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Monday, 27 August 2012

Greenery

Ok so having read http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19387961 about the government again saying they won't build on green belt land it made me wonder when did even thinking about building on green belts become normal? When I was at school it was accepted that green belt land was sacrosanct and couldn't be built upon. Well at least that was what I remember being taught.

Maybe we really do need the space for people to live in? Maybe a Judge Dredd style Mega-City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mega-City_One) is on the cards?

Although thanks to the BBC there are other articles on the importance of green areas. After all we know that the storage of carbon dioxide is massively important to reduce the greenhouse effect - well to a level that would keep us in the 'Goldilocks zone' for our life.

However http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19332960 reports that even in drought times some forests in Africa have actually increased their carbon storage - often related to the growth of the trees.

Anyone who has taken science at GCSE knows that trees are hugely important in storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, not only as part of photosynthesis but also in their structures.

Ok so we shouldn't build on green belts and some woods show carbon storage even during droughts. I can almost hear you cry 'so what?' (believe me I have started asking myself this same thing).

Well http://reallifecomics.com/ has been running a story arc about one of the characters 'Terraforming' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming) Mars. The stuff of Sci-Fi, I am thinking the original Total Recall film.

Right, so where is this still going?

Well http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19371833 reports on the idea of geoengineering. This is the idea that out carbon footprint is not something we are victims of but something we can control or reverse. The basic principle follows that by creating artificial rain we could 'trap' carbon dioxide in the sea - the largest store of carbon dioxide - and remove it from the atmosphere.

If this idea works could it be used on other planets?

Probably not. But it is very interesting to see that ideas like this are now being tested more thoroughly and given more credence and that we are not just sitting back and trying to limit out impact but actively reverse it.

Will it work? Depends how well it is rolled out. After all alternative energies work but are not used on a large enough scale to be really effective.

Final thought/point we are currently in the middle of a mass extinction so if the habitats are no longer needed - not that we seem to preserve habitats unless the animals are pretty - and these experiments work to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, well will it just be a matter of time before our green belt land is built upon more and more for our expanding populations.

Although then where will our food come from...

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