When looking at the bigger picture, it sure seems like there are more “environmental downs” than “ups” at the moment (2019). Sure, there have been several small victories recently, but overall, our hyper-consumerist^ ways are still driving us on a highway to hell.
Nine years after such information was widely available, I finally got to understand just how insanely terrible sea shipping is for our planet. Consider that a single massive cargo ship puts out more cancer and asthma-causing pollutants than 50 million cars:
This is because these ships use a very dirty type of fuel. And there are a lot^ of cargo ships on Earth. Not all of them may be as massive as the monstrous OOCL Hong Kong^, but consider that even back in 2009, just 16 of the world’s biggest ships emitted more pollution than all of the cars on the planet combined^. And while vehicle pollution has started to improve thanks to more efficient engines and electrical cars, cargo ship pollution is almost completely unregulated and still running amok.
I remember being surprised to hear how much fuel^ an airplane uses. Then again, turns out airplanes are actually pretty efficient^ compared to a car transporting less than 3 people. In any case, all my surprise regarding airplane fuel has now been completely snuffed out by the sea of jaw-drop I’m drowning in after getting the facts on cargo ships.
And here we are thinking buying a Tesla will save the world. No. Nothing short of fully-committed activism will prevent the disastrous ecosystem changes that might will put future generations at great risk.
Surf’s up (pun not intended)! A 23.8 meters high wave was recorded in the Southern hemisphere. For reference, that’s about as high as a 6-stories building. And it wasn’t from a tsunami. Just good ol’ mother Earth reacting to global warming:
And all this nicely leads to…
Ocean Heat Buildup
This is a phenomenon which has long shadowed the true extent of global warming, because the planetary ocean gives our world a certain amount of thermal inertia.
As pointed in the article above, the research has seen a few corrections. Even so, there are several other studies that ocean heat buildup is a major problem, one that is seriously underestimated:
That solar panel problem few people talk about
“In November 2016, the Environment Ministry of Japan warned that the country will produce 800,000 tons of solar waste by 2040, and it can’t yet handle those volumes. That same year, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimated that there were already 250,000 metric tons of solar panel waste worldwide and that this number would grow to 78 million by 2050.”
How about cleaning the atmosphere?
Is global warming worrying you? Do you think we’ve run out of time? Well, here’s some good news. If we, as a species, would for once work together, we could actually achieve negative carbon emissions. This would require a massive economic shift, but it is already within our technological reach:
We can switch technologies all we want, but unless we don’t switch (off) our way of (consumerist^) life, the ecosystem will suffer some catastrophic changes in the next decades.
Here’s a soundtrack for all that…