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Global Warming

Global warming is the increase
in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface
air and oceans since the mid-twentieth century and its projected continuation.

Increasing global temperature will cause sea level to rise, and is expected to increase the intensity of extreme weather events and to change the amount and pattern of precipitation. Other effects of global warming include changes in agricultural yields, trade routes, glacier retreat, species extinctions and increases in the ranges of disease vectors.

Remaining scientific uncertainties include the amount of warming expected in the future, and how warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe. Most national governments have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but there is ongoing political and public debate worldwide regarding what, if any, action should be taken to reduce or reverse future warming or to
adapt to its expected consequences.

  • Global Scenario today
    • Causes and some key attributions for Global Warming are:

      1. Green House Gases:
      Scientific consensus has identified carbon dioxide emissions as the dominant greenhouse gas forcing; methane and nitrous oxide are also major contributors to the greenhouse effect. Some of the largest contributors are power stations (many of which burn coal or other fossil fuels), industrial processes (among which cement production is a dominant contributor), transportation fuels (generally fossil fuels), and agricultural byproducts (mainly methane from enteric fermentation and nitrous oxide from fertilizer use).

      2. Land Use:
      Climate change is attributed to land use for two main reasons. While 66% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last 250 years have resulted from burning fossil fuels, 33% have resulted from changes in land use, primarily deforestation. Deforestation both reduces the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by deforested regions and releases greenhouse gases directly, together with aerosols, through biomass burning that frequently accompanies it. A second reason that climate change has been attributed to land use is that the terrestrial albedo is often altered by use, which leads to radiative forcing. This effect is more significant locally than globally.

      3. Live Stock and land use:
      Worldwide, livestock production occupies 70% of all land used for agriculture, or 30% of the ice-free land surface of the Earth. Scientists attribute more than 18% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to livestock and livestock-related activities such as deforestation and increasingly fuel-intensive farming practices. Specific attributions to the livestock sector include:

      :: 9% of global carbon dioxide emissions

      :: 35-40% of global methane emissions (chiefly due to enteric fermentation and manure)

      :: 64% of global nitrous oxide emissions, chiefly as a result of fertilizer use.

      4. Aerosols:
      With virtual certainty, scientific consensus has attributed various forms of climate change, chiefly cooling effects, to aerosols, which are small particles or droplets suspended in the atmosphere. Key sources to which anthropogenic aerosols are attributed include:

      :: biomass burning such as slash and burn deforestation. Aerosols produced are primarily black carbon.

      :: industrial air pollution, which produces soot and airborne sulfates, nitrates, and ammonium.

      :: dust produced by land use effects such as desertification.

  • Organic Agriculture, the great remedy
    • Organic farming is a viable part of the solution to global warming. Research show that organic farming is a powerful atmospheric scrubber. Diverse crops, especially legume hay, suck carbon and nitrogen out of the air. So why are organic soils better at carbon sequestration than conventionally farmed soils? The answer lies in the application of fertilizers and soil microbes.

      It is evident that soluble nitrogen fertilizers rapidly decay organic matter, thus releasing carbon into the atmosphere instead of retaining it in the soil system. Findings show that organic grain production systems increase soil nitrogen by 8 to 15 percent. However, conventional farming trials showed no significant increases in either over the same period. Soil microbial activity, specifically mycorrhiza fungi, also has an important role in soil aggregate formation with clay and other minerals, to retain carbon in the soil. Microbes (mycorrhiza fungi) produce a glue-like substance called "glomalin" that locks these elements in the soil.

      Agricultural and forest sequestration of nutrients,
      namely carbon and nitrogen in soil organic matter,
      can help derail climatic changes influenced by rising greenhouse gas emissions.
      According to climatic change models, agriculture could be seriously affected
      by global warming, as an estimated 20 percent of potential food crop production
      is lost each year due to weather patterns.
      Organic farming is an essential tool in tackling air pollution,
      Carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are the lifeblood of our economy.
      The environment and economy come together in agriculture.

  • Organic even further:

    Modern agriculture has given the once proud abbreviation agri a bad name.
    Chemical agricultural practices, using petroleum to supply essential plant nutrients,
    has become conventional farming, while organic farmers and organic farms that practice
    permaculture and alternative food production, are still considered outside the mainstream.
    Chemical agricultural parctices release nitrous oxide into the atmosphere and cause erosion,
    contributing to the geometric progression of global warming and climate change.
    This further damages our food supply.

    This planet grew food for millions of years without petro-chemicals.
    Is not it an answer in itself to all the problems and miseries now?

    Aside from organic gardening, organic growing is considered not
    financially desirable, despite higher prices for organic food.
    One reason is certainly lack of demand.
    The small income my family survives on cannot afford organic food.
    Meanwhile, here in Hawaii, industrial hemp production, or cannabis sativa growing,
    like everywhere else in the US, is illegal.

    A plant that uses less water, restores soil tilth, and needs no chemical
    treatments whatsoever.
    With no regard for soil tilth or the health of the people who live here,
    the sugar industry has poisoned, burned, and watered a subsidized cash crop
    that could not compete, even price-wise, with a cash and rotation crop
    that replenishes soil and reverses erosion damage. This logic, on a global scale,
    will worsen the climatic catastrophy.

    Our way of life, and our inability to improve our behavior, is killing us.
    The madness continues. Sea levels rise as the polar ice caps melt.
    We burn more fossil fuels, spray more toxins, fill more methane producing landfills,
    and destroy more ocean. And yet there are still those who claim we are not responsible.
    When El Ñino becomes an annual event, I hope they are the first to suffer.

    "Organic farming is a powerful new tool in the global warming
    arsenal," said Anthony Rodale, chairman of the The Rodale Institute. "It puts
    agriculture into a lead role in regenerating the environment."

    Through a process called carbon sequestration, plants and soils act
    as "sinks" for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon "sequestered" in vegetation
    and soil is not readily released as carbon dioxide, providing a significant
    boost in the efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. While carbon helps
    stimulate plant growth, scientists estimate carbon dioxide may be responsible for more
    than 80 percent of global warming.