#GeoEngineering - more prevalent than u know

#GeoEngineering – more prevalent than u know (Photo credit: joykennelly)

In the wake of the realization that climate change is a reality, a geoengineering technology incorporating the use of artificial trees to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is a clear indication that “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy”.  Geoengineering is defined as “climate engineering, climate remediation, and climate intervention” .(1)  Geoengineering has been used primarily to refer to “the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system, in order to moderate global warming“.  It typically involves efforts to rid the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and solar radiation management techniques to “offset effects of increased greenhouse gas concentration by causing the Earth to absorb less solar radiation“. (2)

It has been noted that scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute are working on a “carbon capture” project, which involves the use of a prototype of artificial trees that will remove carbon dioxide from the air “faster and at higher levels than natural photosynthesis can accomplish”. (3)  This group postulates that the captured carbon dioxide then can be released by a “gentle flow of water” and then can be used industrially or safely sequestered underground.  Many environmentalists take an exception to technological fixes for global warming, such as these because such actions “discourage us from the hard work of actually cutting down on greenhouse emissions”.  The main consideration here is whether the goal here is climate manipulation or solutions to address climate change.

The reality here is that trees are not the culprits in this scenario.  They consistently have done their job well.  They effectively reflect the “greatness of God“.  It is man who has disrupted this process by actions that increase our carbon footprint, namely pollution of land, air and water, reliance on fossil fuels, and to a large extent, deforestation.  Consideration of ethics and moral responsibility is a very valid approach to this issue.  Followers of the green movement recognize themselves as “stewards” of the Earth.  We have a duty to protect the environment and to pass on a healthy world to future generations.  This notion of benevolent management of the world has a foundation in religion, ethics and morality and must not be diminished by greed, politics or sheer lack of responsibility.

Now on to the role of beer (which is good) and its relationship to the idea of artificial trees, in particular, and geoengineering, in general.  So many of us are caught up in a rat race.  You have to admit that when you take a break with an ice-cold beer, the stress level goes down and you can reflect on life.  Now you can appreciate a tree as opposed to the stressful periods when you “couldn’t see the forest for the trees”.  Things start to make sense.  You realize that so many things about life have become artificial, and maybe we should stop this nonsense.

Finally, the acceptance of artificial trees clearly would indicate that people are crazy.  By definition, artificial means “humanly contrived, often on a natural model, manmade, simulated; sham”  Already we rely on so many artificial products and ingredients which ultimately bear heavy costs in terms of money, waste, and adverse health consequences.  Now trees?  To this notion, we must say a resounding NO.  We can grow trees with seeds made by trees.  We do not need to manufacture them artificially.

We can address climate change by a consolidated effort to avoid pollution, recycling, reducing our fuel and energy consumption and living responsibly.  We do not want climate manipulation.  Rather, we demand climate change solutions.  We want to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

1.  United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) (July 2011) (PDF). Climate Engineering: Technical Status, Future Directions, and Potential Responses (Report). Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering. p. 3. Retrieved 2011-12-01.

2.  Royal Society (September 2009) (PDF). Geoengineering the Climate: Science, Governance and Uncertainty (Report). p. 1. ISBN 978-0-85403-773-5. Retrieved 2011-12-01.

3.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/artificial-trees-carbon-capture_b_2728083.html.

4.  Credit to Bill Currington from song “People Are Crazy”.

As the recovery and rebuilding from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy continues in the northeastern region of the United States, so must rethinking the plausibility of living close to waters.  While it is understandable that the city flooding in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut was unavoidable and qualifies for federal funding for repairs, maybe this is an opportune time to reconsider living in beachfront communities.

It appears that the realization of the burdensome costs of storm damage in beachfront communities is in the crosshairs of the Obama administration.  This past summer, President Obama signed a bill that makes changes to the National Flood Insurance Program.  This law allots $105 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the administrative agency for the National Flood Insurance Program, to update flood plain maps and to “adjust federal flood insurance premiums to reflect real risks”.  This law also includes provisions for efforts to remove vacation homes and repeat claims from the protection of federal insurance.

While programs such as these face opposition by long-time residents in flood-proned areas, they are supported by liberal officials because they represent acknowledgement of the reality of climate change and its effect on global warming.  Also, conservatives support these measures because they reduce federal spending.  It is important to note that the federal government is not restricting citizens from living in flood-proned areas.  Rather it is transferring the overwhelming financial burden of storm damage, which is expected to occur at greater frequencies, from all taxpayers to the residents in these communities.

During the 2012 presidential election campaign, we witnessed FEMA and its huge deficit become a point of contention.  While it is mandatory that federal monies be spent for natural disasters, consideration must be given to the argument for the necessity of some controls along these lines.  At the time the last transportation bill was signed, FEMA was $18 billion in debt.  Hurricane Sandy has pushed this debt closer to the agency’s cap of $20.8 billion.  The conversation to reduce the federal deficit and to address the looming fiscal cliff must include compromise on both sides of the aisle, and Congress would be remiss to not include measures to address the costs of devastation to communities by violent weather.  Of course, states and localities could adopt legislation to build sea walls to protect residents living near water and/or to provide state insurance funds to pay for rebuilding after storms, but this cost can no longer fall totally on the shoulders of the federal government.

Living a green life requires making choices, some of which are difficult but necessary.  To protect our families, communities, businesses and our very existence, let’s live green, be green.

Sources for this article:




FED - FEMA | Federal Emergency Management Agency

FED – FEMA | Federal Emergency Management Agency (Photo credit: Inventorchris)

There has been an ongoing debate regarding the negative impact of climate change versus natural occurrences.  Environmentalists point to the damaging actions of mankind as the source of a climate change problem while many conservatives totally dismiss this as a silly notion.  This week Native American and Alaskan leaders testified in Washington, D.C. on the need for Congress to address the serious issues of environmental changes in their communities.  In their testimony, they told of their villages being underwater because of coastal erosion and droughts.  Alaskan leaders noted the change in venue of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race because of lack of snowfall.  Mike Williams, Chief of the Yupit Nation in Akiak, Alaska emphasized that his community always has lived off of the land and waters, but now their survival is threatened by today’s climate changes.  Native communities are disproportionately impacted by harsh climate changes because they rely on nature rather than technology for food, sacred sites and cultural ceremonies.

To foster discussion and give attention to the problem of climate change and its negative impact on tribal communities, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a symposium this week.  Entitled First Steward, this gathering of tribal leaders, scientists and individuals negatively impacted by climate change provides an opportunity to learn first hand about indigenous populations who have lived off the land and waters and continue to so but now are finding to difficult to maintain their lifestyles.  These communities do not have access to technology that exists in large urban centers.  As a result, their very existence now is compromised, and they need help. Mr. Williams advised that any plan to address climate change should take into consideration native practices and traditional knowledge.

It is important to realize that climate change exists and is happening now.  While we argue about its cause and how to balance the costs of climate change, some communities are melting away.  Let’s all become stewards of the environment.  Live green, be green.

Everyday we hear about the problems of climate change.  Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed the warmest temperatures recorded over a sustained period time and raging wildfires that have destroyed thousands of acres of land and the homes, lives and possessions of so many hard-working citizens.  Our communities are now inundated with garbage and landfills full of discarded electronics and junk that will never decompose.  Increasingly, we are faced with higher taxes and penalties imposed by municipalities to address the problems of aging sewage and water-flow treatment plants no longer able to support the increasing demand on these systems.  Now we have been blindsided by the announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that rising acid levels in the ocean pose a major threat to coral reefs.  Dubbed “the osteoporosis of the sea,” this phenomenon threatens everything from “food security to tourism and livelihoods”.  

As the oceans absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the acidity of the water is increased.  Scientists are concerned about the effect of the higher acidity on sea life, particularly reefs, because the growing acidity negatively impacts the formation of coral skeletons, which ultimately will lead to deterioration of the reefs.  Previously, scientists assumed that the carbon dioxide absorbed by the water would be diluted as the shallow and deeper waters mixed.  Unfortunately, the majority of the carbon dioxide and its subsequent chemical changes have remained in the surface waters.

These higher acidity levels have impacted sea life in a very harsh and sometimes unpredictable manner.  For example, they have posed a major threat to oyster populations because the acid slows the growth of their shells.  Study results also reference the deleterious effect on clown fish and other sea life.  One experiment in particular has shown that the increased acid levels have dulled the sense of smell of some sea life, resulting in these creatures swimming towards predators, as opposed to away from them.  

The reduction of carbon emissions has become a matter of urgency to ensure the viability of both land and sea.  Our waters are a source of food, entertainment and livelihood for our planet’s occupations.  To protect them, let’s live green, be green.