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Nabeel Muhammedy

Professor Mingle Moore

English 1301

April 3, 2015

Towards a Healthy Green Planet

In order to maintain a healthy green planet; firstly, “planting more trees will absorb more

carbon from the atmosphere” (Mackey 19). Secondly, the idea of geoengineering could be

implied to stave off the issue of global warming. The global climate change is an incalculable

issue today. You would rarely find a person not au fait with this issue. Melting glaciers, ocean

acidification, rising sea levels, and increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

are all consequences of global warming. In order to reduce global warming, greenhouse gas

emissions must dwindle, particularly the emission of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.

Approximately thirty percent of the carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere in past and

present due to anthropogenic sources is from the reckless cutting of trees. While the vast seventy

percent is from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) for energy. Afforestation and use of

sustainable energy sources will help tackle the issue. Contiguous with that, geoengineering

projects like ocean fertilization and engineered weathering could be used to reverse the global

warming trend.

Planting trees, which is afforestation could reduce global warming considerably. As we

know the green plants give out oxygen and take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Thus,

absorbing large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. When deforestation is carried out by

humans, which is cutting of trees for obtaining timber, paper or to clear the land to use it as
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pasture for livestock without reforestation, which is planting new trees to replace the ones

depleted, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are accreted into the atmosphere which cause

global warming. As a result the sea levels rise, glaciers melt leading to floods. In order to fully

understand how this happens, we first familiarize with how the global carbon cycle works.

“From a systems perspective, Earth is open to the flow of energy, but is materially closed.”

(Mackey 19). This means that the Earth has a certain amount of carbon that remains unchanged.

However, what changes is the state of carbon. Mackey says that the carbon could be in the form

of gas (carbon dioxide), liquid (dissolved inorganic carbon in water), rock (carbonate) or

biomass (organic carbon in living and dead plants and animals) (19). The four major pools where

carbon flows are the lithosphere, the oceans, the atmosphere and the ecosystems (forests in

particular). The carbon cycle is disturbed, as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and the

ecosystems is increased due to deforestation and burning of fossil fuels. This affects the carbon

flow between the atmosphere and the ocean, as the atmospheric carbon dissolves into water as

inorganic carbonates. Thus, ocean acidification occurs. With no trees to absorb carbon from the

atmosphere the carbon emissions due to burning of fossil fuels and other human activities

“increase the amount of solar energy kept in the Earth system” (Mackey 19) which in turn causes

global warming and global climate changes. This clearly shows how planting trees and using

sustainable energy sources could help overcome the issue of global warming. Hydroelectricity,

wave power and wind power are all sustainable and renewable energy sources. If we use them

instead of burning fossil fuels the issue of global warming may be resolved.

Geoengineering is an artful and ethical solution to the issue of global warming. It is a

scientific approach to tackle global warming. Geoengineering is an intentional modification of

Earth’s atmosphere to tackle global warming. Nowadays the idea of geoengineering has entered
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a working stage and is expressing itself with a variety of proposed projects. “Carbon dioxide,

once released into the atmosphere, stays there in excess of 100 years.” (Ralston 823). The

geoengineering projects such as solar shields, ocean fertilization and engineered weathering will

help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide agglomerated into the atmosphere. Launching solar

shields into the orbit could reduce the solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface by eight

percent. Phytoplankton’s serve as a virtual carbon sink. Depositing iron filings in the oceans will

encourage the growth of phytoplankton. Thus, reducing carbon. This is called ocean fertilization.

Substituting carbonic acid in the oceans with hydrochloric acid will speed up the rate at which

carbon dioxide is absorbed. Subsequently, another way to reduce the amount of carbon being on

the rampage into the atmosphere is to paint rooftops white. Doing so will reflect some of the

sunlight back into the atmosphere, perhaps reducing the atmospheric temperature. Thus, reducing

the amount of carbon dioxide emancipated into the atmosphere.

In conclusion, a healthy green planet could be maintained by planting greater amount of

trees than the amount of trees cut. In other words, more afforestation than deforestation will help

keep our atmosphere safe and clean, and our planet green. This could also be achieved by using

sustainable and renewable energy sources. Lastly, intentional modification of the Earth’s

atmosphere, which is geoengineering will help tackle global warming. As a result, we will have a

much better environment and a cooler weather.

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Works Cited

Mackey, Brendan. "Counting Trees, Carbon And Climate Change." Significance 11.1 (2014): 19-

23. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

Ralston, Shane J. "Engineering An Artful And Ethical Solution To The Problem Of Global

Warming." Review Of Policy Research 26.6 (2009): 821-837. Academic Search Complete.

Web. 10 Apr. 2015.