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State of the Planet

Johnny Reb

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Now, now, I have returned after a somewhat lenghtly absence.



You might remember me from my topics on greatest and worse Presidents in the United States.



Today I bring another topic to these boards. One that is dated, but not that dated.



It appeared in the September issue of National Geographic.



Here we go...

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Here is our weblink:





I will divide this up according to how National Geographic does on their website.



7 Scientists



Ten years ago representatives from more than 178 nations convened in Rio de Janeiro to devise a plan to protect the world?s resources. Now in a follow-up in Johannesburg, world leaders, scientists, and activists are sizing up what, if anything, has changed. National Geographic asked seven scientists to weigh in on the condition of the planet. They pointed out that people have become more aware of Earth?s health, but there has been no real slow-down in habitat destruction and the use of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming. Each year in the United States alone plowing causes two billion tons of topsoil to erode into rivers and flow into the Gulf of Mexico. And greenhouse gases warm the oceans and wreak havoc on marine ecosystems, doing further harm to distant oceans as waters move and mix globally. If that isn?t bad enough, every day we are exposed to synthetic chemicals that interfere with development and reproduction in wildlife and humans.

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7 Signs of Progress



We are making headway. More of the world is thinking green as governments and industries look for ways to reduce emissions that harm air and water quality.


? Japan, the United States, and countries throughout Europe are moving full throttle toward eliminating vehicle emissions. They?re introducing such innovations as gasoline-electric hybrid cars, automobiles powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that emits pure drinkable water, and the Segway Human Transporter, which uses gyroscope-balanced electric energy for individual mobility.


? Air and water quality are further improved as nations work to reduce acid rain by lowering emissions of sulfur dioxide released from coal-fired power plants. Catalytic converters and cleaner fuels in cars are lowering the levels of nitrogen oxides.


? Countries are also making progress in the ban or strict control of the use of 12 carbon-based chlorinated chemicals, including chlordane, DDT, and PCBs.


? More than a nod is being given to other aspects of the environment. Governments?particularly in the developing world?are promoting ecotourism.


? Corporations are recycling nonhazardous waste as they move to construct facilities with such energy-saving features as solar roof tiles, composting toilets, and cisterns that collect rainwater.

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7 Setbacks



Some areas have gone from bad to worse. This past January was the warmest on record, with an average global temperature of 54.9 degrees F (13 degrees C).


? Despite a growing consciousness of how the burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming?raising sea levels and triggering violent weather?oil consumption increased 14 percent in the 1990s and now contributes 40 percent of all carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year. To complicate the problem, two-thirds of the world?s oil reserves lie in the politically unstable Persian Gulf region, which jeopardizes access.


? Drained for agriculture, development, and dams, wetlands?which help purify the air and provide wildlife habitat?have decreased by an estimated 50 percent in the past century.


? The number of large dams worldwide has increased from 5,000 in 1950 to 45,000 in 2000. These dams alter the flow of rivers, inhibit the migration of fish, and sometimes?as in the case of the Rio Grande?cause rivers to run dry in places.


? Oceans have lost 27 percent of their coral reefs in the past 50 years. Part of the problem occurs during bleaching, when increased solar radiation and warmer water causes algae inside coral polyps to be expelled. Humans play a direct role in the further destruction of coral reefs with the use of explosives and cyanide to kill and collect fish around the reefs.


? Oceans are also losing fish faster than they can be replaced. New technologies lead to overfishing and the rapid decline of populations such as bluefin tuna, groupers, and cod. Lower prices of fish at the market add to the damage by masking the short supply and preventing cutbacks in consumption.


? Finally, the problem of long-term storage for nuclear waste as well as the risk of leakage pose a threat to people across the globe. The proposed storage location at Yucca Mountain in Nevada may or may not prove effective.

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7 Species on the Brink



Of all the endangered species on the planet, the caf? marron, Spix?s macaw, Kihansi spray toad, American burying beetle, Sumatran rhinoceros, three-striped box turtle, and vaquita could be considered among those in the gravest condition. Sociobiologist E. O. Wilson predicts that if we don?t slow our consumption of natural resources, we?ll extinguish half the species of plants and animals by the end of the 21st century.


? The caf? marron, a member of the coffee family native to Rodrigues Island in Mauritius, had dwindled down to one survivor in the 1980s. That survivor, as well as its propagated cuttings, are male, making it impossible for the species to reproduce.


? Across the ocean in Brazil, researchers question the fate of another lone survivor. A male Spix?s macaw was last seen in its native woodland in October 2000. Virtually all of the 60 or so of its captive kin are privately owned, vestiges of what was once a thriving trade of their species.


? In Tanzania the tiny Kihansi spray toad hangs on in one of the most restricted ranges on the planet. A hydropower project dried up 95 percent of the toad?s habitat, making captive breeding in the U.S. its only chance for survival.


? Fragmented habitat and competition for carrion from foxes, raccoons, and skunks are severely reducing the populations of the American burying beetle, which plays a role in recycling decaying animals back into the ecosystem.


? In parts of Asia the demands of traditional medicine adversely affect populations of the Sumatran rhinoceros and the three-striped box turtle. The first is falling victim to poachers who sell its prized horns. The Chinese value the turtle?s flesh not only for its taste but also because of its purported cancer-curing properties.


? And little hope remains for the vaquita, a rare porpoise that lives in the northern end of the Gulf of California. Many have been snared by gill and trawl nets with only a few hundred surviving. Researchers have had no success at breeding or keeping them in captivity.

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7 Sanctuaries



Conservation areas across the globe offer sanctuaries for wildlife whose habitat might otherwise be dwindling.


? Kruger National Park in South Africa covers 7,523 square miles (19,500 square kilometers) and harbors 147 species of mammals. It may soon become part of a tri-country reserve called the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, with portions in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.


? Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park spans two atolls in the Philippines, with 128 square miles (332 square kilometers) of marine biodiversity. All forms of fishing are illegal, allowing many marine stocks a place to recover.


? Prespa Park is the result of an agreement between the governments of Albania, Greece, and Macedonia to protect wetlands, breeding grounds for 160 bird species, and two of Europe?s oldest lakes.


? Bahuaja-Sonene National Park in Amazonian Peru has put 2.7 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest off-limits to logging and protects that land from hunting and trapping as well. The park provides a safe habitat for 200 mammal species, 900 bird species, and 1,200 butterfly species.


? Nahanni National Park Reserve covers 1,840 square miles (4,800 square kilometers) of untouched roadless land in Canada. Within its boundaries lie the Nahanni River Gorge and the 302-foot (92-meter) Virginia Falls, twice the height of Niagara Falls.


? Royal Chitwan National Park in the foothills of Nepal?s Himalaya protects more than 50 species of mammals?including Indian rhinoceroses and Bengal tigers?both of which have increased in number since the park?s founding in 1973.


? The Goualougo Triangle is a region of Africa?s Republic of the Congo where timber companies are showing their ability to preserve ecological capital. Last year Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, a logging concession, turned over more than a hundred square miles (260 square kilometers) of preserved rain forest, home to some of the world?s highest densities of gorillas and chimpanzees.

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Closing Thoughts



Taking progress and problems into account, the scientists give their final word on the state of the planet.


? E. O. Wilson, sociobiologist, Harvard University ? The clearing of tropical forests has not slowed in the past ten years and threatens to destroy massive amounts of habitat. If awareness of the problem doesn?t facilitate change, nothing will.


? Jane Lubchenco, marine ecologist, Oregon State University ? Only when ecosystem services such as climate regulation, the cleansing of air and water, and the creation of fertile soils are lost will we realize their true value.


? Sherry Rowland, atmospheric chemist, University of California, Irvine ? A dramatic climate change may be required to focus people?s attention on the planet?s health.


? Wes Jackson, crop geneticist, The Land Institute ? Agriculture and the need to feed growing numbers of people has a direct impact on the oceans. If we don?t so something about agriculture, the wilderness as well as the oceans are doomed.


? Richard Barber, oceanographer, Duke University ? The most important thing average citizens can do is to tell our leaders we want answers. Our government has demystified hurricanes by showing how they occur and predicting when they will develop. That has allowed us to respond in enough time to reduce suffering. What we need now is the same kind of demystification of climate change.


? Theo Colborn, zoologist, World Wildlife Fund ? Enough evidence exists to prove that petroleum-derived chemicals can enter the womb and hinder the development of the brain, immune system, and reproductive system.


? Hal Mooney, environmental biologist, Stanford University ? One person or a small group can awaken the public to the importance of conservation issues, but scientists must make their findings clear and compelling to the general public and policymakers in order for change to occur.

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I want to say a few words before any type of discussion begins, and I really do hope discussion can follow because no matter what your stance on the environment, on this world. Whether it be one of a positive slant, negative one or a nuetral one, it is important to be aware of what is going on here on Earth. Why? Because we all live here. We are all citizens not only of the United States but also of this place called Earth. We all must work together to make sure that some type of future exists for all of us to survive.


I encourage all to read this, mainly due to the fact that I find it to be fairly non-biased, offereing both positive and negative events taking place.



I also encouage all to let their feelings known and present evidence to back up your arguement. The only worse thing than a misinformed opinion is no opinion, so I encourage all to at least read and hopefully participate.






Johnny Reb.

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There have been a number of things done that has helped the environment.




However for everything done positively, there has been one that has harmed.




But perhaps the thing that has been worst is the vast majority of people not caring.




That itself is extremely sad and unfortunate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are environmental areas all over the country that people would love to see preserved.



Take the traditional John Muir stance.



Then there is the Giffort Pinchot stance of acting in a conservationist manner, using the resources for the betterment of mankind. There are many solutions available where we can enjoy modern convienences, while also protecting the environment.


It is something that everyone should take seriously. Why? Because if we take the stance that my children will jsut deal with the problem, it will only progressively get worse, and the world we leave behind for our kids will be much worse.


I was always told this little saying when going on retreats back in the day.


Leave the campsite in a better condition than when you got here.


We should take this same stance with the environment.


I am bringing this topic back to the front for all to read and participate in this subject of upmost importance.

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  • 3 months later...

I seem to recall there being a topic on global warming at one time, but for the life of me I cannot find it.



Here is a recent CNN article. Do we still believe it does not in fact exist? Shouldnt we be working on a potential solution instead of continuing to aruge whether it exists or not?





Study: Glaciers melting faster, changing sea level


WASHINGTON (AP) --Melting of glaciers in the Patagonian ice fields of southern Argentina and Chile has doubled in recent years, caused by higher temperatures, lower snowfall and a more rapid breaking of icebergs, a study suggests.


Using satellites from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Defense Department, researchers measured the loss from two ice fields on the southern tip of South America and found that the rate of melting doubled from 1995 to 2000 when compared with earlier measurements.


A report on the findings appear Friday in the journal Science.


The two ice fields cover a total of 6,600 square miles and contain 63 glaciers. Some dump their water into the ocean, while others flow into high lakes.


Researchers estimated that the glaciers are losing the equivalent of 10 cubic miles of ice every year now. This is enough to annually raise the world's sea level by about four-one thousandths of an inch, the scientists calculated.


This means that the mountain glaciers in Patagonia are contributing an unusually large amount of water to the sea when compared with some much larger ice fields, the researchers said.


Alaska, for instance, has five times more ice than Patagonia. Yet, the melt off from Patagonia is almost a third as much as the melt off from Alaska's mountain glaciers.


The researchers concluded that the Patagonia ice is melting faster now due to warmer air temperatures, a decrease in precipitation and a more rapid breaking of pieces of icebergs into the ocean, known as calving.


The study was conducted by Eric Rignot of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California; Andres Rivera of the University of Chile in Santiago, and Gino Casassa of the Center of Scientific Studies in Valdivia, Chile.

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  • 1 month later...

Global warming is on the front page, I have the last reply.


"Some areas have gone from bad to worse. This past January was the warmest on record, with an average global temperature of 54.9 degrees F (13 degrees C)."


However, that doesn't correlate with the shrinking ozone hole. In fact, that's a negative correlation! That means these scientist like to make assumptions they know nothing about, or not enough.


Now, I'm no gas burning, tree chopping anti0conservationist. I just think this global warming stuff is a bit out of hand. I have reasonable reasons to doubt what I am being told.

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um, what coorelation does global warming necessarily have to do with the ozone hole.


Just because the ozone hole is shrinking does not mean that there is no global warming. Granted there is some natural causes to this global warming, but to think that man has done nothing to help the causes is just not very smart.


And Global Warming does not only consist of warmer temperatures. Its more extreme weather occurances in general, for one.

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um, what coorelation does global warming necessarily have to do with the ozone hole.


Just because the ozone hole is shrinking does not mean that there is no global warming. Granted there is some natural causes to this global warming, but to think that man has done nothing to help the causes is just not very smart.


And Global Warming does not only consist of warmer temperatures. Its more extreme weather occurances in general, for one.

Yes, and some site forest fires as evidence of global warming, and that is simply not true.


Doesn't global warming supposedly occur because of the increased radiation that makes it through holes in the ozone?

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Let me start by addressing Global Warming. If you want to believe the 5% of scientists that say man has no affect on global warming than that is your choice. Let me start by giving just a couple of sources showing that global warming indeed is caused in part by human activity.





And for more information in general just visit their home page which is at www.pewclimate.org


The earth is warming. Temperatures at the Earth?s surface increased by an estimated 1?F (0.6?C) over the 20th century. The 1990's were the hottest decade of the entire century; perhaps even the millennium, and 1998, 2001, and 2002 were three of the hottest years ever recorded.


The growing scientific consensus is that this warming is largely the result of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities including industrial processes, fossil fuel combustion, and changes in land use, such as deforestation. Projections of future warming suggest a global increase of 2.5?F (1.4?C) to 10.4?F (5.8?C) by 2100, with warming in the United States expected to be even higher. In addition to warming, increases in sea level and changes in precipitation, including more frequent floods and droughts, are likely. These changes, over time, are referred to broadly as "climate change".


Unaddressed, climate change will have significant impacts across the United States and around the world. For instance, sea-level rise will add to stresses coastal communities are already facing, including erosion, storms, and pressures from development. In the arid and semi-arid western United States, relatively modest changes in precipitation can have large impacts on already limited water supplies. Terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems of the United States are particularly sensitive to climate change, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services such as fisheries and recreation. Even human health may be threatened as heat waves, extreme weather, and vector-borne diseases become more prevalent.


While some of the effects of climate change may be positive, such as longer growing seasons in the northern United States and Canada that increase productivity of agriculture and forests, these positive impacts are unlikely to be sustained as the globe continues to warm. Furthermore, even while the nation as a whole benefits, certain regions or sectors, such as the southern United States, may suffer. Similarly, many developing countries are even more vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and less able to adapt. As nations continue to grow more interdependent, the United States may not be immune from impacts experienced elsewhere.


Most projections of future impacts do not address what could happen if warming continues beyond 2100, which is inevitable if steps to reduce emissions are not taken, or if the rate of change accelerates. Furthermore, the longer warming persists and the greater its magnitude, the greater the risk of climate ?surprises? such as abrupt or catastrophic changes in the global climate.


Even if we are able to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, some further warming is unavoidable. We must plan and take action now to adapt to the changes we will face as our climate changes.


This section of our site provides a basic primer on climate change, including facts and figures about global warming, a report on the science of climate change, frequently asked questions, a glossary of terms, and other online resources.


For more detailed information on a variety of climate change issues, including the economics of global warming, environmental impacts, potential solutions, policy implications and international issues, please see the Global Warming In Depth section of this site.

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And one more.








We hear the term ?greenhouse gas? a lot?but what is it? Humans add various gases to the earth?s atmosphere every day; these gases (known as ?greenhouse gases?) consist primarily of carbon dioxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide, and methane, and tend to warm the earth. Trees help counter greenhouse gas production during photosynthesis, by taking in carbon dioxide as waste material and producing oxygen, which of course we all need to survive. Scientists predict that the daily addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, combined with daily removal of large portions of the world?s forests, will raise the earth?s average temperature by several degrees in the next century. This in turn will raise the level of the sea and potentially create significant changes in weather patterns on a global scale. As we move into the future, many climatologists expect that most of the United States will warm. What we do not know yet is how to scientifically predict which parts of the nation will become wetter or drier. We do know there is likely to be an overall trend toward increased precipitation and evaporation, and more intense weather systems, in the form of violent rainstorms, blizzards and sun-baked, drier soils.


The Facts?What Do We Already Know About Changing Global Conditions (Global Warming)?

? Global temperatures are rising. Observations collected over the last century suggest that the average land surface temperature has risen 0.45-0.6?C (0.8-1.0?F) in the last century.

? Precipitation has increased by about 1 percent over the world's continents in the last century, with more rain in high latitudes and less rain in many tropical areas.

? Sea levels have risen approximately 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) worldwide in the last century, due to melting mountain glaciers and ocean expansion from warmer ocean temperatures.


The Future?What Predictions Can We Make About Climate Change and Global Warming?

? Rising global temperatures are expected to further raise sea level, and change precipitation and other local climate conditions.

? Changing regional climate could alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies.

? In the next century, the projected 2?C (3.6?F) warming could shift the ideal range of many North American forest tree species by about 300 km (200 mi.) to the north.

? Climate change could change grazing activities on western rangeland habitats due to shifts in water availability and plant compositions.

? Human and animal health will be affected by more heat-related deaths. There will be increases in "vector-borne" diseases such as plague, malaria, encephalitis, and yellow fever.

? Loss of habitat may affect populations of many types of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, mammals, fish and sea life. Increased rates of extinction are expected.

? Agricultural crops could be affected in a variety of ways due to changes in rainfall and temperatures. Farming and ranching will require adaptation to new crops or new agricultural practices in the face of climate change.



 Plant native trees around your homes and businesses.

 Replace your home's refrigerator with a high-efficiency model.

 Buy products in reusable or recyclable packaging.

 Replace your washing machine with a low-energy, low-water use machine.

 Install a solar thermal system to help provide your hot water.

 Recycle all of your home's waste newspapers, cardboard, glass, and metal.

 Leave your car at home two days a week (walk, bike, vanpool, or take the bus).

 Insulate your home, tune up your furnace, and install energy-efficient showerheads.


?The Number One Thing You Can Do To Help Prevent Global Warming Is?

� Buy a fuel-efficient car (rated at 32 mpg or more) to replace your family?s most used vehicle.


Created by Gwen Griffith, D.V.M., M.S., 2/99; Alliance of Veterinarians for the Environment, http://www.aveweb.org

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here's your evidence...


Global temperatures are rising. Observations collected over the last century suggest that the average land surface temperature has risen 0.45-0.6?C (0.8-1.0?F) in the last century.

? Precipitation has increased by about 1 percent over the world's continents in the last century, with more rain in high latitudes and less rain in many tropical areas.

? Sea levels have risen approximately 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) worldwide in the last century, due to melting mountain glaciers and ocean expansion from warmer ocean temperatures.


None of these things can be directly linked to man, nor do they explain why these things WERE OCCURRING BEFORE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. Its rather simple...Dupont made it all up.

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  • 5 years later...

I remember somewhere last winter that just passed we had someone bitching every day about global warming and he couldn't find real articles. So I read this and thought of that immediately. See even rising seas are not a problem anymore!


Global warming conjures images of rising seas that threaten coastal areas. But in Juneau, as almost nowhere else in the world, climate change is having the opposite effect: As the glaciers here melt, the land is rising, causing the sea to retreat.


Morgan DeBoer opened a nine-hole golf course, above, at the mouth of Glacier Bay in 1998 on land that did not exist when his family settled in the area 50 years ago.


?The highest tides of the year would come into what is now my driving range area,? Mr. DeBoer said.


Now, with the high-tide line receding even farther, he is contemplating adding another nine holes.


?It just keeps rising,? he said.


The geology is complex, but it boils down to this: Relieved of billions of tons of glacial weight, the land has risen much as a cushion regains its shape after someone gets up from a couch. The land is ascending so fast that the rising seas ? a ubiquitous byproduct of global warming ? cannot keep pace. As a result, the relative sea level is falling, at a rate ?among the highest ever recorded,? according to a 2007 report by a panel of experts convened by Mayor Bruce Botelho of Juneau.




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5% of scientists jonny reb? There are alot more in that field that deny man caused global warming. I would say it is about 50/50(skeptics might actually be in the majority now).


Dude. Read the date on the post. It's six years old. For all we know this "Johnny Reb" dude doesn't even believe in global warming anymore.

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