Think Green, Go Green

Manila Bulletin, October 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Think Green, Go Green


"The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air..."Although these lines uttered by Galadriel in the popular trilogy "Lord of the Rings" speaks about the changes in the Middle Earth, it aptly describes what is happening in our world today. As human development progresses, Mother Earth takes the backseat. It endures a slow transformation caused by human inventions and activities. Scientists and environmentalists are becoming more and more alarmed as they keep an eye on signs of the changing times such as the melting of ice caps, acidification of oceans, frantic weather conditions, and the loss of equatorial rainforests. For the past years, concerned individuals, organizations, and private companies have campaigned against the effect of climate change and advocated environmental causes. Recently, the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa organized the "Go Green Cebu Fair," where more than 10 speakers talked about Climate Change, other environmental issues, and being green. On its second year, the conference aimed to convene corporate executives, government agencies, various non-government organizations, private institutions, and students to learn how businesses and individuals affect the environment through the various interactive discussions and forums.SIGNS OF CHANGEUnderstanding the phenomenon and knowing the culprits (human consumption and development, usage of fossil fuels, deforestation, pollution, etc.) and its adverse effects may compel people to do something to lessen the occurrence and minimize the effects.In the latest environmental report, presented during the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, the sea level is continuing to rise at three milimeters or more per year since 1993. The continuous warming and expansion of oceans and the melting of the mountain glacier and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are contributing to the sea level rise. The report forecasted that the upper range of sea level rise by 2100 might be above one meter or more on global average, but varies depending on where the ice loss occurs. Even the modest rise on the sea level will cause major increase in the number of flooding incidents. Aside from incidents of flooding, climate change may instigate steep rising economic cost as well as rising mortality. As the sea level rises, important agricultural land can disappear, which may result in shortage of food supply.Apart from the rising sea level, environmentalists are concerned about the water pollution in the various bodies of water all over the world. "Oceans have no borders. Trash travels. When we trash the oceans, we trash our lives. Marine debris is more than an eyesore. They trash our life system," says Liza Christensen.According to Christensen, what we get during coastal cleanups is actually just a fraction of the total ocean waste. Seventy percent of the total waste sinks, and only 30 percent floats."Garbage disintegrates. These swirling patches of plastics and trash are hard to clean up, and are usually being eaten by marine animals, which in turn are being eaten by human," quips Christensen.ICE LOSS AND ACIDIC SEAMeanwhile, the ice loss in Greenland has accelerated over the years. Even other areas covered with ice feel the effects of the Global Warming. Khoo Swee Chiow, a Singaporean extreme adventurer who recently traversed the length of the Philippine archipelago in a kayak in 88 days, has noticed the melting of ice sheets in the mountains during his recent adventures. "When I climbed up Kilimanjaro, I noticed that the ice is gone. Even the ice in the South Pole and North Pole, they are melting faster and becoming thinner and thinner. The glaciers have shrunk so much. When you're up in the Himalayas, you can really feel and see the effects of global warming," shares the Singaporean adventurer. He continued: "In Alaska, mountaineers are required to carry their waste all the way down. In Everest, yaks carry the waste down from the base camp. …

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