Planet Earth Nature and Natural Disasters Part 4 Pollution and More

About planet Earth, nature, and and natural disasters, problems of pollution, sun energy uses and limits of photosynthesis.

TROUBLE ON EARTH

All energy comes from the sun, but very little of the available supply is used by the earth's photosynthetic organisms. Those in a typical freshwater lake, if assembled on the surface, would from a thick green film only 1/4 of a millimeter thick. On land, the film would be thinner, and at sea infinitely more so. Thus, photosynthesis, as presently performed by nature, is a remarkably limited system.

Dr. Michael Neushul, a University of California botanist, has suggested that we will eventually convert energy from the sun--in special "light" factories--directly into food energy, thus bypassing both agricultural fields and cattle ranches, which will presumably revert to their pre-man place in the "natural" balanced ecosystems of wild nature. We may also expect to create thermonuclear fusion on earth, just as the sun does, via the miracle of laser-induced implosion. The result, scientist Edward Teller says, "will profoundly change our views on how man and matter can interact." Homo habilis, the inventor, is evidently about to produce numerous answers to the 1970s' needs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned, in February, 1973, that air pollution causes 50% of the illnesses and deaths due to bronchitis, 25% of all lung cancers, 25% of all lung diseases other than bronchitis, and 10% of cardiovascular diseases. "From 60% to 85% of most city smog is caused by man's best friend, the effusive automobile," warned Robert and Leona Train Rienow in 1967.

Paris, France, began to drink an eau nouveau (new water) created by treating the filthy Seine waters with ozone. By 1973, ozone treatment was creating a supply of bright, clean drinking water in cities around the globe. As for purifying the lakes and seas, the Metro-politan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago is presently treating sewage sludge to turn it into liquid fertilizer, and then fertilizing strip-mined land that had previously been "as dead as the surface of the moon."

The future of humankind is fraught with countless perils, created by both nature and man. But Homo habilis is hard at work discovering the answers needed to survive in an always difficult world.

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