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Breathe or Eat–Which Shall It Be?

Will anyone ever listen and take action?

NOAA announced recently that global warming is real, increasing, and needs to be addressed. Yet the question remains. Will anyone pay attention to this measurable reality that keeps rising up to shine its light into the eyes of politicians and the rest of society?
Exactly what does this mean?
 The last Little Ice Age wasn’t all that long ago–just a few centuries. And such phases are normal to the planet, according to ice core sample research. That’s probably why scientists are trying so hard to wake up governments to the seriousness of the present situation.

If we don’t get the situation under control, this Earth might be headed down a path we don’t want to walk. Studies of ice core samples have told scientists for years that once the oceanic current beltway becomes too desalinated in the upper North Atlantic, an alarm is triggered.

What Trigger?
 The current makes a dive there in the North Atlantic and returns along the ocean floor to move back to its origin. That action helps the ocean “turn over”, meaning that necessary chemical and marine environmental processes take place as their supposed to.

If the water’s salt content is greatly reduced by fresh water run-off, the ocean’s surface water doesn’t dive down as far as it should. That allows the water to warm up, retain harmful gases and pollutants, etc. that are normally expelled into the atmosphere. And when the surface waters become too warm, the current slows down, plunging the planet into a cooling phase.

Today’s society and its drivers simply aren’t prepared to deal with a Little Ice Age.

How’s Your Oxygen Level?
 What about the fact that the oceanic food chain in dying?

In the past 60 years, according to a study released this week in the journal Nature, phytoplankton levels are down 40 percent worldwide.

Why should we care?
Considering the fact that this tiny plant plankton produces half of the world’s oxygen, it affects us as much as anything else in the world. They suck up the Co2 produced by us, thereby protecting us from ourselves.

This little factory also creates the basis for the oceans’ food chain. And they are declining, sharply. If the plankton can’t get vital nutrients, it dies. Researchers point their collective fingers at global warming as the cause for this decline.

Plant More Trees
Problems with that solution include:

1. Planting trees, always a good idea, doesn’t begin to solve the problem. Not all foliage produces oxygen at the same rate.

2. Given the amount of forests cleared each day to make room for spreading human populations and uses, land available for planting new forests has come to a standstill.

3. Plankton, oxygen producing oceanic bacteria, etc. replicate an incredible speeds, usually guaranteeing a ready source of oxygenation in ocean water.

4. Trees don’t address the food chain problem.

Food Chain
Any good biologist will tell you that once you damage/eliminate the bottom of the food chain, the entire pyramid comes into jeopardy.

While economists talk about the trickle down theory, the most important theory to many scientists is the ladder climbing one. That one addresses the fact that little things are  preyed upon by slightly bigger things, which are preyed upon by somewhat bigger, and so on until we humans come to the table.

Tiny and Mighty

Virginia Burkett, the chief climate change scientist for U.S. Geological Survey, said the plankton numbers are worrisome and show problems that can’t be seen just by watching bigger more charismatic species like dolphins or whales.

“These tiny species are indicating that large-scale changes in the ocean are affecting the primary productivity of the planet,” said Burkett.

“Phytoplankton ultimately affects all of us in our daily lives,” said lead author Daniel Boyce, also of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Much of the oxygen in our atmosphere today was produced by phytoplankton or phytoplankton precursors over the past 2 billion years.”

Plant plankton — some of it visible, some microscopic — help keep Earth cool. They take carbon dioxide — the key greenhouse gas — out of the air to keep the world from getting even warmer, Boyce said.

End Result
Nobody’s saying that we’ll wake up tomorrow without enough oxygen to breathe or that “A cold winter’s day” is going to take on new meaning. The job of scientists is to investigate and report. The scientific community has been trying since before the end of the twentieth century to do just that.

Even though dissention hails among some facets of the scientific community, the end result is that facts, while unpleasant or scary, must be faced sooner rather than later if action is to thwart a coming disaster.

How do you stand on these kinds of issues? Are you willing to look at the facts and the resulting recommendations? Are you willing to become part of the solution? Are you, indeed, willing to consider a reality that says we’re in trouble?

 I have to ask you, if the lack of oxygen doesn’t put a fear for survival in a person, how does not eating grab you? Won’t have to worry about a new diet plan. That’s for sure.

I’ll leave you with your thoughts.

A bientot,


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