Proff. Robert Flower
Reptiles thank you for Global Warming
Humans are creatures of greed. They take, they eat, they consume, and they use with abandon. On a subconscious level people have become accustomed to ignoring the consequences of their actions because “that is just how the system works.” When it comes to the business of energy and energy consumption, they find themselves in a situation that is more than similar. We as a race use fossil fuels daily, with at least some knowledge on its affects on the environment, and we scarcely bat an eyelash. “How else can I get around?” or “How else can cities be powered?” are common questions when confronted with the idea of living without fossil fuels, as if there is no other way. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not any man’s greed” (Mohandas Gandhi). We have begun to trek down a dangerous path where we cannot help but rob the earth of its resources and riches without giving back. And despite the fact that there are ways to easily power this world without the assistance of these ancient carbon remains, it is not a viable option; this is because this requires much effort in the realm of change, and changing “the system” would be too costly. Before we can think of a way we can reverse this process and use this excess carbon dioxide to our advantage, people must stop it in its tracks. The human race must adopt biofuels, mainly because they neither contribute to nor take from the problem. Fuels made from Biomass will only release as much carbon dioxide as they absorb, to grow, upon combustion. If people continue on this path we will soon reach carbon-atmosphere levels equivalent to that of when dinosaurs roamed this earth; consequently, we need to stop immediately.
To expand more on this example, lets remember that dinosaurs and reptiles are cold blooded. Today’s reptiles, very often, bask in the sun to keep their bodies at the necessary body temperature to function. The giant reptiles of that time dominated because millions of years ago, the world was a, in essence, warmer place. With the formation of earth being relatively recent and the earth being young, there was still a substantial amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This gas, along with nitrous oxide, ozone, water vapor, and methane creates a blanket around our planet, known today for causing the greenhouse effect. The green house effect lets in some energy from the sun and essentially traps it. This is accomplished when the green house gasses become heated and then begin to vibrate. This vibrating motion comes from the oscillating of the bond lengths between atoms on a molecular level. The energy created from this vibration is what in turn heats the earth’s atmosphere. The carbon dioxide alone only plays a small role in keeping this energy in; in fact, on average, it keeps 15 times less energy, due to the size difference, than methane. Carbon dioxide becomes a factor when there are large amounts of it, which explains why the earth was warmer millions of years ago. At the time, there was scarcely anything adding any substantial amounts of carbon dioxide to the environment; as a result over time trees, through photosynthesis, simply sucked up an immense amount of it to produce their foods and sugars for their own sustenance. Because of this, evolution took its role, the earth began cooling down and becoming less and less accommodating for reptiles, whom began to evolve into slower and smaller creatures, and more accommodating for mammals: humans. Considering this point zero, the human and civilization began with an incredibly minute amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Since the beginning of industrialization 200 years ago, we have been burning coal; and later, petroleum. The carbon-based fuel we are digging up is the remains of buried ancient trees of the past, compressed under huge amount of pressure. When it is burned we only add the same...