Earth. A beautiful planet, the third in distance from the sun, with water, oxygen and every favourable condition to support life, including ours. A truly ‘alive’ massive rock floating in the infinite space. Our only home. It would be an irony if we were the one to destroy it. Backstabbing. The biggest murders of all. Sadly, this is not just a random thought, but a glimpse of the future. Our ignorance, stupidity, and pride are going to cost us, and because of us all the other life, the only place in this Universe we can call home, our Earth. The beginning of the end is here.
A few days ago I watched this documentary starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Before The Flood, on the suggestion of one of my friends (THANK YOU!). The 1 hour 35 minutes long documentary is truly a masterpiece addressing the end of all humanity that is approaching with every passing second- Global Warming. First screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, the documentary took three years to finish, with Leonardo and his team travelling to every part of the globe including, Philippines, United States, India, Arctic, Vatican, France, Denmark among many other countries.
From his journey as the United Nation’s messenger for Peace with special focus on Climate Change, in the above documentary, Leonardo takes us to different parts of the world, talking to leaders, scientists, government officials, and others, showing us the effect of climate change and global warming on the planet, and the necessary data. The documentary begins with Leonardo talking about a 15th century triptych, by Hieronymous Bosch, The Gardens Of Earthly Desires(pictured above), that is divided in three parts, first part shows the garden of Eden, showing the beginning of life on Earth, and the heaven that it was, then the second part shows the ‘sins’ taking place in this Earth, people destroying it, over population, a burden. Advancing and coming on the third part, we see a destroyed home, a hell, with nothing to call ‘life’. This is compared to the current situation of our planet. Negligence is causing our planet its life-supporting qualities.
Global warming is a serious issue, and the more later we react to it, the more are we going to lose. It’s already too late to mend the destruction that has been done, but we can still stop, reduce the carbon footprint, and use of fossil fuels, and hope that the planet restores to a bit better conditions. People need to understand the urgency of the situation and the science behind it. Scientists aren’t corrupt people. or rich like politicians, and will earn nothing by spreading a false alarm. Climate change is as real as anything. The increase in average global level of greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane has increases the average temperature of the planet, and has impacted the weather pattern throughout. Polar ice caps are melting, all the rainfall of a season is falling down in a matter of few days, flooding the fields and destroying the crops, animals are dying not being able to adapt to these changes, and people are loosing homes.
According to the UN, as of 2100 all of Greenland’s ice-sheet will melt, and the ocean levels can be 7.3 meters higher. Many coastal countries already face the dangers of being flooded and be lost from the map forever. Greenhouse gases like CO2, whose level has risen from 128 ppm to 400 ppm in the past 150 years, retain the heat received from Sun and increase the temperature of the planet. Many activities contribute to this increase including but not restricted to usage of fossil fuels, exhaust from factories and large-scale herding of livestock. The documentary shows how most of the politicians in the US benefit from the sales of fossil fuels which makes it hard for any carbon tax bill to pass. Increase in the number of beef consumers has also cause a crazy increase in the levels of methane, another greenhouse gas, but far worse than CO2. 1lb of beef releases 28lbs of methane. To compare, one parts of methane is as harmful as 23 parts CO2, causing far more damage. Preferring less meat, or better alternatives like chicken can help reduce this effect. If you can turn vegetarian, that is much better.
The level of carbon dioxide released by every individual/activity is called the carbon footprint. The data in the documentary clearly shows how this level has been increasing, especially for developed countries like the US. When Leonardo visited India, he met Dr. Sunita Narain, Director of Centre for Science and Environment, and talked about the condition of the country. Dr. Sunita showed him how the 330 million people of the country (almost the population of US) live without the access to energy, using dried cow dung cakes as fuel. She told him how US was mainly to blamed, because being a developed country, and one of the major leading nations, until and unless they take a serious step towards a greener future, nothing is going to happen. She showed graphs and numbers to support her claim, showing how US is lacking in the field of green energy like Solar and Wind, even farther than India and China, with ten times more energy consumption through fossil fuels than China. She said until and unless America took a serious stem, how will the lesser developed countries like India achieve admiration to undertake similar steps. Leonardo agreed with her, but I think our leader was running or better shying away to accept that every country including India is at fault, and even the Indians are contributing to a finite amount of global warming. Pointing fingers won’t help, we have to find a solution, and fast.
Countries like Denmark, Switzerland and France have already invested humongous amounts of money in wind and solar energy, to the extent that Denmark and Netherlands are practically running on just these forms of energy.
The sad part is that we are still not acknowledging the danger that is staring us right in the face. We are ignoring science. Leaders like Donald Trump among many are giving sheer stupid arguments against climate change, like if the Earth is warming, why is there still snowfall. Well, climate change doesn’t just increase temperature but generally causes change in weather patterns. It can even cause lower temperatures never seen before. The average temperature is rising. Which basically means there are places with lower and higher temperatures, but if temperatures of poles rises above zero degree, a terrible flood will impact every corner of the world due to the melting ice. Glaciers are already melting in vast quantities.
When Leonardo is in the Arctic, we can clearly see the melting ice, that has turned black in the edges because of fossil fuels. Polar flora and fauna are on the verge of extinction. It is the poor animals that have to pay first for crimes committed by us.
Climate change is no joke. While we are finding life on other planets, moons, and even other solar systems, if we are incapable of respecting our very home, sadly, we don’t deserve to know about other life supporting places in the Universe. If we continue being naive, we will pay a hefty price. Cities will sink, Life will go extinct, and there will be nowhere to go and hide. Looking back at us, aliens, if they ever happen to visit our lifeless planet, will understand why such a smart(Ironically!) species as ours, destructed the only home known to us. Perhaps we weren’t as intelligent and ‘advanced’ as they thought. The worst part will be that we not only destroy ourselves but every other life that exists with us. Let’s not make our fellow life forms and our own future generations pay for our crimes. This home belongs to everyone, and not just us, We owe to this planet, and need to learn to respect it. There is still hope to change the course of things. No matter what the costs are, we should adjust, because if we die, money is of no use, and all this knowledge and accomplishments we achieved in our lifetime, will be lost forever in the pages of time. Please take out 1.5 hours to watch the documentary (link provided below), spread the awareness, and try reducing your carbon footprints as much as possible. Go Green, and Happy Reading.
-The Cosmogasmic Person