Nature's Lungs

"But man is part of Nature, and ultimately its war against Nature is a war against himself'

Rachel Carson

Destroying Nature's Lungs

Climate change is fundamentally caused by two things - pollution, and the destruction of the trees and the seas, nature's lungs as we call them. We breathe every 10 seconds or so, and the oxygen we need comes from just two sources - the trees and the seas - Nature's lungs.

So far, we've cut down 46% of all the trees on land, and killed over 40% of the Phytoplankton in the seas - it's the phytoplankton in the seas which helps recycle carbon dioxide from the air to create oxygen.

We have halved the number of trees and Phytoplankton is the seas, equivalent to removing one of her lungs!  

Poisoning the air

The trees and seas don't just produce oxygen, they also help to filter the air we breathe. By destroying them we aren't just suffocating ourselves, we are exposing ourselves to poisonous Green House Gases like methane from car exhausts.  

The World Health Organisation reports that 90% of the world's population now live in air unsuitable for breathing with more than 350,000 people dying every month from pollution related diseases.

So, as we cut off our oxygen supply we are poisoning ourselves.

Carbon and Climate Change

The catalyst for global warming is carbon - a solid - which collects in the air as tiny particles. It enters the air as carbon dioxide which we create when we breathe or when fossil fuels like oil and coal are burned - coal is 75% carbon!

Carbon particles absorb heat and water, and the more there are, the more heat and water is absorbed and the hotter the atmosphere gets, heating up the planet. As temperatures rise, there is more evaporation from the seas, more water in the air, more melting ice which releases more carbon, and so this process of heating and melting takes on a life of its own. 

Carbon is a funny thing - it's essential for life, but too much of it will kill us! Humans, animals and plants are are all made of carbon and when they die, all that remains is carbon. Fossil fuels are just dead plants and animals solidified over millions of years. 

As we burn fossil fuels we are burning carbon and filling the air with particles which absorb heat. At some point we will reach the tipping point, the cycle of Nature heating itself, and we will be unable to stop it.   

The Solution

We have to change peoples' attitudes towards the environment. As Rachel Carson, a pioneer of modern environmentalism, said - "but man is part of Nature, and ultimately its war against Nature is a war against himself'. We might just as well be destroying our own lungs!