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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Turning Up The Heat On A Warming Planet

artist's conception of Kepler 186f
Two years ago NASA announced the discovery of Kepler 186f, an earth-size planet at about the right distance from its sun to sustain life similar to that found on planet earth.

With all of the pollution, deforestation, overpopulation and other forms of devastation taking place on our own jewel of a planet, we may soon need a new one to emigrate to. The only problem is that this one is about 500 light years away, so there will be no flights available in the near future.

Since good planets are so hard to find, maybe we'd better begin to begin to take better care of the one have. In the past century we've released an extraordinary amount of carbon into the atmosphere through deforestation of thousands of acres of carbon-rich rain forests each year and the use of an accelerated amount of carbon-laden fossil fuels to meet our acquired "need" for ever more energy and to fuel a growing number of vehicles (in the U. S. we now have more licensed vehicles than we do licensed drivers).

This worldwide increase of carbon output, led by China and the U.S., is having the effect of wrapping an extra blanket of heat trapping insulation around a planet that's calibrated to maintain just the right amount of warmth to sustain life as we know it. This makes it imperative that we question the assumption that we have a right to unlimited uses of energy-guzzling cars, homes and lifestyles that are simply not sustainable, according to a U.N. report on this potential crisis.
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