Is it Conspiracy or Conservation?
In Lenox there is a wonderful little book store with a wine bar attached. Now the bar seats about four people, and I was there enjoying some Shiraz with my friend Marian and a fascinating musician named Tom Gizzi. Not only was Tom serenading us with some great music, but he was telling me about his concern over Geoengineering. OK, I admit, I hadn't really looked into this, but type it into Google and you enter the conspiracy zone. As with anything controversial, it's hard to tell the concerned citizens from the conspiracy nuts, but there really is a lot to say about this. Don't know what I'm talking about? Well let me pass on the enlightenment. Geoengineering is the idea of manipulating the climate and weather for better or worse by concentrating on removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and/or managing solar radiation. Sounds good, right? I mean aside from the people screaming in front of the state house that there is no such thing as ozone depletion, protecting the ozone layer is a good thing. But as with any technology, there are consequences that we may not realize, nor imagine.
Let me give you an example. A very real project is to fertilize the oceans with iron sulphate, which encourages quick and massive growth of phytoplankton. These absorb carbon and quickly die, sinking to the floor of the ocean and taking the absorbed carbon with them. But do we know how this affects the ocean floor and the habitat there? Will this have some consequence that we only notice years from now which makes us wish we never even heard of iron sulfate?
Another more drastic measure would be trying to block sunlight by pumping sulphate into the atmosphere. OK, I don't think I like the sound of that at ALL! I even noticed a DVD called Why Are They Spraying?, which makes me wonder if it will be like Dirt: The Movie or more like the guy who lived out of a van who discovered a hidden secret tomb of a Knight Templar. The truth is that everything has a consequence. We just need to take the time to see what those consequences would be to see if the price is worth paying. Sounds like "Coma"...
By the way, I ran into a vegetarian who told me that if we simply converted land set aside for grazing animals to growing plants and forests, we would eliminate ozone depletion completely. Hmmm ... made me want to have a steak.