The ultimate GM grass

Growth in artificial lawns poses threat to British wildlife

Growing trend to lay fake lawns instead of real grass causes loss of habitat for wildlife and creates waste that will never biodegrade

Mathew Frith, director of conservation at the London Wildlife Trust, said: “You are using fossil fuels to make it, so there is a carbon impact there, you have to remove a significant amount of soil to lay it so you are reducing the direct and indirect porosity of the soil, you are removing habitat which a wide range of species are dependent on and at the end of its life this is a non-biodegradable product which ultimately goes back into landfill. So yes we are concerned at its proliferation.”

And if it does not get into landfill it quickly gets to the Arctic. We destroy land, air and sea creatures. As our life support goes so will we.

Plastic waste dumped in UK seas ‘carried to Arctic within two years’

Previous research estimated that at least 1tn pieces of plastic had been frozen into the Arctic ice over past decades, making it a major global sink for plastic pollution, many times more concentrated than the well-known great Pacific garbage patch. With global warming expected to melt the entire ice cap eventually, that plastic would be released, making the pollution problem even worse.

There is fast-growing evidence of direct harm to animals that eat plastics, including young fish starving, oysters stopping reproduction and birds being weighed down, van Sebille said. Furthermore chemicals in the plastic or absorbed by them add to the harm, he said: “The small pieces of plastic become very potent pills, full of toxic chemicals.”

It’s those humans again

People often focus on the atmospheric global warming, but that’s not all.

Human-caused Indo-Pacific warm pool expansion

The Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) has warmed and grown substantially during the past century. The IPWP is Earth’s largest region of warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs), has the highest rainfall, and is fundamental to global atmospheric circulation and hydrological cycle. The region has also experienced the world’s highest rates of sea-level rise in recent decades, indicating large increases in ocean heat content and leading to substantial impacts on small island states in the region.

Jetexit

The upper atmospheric Jet Streams used to stay confined to the North or South hemisphere. Not anymore, now there is cross over. We may lose our seasons and the stability needed by plants and animals to survive. Yet, we are still playing political games.

Wrecked Jet Stream Now Runs From Pole-to-Pole

All these observations combined point to a very serious concern that Polar warming is flattening the atmospheric slope from Equator to Pole to such an extent that an increasing violation of the Hemisphere to Hemisphere seasonal dividing line may be a new climate change related trend. And that’s a kind of weather weirding that we are not at all really prepared to deal with.

pH

Yet again, another surprise from rising CO2. This will drastically affect sea creatures, and to our detriment.

Thanks to CO2 emissions, the smell of the sea is changing

Humans’ effect on the chemistry of oceans is already measurable; the CO2 we have emitted since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has caused the world’s oceans to drop from a pH of 8.2 to 8.1.

Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but the pH scale is logarithmic, so this actually means the oceans are 30% more acidic now than they were 200 years ago. If things carry on as they are, we can expect the oceans to be 150% more acidic by the end of the century, reaching pH 7.7.

As a consequence, the oceans of the near future may well smell very different from those of today, and marine eco-systems may not have time to adapt to its new scent.

Limits to growth

Who, not in the trade, would have thought there was not enough sand. This is another issue that needs global cooperation.

The World’s Disappearing Sand

According to the United Nations Environment Program, in 2012 alone the world used enough concrete to build a wall 89 feet high and 89 feet wide around the Equator. From 2011 to 2013, China used more cement than the United States used in the entire 20th century.

It once seemed as if the planet had such boundless supplies of oil, water, trees and land that we didn’t need to worry about them. But of course, we’re learning the hard way that none of those things are infinite, and the price we’ve paid so far for using them is going up fast.

We can do it

There is a huge amount of plastics in the oceans. To clean it up seems impossible given that the oceans cover 70% of the earths surface. Yet here is a scheme being researched to start that clean up.

Dutch prototype clean-up boom brings Pacific plastics solution a step closer

World’s largest ocean cleanup operation one step closer to launch

We need a similar plan for R&D to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

Who would have thought?

Synthetic fibers seem to answer many problems, strong & long lasting, low cost, and easy to wash. Now we find a serious problem. The bigger message is not to be so certain that new technologies are safe in the longer term even if there are no short term problems and no future problems can be envisaged.

How your clothes are poisoning our oceans and food supply

In a groundbreaking 2011 paper, Mark Browne, now a senior research associate at the University of New South Wales, Australia, found that microfibers made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world.

Mason said her concern is not necessarily with the plastic fibers themselves, but with their ability to absorb persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and to concentrate them in animals’ tissues.


Others suggest a filter on home washing machines. More than 4,500 fibers can be released per gram of clothing per wash, according to preliminary data from the Plastic Soup Foundation.

But the washing machine industry is not yet ready to act. Jill Notini, vice president of communications and marketing for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, said the washing machine could very well be a source of microfiber debris, but that the proposed solutions are impractical.

Climate change is an emergency today

Here is a good summary of the current situation:

Shattered records show climate change is an emergency today

Let’s have the Rush for Renewables. This is the real WWIII and it really is the whole world’s biosphere. Let’s redirect resources into R&D of energy production that does not emit CO2; energy from fossil fuels is so 19th century. Let’s develop technologies and ways of living that use less energy anyway.