The Drought

Everybody knows that it is only a matter of time until we are all going to be using water meters to measure and to pay for how much water we use.

Why? Because much of it is being wasted.

We’re now hearing that Mars has dried up water canals but now does not even traces of water. It’s a hard, dried up, red rock that probably at one time contained life but contains no life. What happened?

And the main difference between Mars and Earth? Our atmosphere which protects the Earth from solar radiation and becoming another Mars.

How could the Earth’s fragile atmosphere not be affected by pumping in billions of tons of toxic pollutants into it?

We all know that water is one of the most important resources on the planet and it sustains us but what is water? When it’s not polluted, water is a colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms. Water is the most abundant compound on Earth’s surface, covering about 70 percent of the planet. In nature, water exists in liquid, solid, and gaseous states.

Water is an absolute necessity for any life form but when water is polluted, it can carry all sorts of toxic chemicals which much of it does today and what it is polluted with can cause all sorts of illnesses and even death.

Since we know all this why have we been taking water for granted and wasting and polluting most of the water on the planet?

Is it just human nature or has water just misused as a commodity? Probably both but now that we’re having the worst drought since we began keeping records in 1905, it’s obvious we’re going to have to change our habits and be much more careful about how we use our water supply — and for that matter we’re going to have to be much more careful how we use many of our planet’s natural resources.

Just about every scientist in the world says that climate change is happening and that it is caused by human beings. That is everybody except for the people who benefit from keeping things the way they are. Namely Big Business who profit from it and the few scientists and people who are being paid by them to disagree.

They can deny it all they want but there is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities.

While much remains to be learned, the core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of serious scientific debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.” — The United States National Research Council

There is a lot of evidence and examples of climatic change including the fact that oceans are rising, storms are becoming much more intense including hurricanes and tornados and winters are much colder and summer is much hotter, more volcanic eruptions, glaciers are shrinking, different species of animals are effected by it including beetles killing millions of trees and because of that there are more intense wildfires.

So what are we doing about it? It’s easier to say what we’re not doing about it. We’re still cutting down millions of acres of trees and still spewing out billions of tons of air pollutants that consists of chemicals or particles in the air that can harm the health of humans, animals, and plants. It also damages buildings. Pollutants in the air take many forms. They can be gases, solid particles, or liquid droplets.

Pollution enters the Earth’s atmosphere in many different ways. Most air pollution is created by people, taking the form of emissions from factories, cars, planes, or aerosol cans. Second-hand cigarette smoke is also considered air pollution. These man-made sources of pollution are called anthropogenic sources.

People experience a wide range of health effects from being exposed to air pollution. Effects can be broken down into short-term effects and long-term effects.

Short-term effects, which are temporary, include illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis. They also include discomfort such as irritation to the nose, throat, eyes, or skin. Air pollution can also cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Bad smells made by factories, garbage, or sewer systems are considered air pollution, too. These odors are less serious but still unpleasant.

Long-term effects of air pollution can last for years or for an entire lifetime. They can even lead to a person’s death. Long-term health effects from air pollution include heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases such as emphysema. Air pollution can also cause long-term damage to people’s nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs. Some scientists suspect air pollutants cause birth defects. Nearly 2.5 million people die worldwide each year from the effects of outdoor or indoor air pollution.

People react differently to different types of air pollution. Young children and older adults, whose immune systems tend to be weaker, are often more sensitive to pollution. Conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and lung disease can be made worse by exposure to air pollution. The length of exposure and amount and type of pollutants are also factors.

Global warming is an environmental phenomenon caused by natural and anthropogenic air pollution. It refers to rising air and ocean temperatures around the world. This temperature rise is at least partially caused by an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases trap heat energy in the Earths atmosphere. (Usually, more of Earths heat escapes into space.)

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has had the biggest effect on global warming. Carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels (coal, gasoline, and natural gas). Humans have come to rely on fossil fuels to power cars and planes, heat homes, and run factories. Doing these things pollutes the air with carbon dioxide.

Other greenhouse gases emitted by natural and artificial sources also include methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Methane is a major emission from coal plants and agricultural processes. Nitrous oxide is a common emission from industrial factories, agriculture, and the burning of fossil fuels in cars. Fluorinated gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons, are emitted by industry. Fluorinated gases are often used instead of gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). CFCs have been outlawed in many places because they deplete the ozone layer.

Anybody can take steps to reduce air pollution. Millions of people every day make simple changes in their lives to do this. Taking public transportation instead of driving a car, or riding a bike instead of traveling in carbon dioxide-emitting vehicles are a couple of ways to reduce air pollution. Avoiding aerosol cans, recycling yard trimmings instead of burning them, and not smoking cigarettes are others.

My question is; Is it worth what we’re benefiting from doing things the way we’ve been doing things (and sacrificing our environment as well our health and our lives) or is it time that we start doing things differently and protecting the planet that sustains us?

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About Sr Felipe

I grew up in East LA, was drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam as a medic with the 1st Cav from 1966-1967. I survived that, came back to LA, went to East LA College and Cal State LA, became a social worker in Ventura, CA and moved up to Chico, CA in 1975. I started Sr Felipe's Salsas making organic salsa, enchilada, BBQ and pasta sauce that was available in natural food stores nationwide from 1980-2005. I've been doing a radio show on KZFR, Chico, 90.1 FM every Tuesday from 7:30-10:00 PM streamed live on where I play oldies from the 50s & 60s, doo-wop, Latin, folk, country and Gospel music and interview interesting people in the community. For the past three years I've been teaching beginning guitar through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through Chico State University.
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