A Message on Sustainability to our Friends, both far and near
Most especially after you have seen the unspoiled, natural beauties of Mayo and have met our people, we should ask you please, to consider our views on imminent environmental threats - which we all face.
The 2010 Living Planet Report of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has signalled that the World’s population is now consuming the output of one-and-one-half sustainable Earths.
It may readily be understood that, where a vast acreage of plants is harvested with machines which use fossil fuels, a shortage of these latter could result in starvation on a wide scale. Problems are also in prospect from decreasing crop production arising from the deteriorating climate and consequent decreases in the hours of sunlight received, as well as from soil degradation caused by the use of artificial fertilisers.
Greenhouse Gases (however generated), low Sunspot numbers (e.g. the Sporer Minimum) and Earth Orbit Variations are all factors which affect climate. Milankovitch, regarding this last, proposed that elements of Earth-Sun geometry affect climate: 1) Eccentricity - the Earth’s orbit (varies circular to elliptical over 100,000 years), 2) Obliquity – the tilt of the Earth’s axis with respect to its plane of orbit (22.1 to 24.5o over 41,000 years) and 3) Precession (the direction in which the Earth’s axis points - a cycle of 21,000 years). Orbital changes occur over thousands of years and orbital forcing of climate takes equally long. Sunspot cycles experience wide variations in their average 11 year period.
The UN panel on Climate Change (IPCC) incorporates solar effects in calculations carried out (Scientific American, July, 2009). The Panel is composed of scientists from all over the world and may be considered to be as fair a group as is possible to assemble.
The following principles are fundamental to our common future on this planet:
- The emission into the air of geological quantities of gases, which alter the thermal properties of the atmosphere, has given rise to an increasing number of unpredictable, extreme climate events, in the view of most scientists. It takes decades for emissions fully to mix with the other gases. The way importantly to ensure a reduction in the emissions of Greenhouse (and Noxious) Gases is to regulate the annual production of Fossil Fuels. Energy-saving measures, currently uncoupled from fuel production, are not solving the problem.
- Of course warm gases, may effect a storm. The conversion of thermal energy into kinetic energy during the storm, with consequent loss of temperature in the air mass, is an example of a phenomenon which allows some people to claim that warming of the atmospheric does not occur. In all fields the mind may be made up made up before the evidence is seen. Opensource education and debate should be promoted using electronic social networks.
- The control of Greenhouse Gases emissions is the only way in which mankind can manage Climate Change. Insofar as possible, the economic factors of production and the exploitation of natural resources need to be administered at international level, in line with advice from an executive branch of the UN, with any safeguards required, say by one-tenth of its membership. The proportion of world resources, which a country (-) consumes, should ideally be related to the averaged value of its contributions to global well-being, both achieved and forecast. The complexity of this challenge is commensurate with the threats to be faced from a deteriorating climate.
- Some countries have used up world resources before other countries have developed. It can be argued that one country need not wait to develop until another does. It can be argued too that natural resources either belong to the world – or to the inhabitants of a country. It may, however, hold a long-established population or a migrating clan. It would be best to take the situation as it actually has developed, and argue that countries should progress towards a more comparable distribution of resources. Given the scant sympathy shown historically to the primitive, the old and the very young, including the unborn, the issue of equality versus sectional interests is perhaps the greatest classical challenge before mankind. Openly recognising the issue, as regards less-developed countries for example, should be the topic of on-going discussion, not left at best as an elusive objective.
- To ensure that the will of the people in any country be not subordinated by special interest groups, a mechanism for amending the structures and operation of government should be put in place. In this way, any misuse of power and position could be addressed, both openly and with vision, and to general satisfaction. Furthermore, this mechanism could, in general, engender discussion on and clarification of issues for the general population, in the preparation of official policies aimed at meeting national and international requirements.
- Climate change and forced migration: Observations, projections and implications, Oli Brown
- People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion, UNFPA
- Laudato Si'