I happened to watch a documentary called “Home” last week by the PRR Group (www.goodplanet.org). The 1 hr 33 min video spoke about the formation of the Earth, its life-sustaining capabilities, evolution of plant, animal and human life, its current state, exploitation etc. The movie appreciated the miracle of Life on Earth and emphasized the harmony between the planet and us – the Homo sapiens. Here’s an excerpt from the movie.
Faster & Faster –
It takes 100 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of potato; 4000 litres for a kg of rice; 13,000 litres for a kg of beef.
The Amazon Rain forests, the greatest reserve of oxygen, has reduced by 20% due to cattle ranches and soya beans farming. 95% of this goes towards feeding livestock and poultry. We are converting rainforests into meat.
In USA 3 million farmers produce enough to feed 2 billion people but the produce is transported to cattle farms as livestock feed. The cattle trample the land day in and day out and hence not a blade of grass grows there.
In Los Angeles the number of cars in a 1 km stretch is almost equal to the number of inhabitants.
Machines dig, rip the earth every day for energy.
Oil, pockets of sunlight, is the order of the day. Dubai is an outstanding example of what oil can’t do. Artificial islands were created; there are no farm lands but the country has the money to buy fresh food; the desert has no water but the money to exhaust vast amount of energy to desalinate sea water. There is endless sun, but no solar panels.
Borneo, one of the largest islands in the world and a major producer of palm oil, is said to disappear in 10 years.
Nigeria, the largest exporter of oil, has 70% of its population below poverty line. Most poor people live in resource rich nations.
3000 skyscrapers have been built in 20 years in Shanghai and hundreds more are under construction.
The necessity of paper has increased 5 fold in 50 years. Eucalyptus is the major ingredient in the paper pulp. It needs extreme amounts of water to grow and when deforested, nothing grows in that land for years because of the trees’ toxic content.
People of Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, took up deforestation to convert the wood to charcoal and export. Now only 2% of the forests are left. The rains have eroded the thousands of year old Humus in the sand the land is not suitable for agriculture.
In the last century half of the world’s marshes have drained; we know neither their richness nor their necessity.
Fishing has increased from 18 to 100 million metric tons since 1950. Most big fish have become extinct as they weren’t given time to reproduce.
40% of the Arctic Ice Cap’s thickness has been lost in 40 years. It could disappear in the year 2030; some say 2050.
The thin ice now no longer reflects the sun’s rays instead the water absorbs the carbon-dioxide. CO2 content is the maximum the Earth has seen in thousands of years.
Greenland has 20% of the planet’s fresh water in the form of ice. If it melts, fresh water will flow into the sea. Salt water would migrate into the ground water table. The ocean would increase by 7 metres and is a threat to low-lying areas like Maldives. There aren’t any industries in Greenland but our actions have repercussions on the whole world.
Coral reefs play a vital role in the Balance of Life on Earth but 30% of them have disappeared as they are extremely sensitive to the water temperature.
Mt. Kilimanjaro (does it ring a bell? The song in the movie Robot) has lost 80% of its glaciers. The Himalayan mountain range is the source of numerous rivers on which 2 billion people are dependent.
Las Vegas, once a desert, today a city, consumes the largest amount of water. On an average every person consumes 800-1000 litres of water per day.
Wild fires release large amounts of CO2. Permafrost, if disrupted, would release vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere, more than what we could handle.
The Earth is the reflection of Human Behaviour. We have no more than 10 years to set things right; to restore the Life of Earth.
Molecule by molecule we have disrupted the Earth’s balance.
20% of the world’s population consume 80% of the resources.
The world spends 12 times more on military expenditure than on aid to developing countries.
5000 people a day die because of dirty drinking water.
1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water.
Nearly 1 billion people are going hungry.
Over 50% of grain traded around the world is used for animal feed or bio fuels.
40% of arable land has suffered damage.
13 millions of hectares of forest disappear every year.
1 mammal in 4, 1 bird in 8, 1 amphibian in 3 are threatened with extinction.
Species are dying out at a rhythm 1000 times faster than the natural rate.
3 quarters of the fishing grounds have been depleted, exhausted or in a dangerous decline.
The average temperature in the last 15 years has been the highest ever recorded.
There may be at least 20 million climate refuges by 2050.
It is too late to be a pessimist –
What is needed?
Selective Logging. (only 1 tree is cut per hectare and of different varieties)
Mandatory Trade Rules; promote cottage industries.
Education & Awareness – inexhaustible resources.
If meat production doesn’t take away all the grains, it would be sufficient to feed the world.
Harmony between human and nature should no longer be an exception but a rule.
Measures taken –
Germany has set up solar panels for producing energy.
A prototype model has been set up where industries would release CO2 into the soil instead of the atmosphere. Whether this works, we would have to wait and watch.
Denmark produces 20% of its energy through Wind Farms.
USA, India, Germany, China and Spain are the largest investors in Renewable Energy.
Can humans not imitate plants and capture sun’s energy? If solar panels are set up in the vast expanse of the desert lands, the Sun can help produce energy in 1 hour what the world consumes in 1 year.
Costa Rica has cut down its expenditure on army and is promoting Eco-tourism.
Gabon does selective logging and gives time for the cut species to regenerate.
Countries are tapping into Geothermal and Wave energy.
What’s important is not what’s gone but what remains. We still have half of the world’s resources – forests, glaciers, lakes, rivers..
We have the power to change. What are we waiting for? It’s up to us to write what happens next – together.