©2000 Zhan Huan Zhou
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Save the Plankton
©1999 Zhan Huan Zhou, Fall 1999, Issue 4
Environmental awareness is embedded deep in the hearts of North Americans. The media has made us feel so guilty about destroying Mother Nature that we are more than willing to do our part to save the environment. But are we being told the whole story?
Remember back in the eighties when it seemed like acid rain was going to destroy all of our greatest monuments? Why don't we see any more headlines proclaiming the destruction caused by acid rain? Is it less of a problem now than it was then? With the lack of media coverage, you would think that we have won the battle against acid rain. However, acid rain is still a huge problem in developing countries such as India and China where coal is the primary source of energy. It's just that in North America, we are drawn to more exciting environmental issues that more fit for the nineties such as global warming, recycling, and deforestation.
What's the deal with global warming anyway? All those greenhouse gases are going to heat up the Earth until it is as dry as a desert. Poppycrock! What the media fails to inform people is that global warming will eventually cause an ice age. Warm water brought to Northern Europe by the Gulf Stream keep England and Scandinavia relatively warm, despite their northern latitude. The influx of cold water will disrupt the Gulf Stream causing these regions to experience very cold weather. This will happen in all regions of the earth, resulting in net global cooling. And since the sky will be covered with clouds due to the earlier effect of warming, there will be very little sunlight penetration. The end result is that the earth is going to be a very *cold* place. But does the media mention this at all? No!
Do you feel good when you throw a pop can or a piece of paper into one of those lovely blue boxes instead of the garbage? Well, it's good that you are so environmentally aware, but it will probably end up in a landfill anyway. There are not enough recycling facilitates in North America to accommodate every last can, bottle, or piece of paper. Since it is too expensive to store all the excess material, it is simply shipped to a landfill. But hey, at least you tried.
One of the greatest examples of environmental ignorance is with the Brazilian rainforests. Perhaps the catchiest phrase and definitely the most meaningless to come out of the rainforest movement is that they are "the lungs of the earth." Yet more poppycrock! Dr. Sherwood B. Idso, a research physicist with the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, contends that the world's plant and animal life would not suffer from a lack of oxygen even if the rainforests were to be completely eliminated. This is because the main source of oxygen in the earth is the ocean, not the rainforests. Microscopic plankton in the ocean produces over 90% of the oxygen by means of photosynthesis. Instead of saving the trees, why isn't there a campaign to save the plankton?
This article is not meant to lessen the severity of these environmental issues, it is meant to broaden your view of them. There is more out there than what the media is giving you. If you really do care about a certain issue, read the literature. The answer to all your questions are out there. Your opinion will have a solid base that you can back with facts. You don't want to be one of those media controlled drones.
The environment isn't the only area where the media has played on ignorance of the general populace. They do so for virtually every social concern such as abortion, euthanasia, and drugs. Just remember to look at all sides of the issue. Refine you opinion as you learn more about it. As a final note, please, please, don't be ignorant.