Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Humanity and global warming

Humans are the black swans of earth's history. Global Warming is a cyclical phenomena (It isn't the first time that earth is heating up due to the natural green house effect), yet humans have managed to achieve that in less than 200 years what earlier would take thousands of years, taking away the time for adaptation for all other species. No species in recorded history (that humanity is aware of) could do so much damage, in so small a time.

Quantifying the impact of humanity on global warming in the world

The UN estimated that of the over 8.7 million total plant and animal species, there are over 1 million species which are at risk of extinction. All of that impact is caused by the activities of just 1 species: Homo Sapiens.

Imagine 1 man wiping off over a tenth of the living population. Does Genghis Khan and his army come to mind?
Imagine 1 man wiping off millions. Does Adolf Hitler  and his Nazis come to mind?

That is what humanity as a single species is brutally doing to the other species of planet earth.

Some analogies to understand the standing of humanity in th world

Humans have an estimated Population of 7.57 billion today across the world.
Assuming an average mass of 62 kg per human (as per wikipedia), the total mass of humanity would be = 7.57bn *62kg = 469 billion kg

The density of human body is close to that of water, (70% of human body is anyway water). Hence we can approximate that 1 kg of human mass is equal to 1 Litre of water.
So the combined volume of all humanity = 469 billion litre = 469 * 10**9 * 0.001 m3 = 0.469 km3.

In comparison, the volume of the black sea is 547,000 km3, and the total volume of water on planet earth is 1.386 billion km3.

So in essence, humanity is not even one in a millionth mass of the black sea, and not even one in a billionth mass of the waters in all the seas, and yet one has to wonder at the damage we are doing.

Any solutions?

Microplastics are everywhere - its choking the life out of many of the larger animal species. Humanity as just one species is enough to destroy life for all other species on the planet. The fight against global warming is a loosing war. Already islands are submerging, the coastlines are receding, climate patterns are changing world over with the heatwaves in Europe, polar vortex in US, rains are becoming erratic with many parts of India flooded due to heavy concentration of rain.

For all their talent, humanity is yet to invent a time machine which could allow us to go back in the past, and make better sense prevail.

No matter how much or in which ways humanity reacts, much will depend on how Planet earth will react. Weather patterns today are chaotic enough to not be predictable by even many advanced computer simulations. Rains, winds, heatwaves, snowfalls, clouds - these are directly going to impact global food security in the years to come, with ripple effects on many other industries such as travel, infrastructure, communications and energy security.

Paris summit of 2015 did try to take us on a path to control (and later remedy) the global warming, but with the withdrawal of US in 2018, its agenda has hit a roadblock now. It is high time the leading nations of the world came together to solve the menace of global warming, overcoming their petty differences, as otherwise, there soon might be no conceivable world to squabble over.

1 comment:

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