations of CO2 and methane added to the atmosphere since 1750 by the Industrial Revolution have increased by 36% and 148% (respectively), which is higher than at any time during the last 800,000 years (the period for which direct atmospheric data have been extracted from glacial ice cores).
But the major change that has occurred during that time period comes from the sheer numbers of monkeys that now inhabit the planet. With an estimated total population of 7.6 billion monkeys now inhabiting the Earth, and a projected increase to more than 11.8 billion by the year 2100, something’s gotta give – because the planetary ecosystem is heading towards collapse.
Over the last three decades of the twentieth century alone, gross domestic product per capita and population growth were the main drivers of increases in greenhouse gas emissions. In just the past 20 years, fossil fuel burning has contributed at least three-fourths of the increase in CO2 from monkey activity, with the other quarter coming about through deforestation.
Currently, about half of the carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels is not absorbed by vegetation and the oceans, and remains in the atmosphere – and cumulative CO2 emissions are continuing to rise.
But those billions of monkeys don’t care. They live for today, rather than for tomorrow… they are engrossed in having more and more infants, getting more and better consumable goods, and being vicariously entertained day after day. Who cares about the krill in the oceans, or the alkalinity in sea water, or of whole forests being chopped down or burned up?
By best estimates, at present there are about 12 million monkey scientists around the world conducting research on various topics… twelve million out of 7.6 billion.
And based on all available historic data, all of those specialized highly intelligent monkeys are likely to go right on studying and researching and pontificating while the general monkey population exceeds its carrying capacity, and the only planet they all have to live on becomes completely uninhabitable.
Because that’s what interim species do. They survive for a while… and then they don’t.