Karma is Real! The Environment Will Pay Us Back in Our Own Coin

You cannot plant mango seeds and yield grape fruits, neither can you embark on a 1000km journey with a half filled fuel tank.

Similarly, the funniest joke of the best comedian would not even cause an audience to smile if the comedian has the mouth odor of a Safi Sana septic tank.

In the same light, expect the environment or nature to treat us fairly when we pollute our environment with toxic gases, plastic waste and destroy beautiful natural habitats.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

Photo Credit: Medical Bag

Natural and artificial emissions cause Climate Change. Natural emissions include, but are not limited to, greenhouse gas effect and volcanic eruptions.

Artificial emissions are those caused by anthropogenic activity (human activity) such as the use of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) chemicals, smoke from bush burning, incinerators, exhaust fumes, etc. The latter are the most dangerous and result in the depletion of the ozone layer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The atmosphere is not a corresponding mass of air, but it is divided into distinct layers with unique temperature distributions. This includes:  the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere and thermosphere.

Typically, temperature declines with altitude down to 50 degree celcius at the troposphere (top of troposphere). Stratospheric ozone is constantly being created by oxygen interacting with lightning and UV rays. It blocks 99% of the incoming UV from the sun.

This allows life to exist on the surface and keeps us from constant sunburn, cataracts, skin cancers, and immune system damage. It also helps keep troposphere oxygen from being converted to ozone, which is a pollutant in the lower atmosphere.

In summary,  tropospheric ozone is bad, stratospheric ozone is good.

Unfortunately, we’ve increased the former and decreased the later over the last 50 years.

 

We all contribute everyday

Huge quantity of paper in our work at schools and in offices. Have we ever thought about the number of trees that we use in a day?

Photo Credit: Mr DT

 

Electricity is the main source of power in Ghana. Most Ghanaian averagely use more than one gadget; be it a phone or a laptop. Also because of intensive heat as a result of global warming most homes have air conditioners. All our gadgets run on electricity generated mainly from thermal power plants, yet consumers make less effort to conserve electricity.

For instance in most homes, consumers have their television, radio, and laptop in use at the same time. These practices are all not healthy for our environment and needs to be curtailed.

Why?

Thermal power plants run on fossil fuels (mostly coal) and are responsible for the emission of huge amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

Cars, buses, and trucks which are the principal ways by which goods and people are transported in Ghana, contribute to the high emission of green house gases.

These vehicles run mainly on petrol or diesel, both fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and water are the main gases releases when fuel is burnt in the car engines.

Carbon dioxide is one of the major green house gasses.

With large amounts of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere everyday, the carbon cycle goes out of balance, and the carbon dioxide gas remains in the earth’s atmosphere, trapping heat and contributing to global warming and climate change.

The chemicals from car exhaust are hazardous to human health and have a serious impact on the environment.

Photo Credit: Myjoyonline

Indiscrimately cutting of trees means we are denying ourselves precious life breath because everyone knows that trees release much oxygen. Timber is used in large quantities for construction of houses, industries which means that large areas of forest have to be cut down.

Other significant changes in the land surface resulting from human activities include tropical deforestation which changes evapotranspiration rates (the amount of water vapor put into the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration from trees).

The entire balance of the ecosystem is muddle when forest are destroyed. The food chain starts to indicate gaps. Habitat for animals is also destroyed. Climate gets affected adversely when trees are cut down. Moisture content in the atmosphere is reduced drastically and cloud formation is greatly reduced, as a result temperature rises.

This in the end leads to drought and sometimes desertification.

Population has increased and as a result of more mouths needs to feed. The land area available for agriculture is limited. It is actually reducing as a result of ecological degradation.

High-yielding varieties of crop are being grown to increase the agricultural output from a given area of land.

However, such high-yielding varieties of crops require large quantities of fertilizers; and more fertilizer means more emissions of nitrous oxide, both from the field into which it is put and the fertilizer industry that makes it. Pollution also results from the run-off of fertilizer into water bodies

Our actions and inactions have caused climate change, leading to diverse effects including floods, erratic rainfall, acid rain and diseases.

 

Isn’t rainfall erratic as result of our negative actions? Erratic rainfall leads to food shortage and higher food prices.

Diseases such as (Respiratory Diseases – Car pollution aggravates lung diseases such as asthma and other pulmonary diseases. The pollutants from car exhaust can also cause burning eyes, coughing and breathing difficulties).

Acid Rain –Pollution from car exhaust contributes to the formation of acid rain – acidic gases from car exhaust dissolve in rain to form acid rain. Acid rain can in turn acidify water bodies, as well as dissolve away certain nutrients in soil and affect the growth of plants. Acid rain also increases the decay of buildings and monuments. Water species cannot survive in the water that has a higher acidic level.

Even if we are not able to switch to an ecocar at this moment, there are many driving tips for going green that we can adopt that can help us reduce the pollution from our automobiles and reduce our carbon footprint.

Photo Credit: Julie Salvatierra

Afforestation (planting new trees).We need to put a stop to thoughtless deforestation. Government laws regarding cutting down of trees should be very strict. People should be made aware of importance of trees through the media. Trees plantation exercise should be taken up by individuals, organizations and many more. Then only will be able to save our plant.

Use of compost (organic farming) can help reduce pollution of water bodies and emission of nitrous oxide from both fields and also fertilizer industries.

In our little way, let us conserve electricity in our various homes and offices. Let us also adopt the culture of re-using non-degradable materials and manage our waste properly. That way karma will not be as mean as it is.

Will we continue destroy our lives with our own actions?

Article by Amanda Obuobi

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