2020 environmental concerns that we may be overlooking

2020 Environmental Concerns that we Overlook.

No one loves the idea of dying….sure. But the first thing you need to know is that we are all dying. Don’t freak out yet. We are in the process, means there is still time, right? Enough time even to revert its changes and create a world where the future generations will not suffer.

It is like a conundrum, how we hope for the future and yet terminate the present. You often come across post titles and social media captions that say “Our planet is Dying.” Our planet like we are referring to a character in our favorite novel. Don’t forget; we live in ‘that’ planet. We use its resources; we build houses and dream dreams in it. Oh my, I almost forgot. We breeeaathe from ‘that’ planet. But we seldom personalize its death to be ours. We just prefer it be the death of the planet, a metaphor we can live with.

Earth is the only home we have, and as optimistic as it may sound to make mars a second planet like the ambitious Ellon Musk, we cannot compare the ease of survival on earth to another planet. Even the resources used to build another planet is from the earth. You know, like drawing breath out of a dying bird at hand to give to another in the air – if that even makes any sense. Do you have coffee? I plan to rant more about environmental concerns of 2020.

Smoggy Skies.

A man wears a mask on Tiananmen Square in thick haze in Beijing Tuesday. Extremely high pollution levels shrouded eastern China for the second time in about two weeks Tuesday, forcing airlines in Beijing and elsewhere to cancel flights because of poor visibility and prompting government warnings for residents to stay indoors. (Ng Han Guan/AP)
A man wears a mask on Tiananmen Square in thick haze in Beijing Tuesday. Extremely high pollution levels shrouded eastern China for the second time in about two weeks Tuesday, forcing airlines in Beijing and elsewhere to cancel flights because of poor visibility and prompting government warnings for residents to stay indoors. (Ng Han Guan/AP)

In 2019, the United Nations Environmental Protection theme centered on air pollution. We are so wise in our generation that we prefer to invent and mount an air filter to filter our homes for clean air than to clean the air itself. Or at least stop polluting it.

Facts from the World Health Organization shows that 4.2 million people die every year from diseases caused by air pollution, heart diseases, cancer, and other chronic respiratory diseases. And over 91% of people live in conditions that are below ambient air quality. One of the most prevalent signs of air pollution is smog, as seen in countries like China, India and other Industrialized towns. Even in countries like Nigeria with few industries, rickety cars and poorly managed refuse dumps, pump fumes into the air in residential areas. There are a lot of facts about air pollution that cannot be overlooked. But less focus and attention is given to this sector.

Bioluminescent Beaches that glow at night.

Glowing beaches at night is a less disturbing name for Algal bloom. Algal bloom refers to toxic aquatic microorganisms that cover the surface of the oceans. They block other fishes and aquatic life from receiving light and oxygen. This is usually as a result of pollution of waters with phosphorus and nitrogen from farming practices. These two nutrients boost the growth of algae which forms a poop red coloration over the sea surface.

Red tide is one of the leading causes of death on the sea especially that of Manatees (an endangered species of fish) as well as the death of dolphins. They also cause harmful effects on humans and the economy. This condition has taken prevalence for over three weeks, even during the lockdown, news reporters only talk about the best viewing times for the beaches that have been taunted by this massive algal bloom. It is considered the largest algal bloom, spanning from California to Los-Angeles.

The people wait till the night when the red tide will glow in their beautiful colors of blue so that they can take award-winning pictures and make surfing videos. Then cringe in disgust at the poop brown colors in the morning.

What a wonderful way for many fishes to breathe their last – watching us surf and take pictures. , Puerto Rico’s island in Vieques, has a Guinness World Record for the brightest bioluminescent bay. No record exists for the fastest cleaned bay, but news reporters are also counting the days, and hoping that this new bloom will beat the old records for longest prevailed red tide.

Global Warming.

This most prevalent sign is global warming. It caused by the release of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. This causes heat to be trapped in the earth. Even though the effects of global warming are complex and seem to vacillate from one fact to another, I cannot help but think of it as being cooked in an enclosed space. . Here I also wrote about global warming and how it concerns you.

A Plague of Locusts.

Men try to repel locusts flying over grazing land in Lemasulani village, Samburu county, Kenya
Men try to repel locusts flying over grazing land in Lemasulani village, Samburu county, Kenya.

In East Africa, there is a crisis which started in February when locusts in their swarms cast a shadow on the lands. The dessert locusts left the crops to be a shadow of what they were supposed to be. Over seven East African countries are witnessing this sign, coupled with increasing hunger.

Experts say the thriving of these dessert locusts is because of results from climate change.

These Dessert Locusts have a three-month life span after which they lay eggs that can hatch under the right conditions. These new eggs are usually 20 times the number of the former generation, a natural breeding instinct that allows the dessert locust to preserve its kind exponentially.

But several factors have created a breeding environment for these locusts to breed three wildly successful generations in the space of 9 months. The cyclones and the heavy rainfall and the change in ocean current are all alleged culprits in this crime – as always not humans. And it is fascinating that cyclones and rainfalls cannot speak or hire a judge for their alleged crimes.

“If we see this continued increase in the frequency of cyclones, I think we can assume there will be more locust outbreaks and upsurges in the Horn of Africa,” says Keith Cressman, senior locust forecasting officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Heat Waves.

Air-conditioners on a building in Fuzhou, China. A new report predicts that the number of air-conditioning units worldwide will rise from 1.6 billion today to 5.6 billion by midcentury.Credit...VCG via Getty Images
Air-conditioners on a building in Fuzhou, China. A new report predicts that the number of air-conditioning units worldwide will rise from 1.6 billion today to 5.6 billion by midcentury.Credit…VCG via Getty Images

Humans are breaking set records, longest Planck, Heaviest weight, longest time underwater, and an abiotic component has decided to join the trend.

Heatwaves refer to periods when the temperature decides to break their set records. The weather becomes hotter than the average for that region and continues for about 2-3 days. Sometimes, heat waves are accompanied by high humidity in that area and other cascading effects which can also affect the economy and health.

Heatwaves cause heat cramps which makes the air feels heavier than normal to breathe. It causes organs to fail, and in turn, the intestinal system releases toxins into the body, also known as heatstroke, and in extreme cases, can cause death, especially through heart failure. Heatwaves have caused a death toll higher than all the weather-related disasters combined. But then again, more funds are channelled to innovation for ventilators which only about 8% of the population in African countries can afford. Not to talk of the sea animals, the jungle mammals and the cherished birds who don’t have.

It is not just enough to read about these concerns and the ippons of man’s existence on earth. But it is enough that we speak in one voice. And “be the change that we seek.”

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