Saving the Earth

I don’t know how else to get this important information out to the world.  These excerpts are from a long article in Kosmos online journal.  This whole concept is of overwhelming importance to me because the degradation of the Earth and the loss of species is something that periodically leads me into deep despair.

From Green Gold by John T Liu

When a region is de-vegetated—whether from greed or ignorance or both—many natural evolutionary processes are altered, causing several measurable and predictable outcomes. It is simply cause and effect. All living matter on the Earth is part of a web of life that has taken a lifeless molten rock surrounded by what for us are poisonous gases, and over enormous time, through continuous photosynthesis, transformed it into a beautiful planetary garden with an oxygenated atmosphere, a freshwater system, rich fertile soils, and amazing biodiversity. My observations and the results of numerous studies show that when you lose the vegetative cover, respiration through photosynthesis is reduced; the surface temperature and evaporation rates massively increase, causing spiraling negative feedback loops that can and do destroy functional ecosystems. When these negative trends continue for thousands of years, you end up with conditions very similar to those in the Sinai.

Ties learned from Professor Millán that thermal updrafts caused by very high temperatures on de-vegetated landscapes drive moist air high into the atmosphere where it cannot rain, but instead becomes an even more serious greenhouse gas than CO2. As one looks closely, one begins to see how the Sinai de-vegetation over time led to dehydration of the biome and attendant higher surface temperatures that caused an inversion in wind direction. These extremely high temperatures caused by human beings de-vegetating this specific region reversed the wind, which began to pull moisture-laden air to the south. If you play a scenario forward from 7000 years ago of a vacuum pulling moist air out of North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, the end result is exactly what we have right now. It seems to me that what Ties and his team saw is very probably the cause of desertification in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

It is important to note that religious teachings and evolutionary science-based analysis both posit that we humans emerged in Paradise. The Earth provides us with all that is needed for life to flourish. When studying how this came about, the best evidence we have suggests that the Earth formed around 4.5 billion years ago (give or take 100 million), when cosmic dust orbiting the Sun solidified into a molten rock surrounded by what for us are poisonous gases. As the crust of the planet cooled, microbial life emerged and began to differentiate. The planet’s violent crucible eventually cooled enough for photosynthetic living beings over prodigious time to transform the Earth into a beautiful garden with an oxygenated atmosphere, a freshwater system, fertile living soils, and wonderful biodiversity.

Looking back and studying the ruins of once great civilizations, we may be forgiven for thinking that our history is long. However, in relation to geological and/or evolutionary time, human history is quite sudden, short, and brutal. Over what little history we humans do have, it is clear that we often behaved as a murderous gang, terribly mistreating each other and massively changing Earth systems in quite dangerous ways. History is often taught as if those who most successfully brutalized, killed, and enslaved others were somehow the winners. From another perspective, it seems obvious that in violence and war, there are no winners. We all lose.

As the design team at DEME went further with an emerging vision of what was possible in terms of ecological restoration using the existing industrial capacity combined with ecological understanding, the corporation began to contemplate whether its future might be very different than its past. Looking at the options—extraction, the petroleum industry, the military-industrial complex, and just large engineering in general—one could consider this industry as archaic megafauna that is not really suited to a new reality that is more caring, egalitarian, and sustainable.

But perhaps we need to look again. What if this capacity to create change at enormous scale tempered by consciousness and mutual benefit was exactly what was needed? What if this power could be channeled toward regenerating degraded landscapes? Suddenly, part of the company began to see its future could be one that regenerates natural systems instead of one that destroys them. This change in intention is central to the evolutionary step that human civilization is called to take at this time. This type of thinking could provide a pathway for this and other companies to create a new holistic, sustainable industrial reality for the future.

Functional living ecosystems are formed of diverse life forms in symbiosis. It stands to reason that if human systems seek to emulate natural ones, that these will be extremely complex, decentralized, and interactive. The initial design for the Sinai is a very good start that immediately recognizes relationships between organic material and hydrology, temperature differentials and wind speed, direction and altitude, microbiological interactions with geological minerals, organic growth of vegetation and soils, and the importance of respiration of plants and animals in the regulation of weather and climate.

Several of the concepts in the Weather Makers thesis are groundbreaking. The Weather Research and Forecast modeling suggesting that fundamental shifts in wind patterns could be brought about by restoration of the entire Sinai is of huge importance. The strategic use of marine sediments on land combined with microbial and fungal inoculation has very large potential for the protection of coastal regions. Creating vast numbers of meaningful jobs for marginalized people has the potential to reduce instability and promote peace. The overall intention of the project has the potential to show the global industrial complex how to pursue regenerative and peaceful pursuits, thus ending pollution and degradation—making holistic engineering central to the future of human civilization.

We have grown so used to believing that things we produce, buy, and sell are the basis of the economy, it is hard to imagine that actually the wind, rain, and air are more valuable. Let us take a deep breath and ask if we are about to destroy our civilization, what is most precious? In a situation where climate change threatens our existence, what do we think is the value of natural climate regulation?

Following this thesis is like seeking the Holy Grail. The vision that we can mend our collective broken heart and live again in the garden is beautiful and compelling. If this is even remotely possible, we are obligated to take on the challenge.

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