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Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection?
No one will be surprised to hear that there is a worryingly wide range of problems associated with climate change. From extreme weather events to melting ice caps and the extinction of animal species - these have all been well-researched to fall somewhere in the range of ‘likely’ to ‘highly probable’. Perhaps not as obvious is the suddenly rise of the Corona virus and the flu, as a direct result of climate change. How does that even work? Let’s try to find out in this article and read the Tips & Tricks to avoid or treat Flu! Coronavirus And Climate Change: Winter And Traveling Makes People More Vurnerable New Coronavirus Can Spread Person-to-Person A new coronavirus that began sickening people in China late in 2019 can be transmitted from human to human, China’s health ministry announced last Monday. The mysterious respiratory illness emerged last month in a fish market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, and officials thought it was mostly passed from animals to humans. However, Zhong Nanshan of China's National Health Commission said two people who lived hundreds of miles away caught the virus from a family member who had visited Wuhan. How did the coronavirus start in China? Wuhan coronavirus may have been transmitted to people from snakes. A new coronavirus that has claimed 17 lives in Wuhan, China, may have been transmitted to people from snakes, according to a genetic analysis. The snakes may have caught the virus from bats in the food market in which both animals were sold. Snakes, the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra may be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this winter. The many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus), also known as the Taiwanese krait or the Chinese krait, is a highly venomous species of elapid snake found in much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia. Many Banded Krait Coronavirus What is the coronavirus in humans? Coronaviruses are types of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. They are associated with the common cold, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut. The current cases show there is definitely human-to-human transmission. Officials on Wednesday 22-01-2020 also announced that the virus had killed seventeen people. The illness can cause fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia. As of Thursday 23-01-2020, it has sickened at least 571 people worldwide (Japan, US, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea). Fifteen health workers have also been infected, and it has now spread to various places in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, second right, shows visitors from Wuhan receiving health screening at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Jan 5. He said on Monday that a Chinese woman found infected with a new strain of coronavirus was in quarantine and being treated in Nonthaburi province. {youtube}                                       Corona Virus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? How do you catch coronavirus? Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans. Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person's hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched. The disease has also spread outside China: Two cases were diagnosed in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in Taiwan. The Philippines also reported a suspected case Tuesday. There are fears the disease could spread further as millions are expected to travel throughout Asia Tuesday for the Lunar New Year. Airports in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco will begin screening passengers coming from Wuhan. The new virus has raised the specter of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that killed almost 800 people in 2002 and 2003. Zhong, who also helped discover SARS, said the new disease was not as infectious, but was ‘climbing’. How long does the coronavirus live? How long does the virus survive in the environment? Outdoors, the virus can usually only survive for hours or days. Indoors, in dried-up cat litter, it can survive for up to seven weeks. This undated file image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS Coronavirus, Flu And Climate: The Corona Virus Has Been Underreported Researchers at Imperial College London also think the new virus has been severely underreported. Officials are also concerned that they do not yet know the exact source of the disease. What concerns me is the source of infection. They have no idea. That's the most important thing. At the moment, it is a bad flu. Yes, it is something to be concerned about and it is probably going to get worse in terms of infections and mortality, because it's winter. Climate Change And Flu Ironically, initial research seemed to point towards climate change actually benefitting our health. It was thought to be one of the few positives to a very negative, with fewer deaths to mourn as a result of respiratory illnesses. After all, those are common in colder areas, where flu gets to spread like a wildfire as the result of harsh winter days and poor ventilation. Warmer weather would, logically speaking, counteract this. Unfortunately, new research has cast doubt over this hypothesis. In a worrisome twist, some are now concerned that climate change could actually worsen pandemics. This has to do with the way in which viruses, including influenza and HIV, develop and spread. It has already been proven that certain strains of influenza, usually occurring in the winter, are now able to survive in warmer temperatures. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected What has also been found is that seasonal diseases like the influenza are rearing their ugly heads earlier in the year - all while being more powerful. There appears to be a strong link between warm winters and the consequent flu breakouts immediately after. Meaning, a warm winter with a mild flu season will usually trigger an earlier and more severe flu outbreak in the following year. 2020 on track to be worst US flu season in decades  This explains why these viruses have been found in Asia during their summer months, having been brought over by birds, who have been pushed further north by climate change and warmer winters. This allows them to come in contact with other bird species and, consequently, other forms of influenza. Together, this leads to poultry interchanging flu types and incubating new and potentially dangerous new strains. These feathered migrating creatures then hold the power of spreading these diseases over the world, with our regular influenza seeding in Southeast Asia before taking over the rest of the world in a miserable swoop during our winters. Flu And Climate Change: Older Adults (Above 65 years) According to the CDC , people aged 65 and older are at a greater risk for serious complications from the flu. This is because the immune system typically weakens with age. Flu infection can also worsen long-term health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and asthma. Some of this has been contributed to the changing La Niña, an increase in the intensity and frequency of this weather phenomenon, causing different flu types to converge as a result of birds and animals that are normally not found together mixing. Not only does this lead to more creatures being infected, it also moulds influenza genetic material in new combinations. Flu And Climate Change: We Can’t Predict How Bad 2019th & 2020th Year’s Flu Season Will Be The outlook for 2019’s & 2020's flu season is not particularly rosy, based on the relatively mild 2018 season and warm winters. Yet it is nearly impossible to predict until we find ourselves in the midst of the epidemic - at which point there is not much to do but sit it out. And ‘sitting it out’ can be anything from a mild nuisance to a life-threatening event. The influenza illness, or the flu in short, is characterised by a sudden onset of a high fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and a dry cough - symptoms that get progressively worse over the first few days. Although most people infected will not require any medical attention, there are instances where high-risk groups, including the pregnant and elderly, could suffer from very dangerous complications. In 2018, the World Health Organisation characterised that year’s flu season as pretty mild. This characterisation is made based on the speed of circulation, the seriousness, and the impact of the  disease. So, in short, how fast it spreads, how many people are hospitalised or even die, and the strain it puts on hospitals and doctors. In 2017, on the other hand, there was a pretty serious outbreak, that started early and had a serious impact on society. And it looks as if 2019 is going to follow in its footsteps. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, Why Is It So Hard To Predict? The problem with making predictions regarding the severity of the flu season is the fact that there are actually four different types of viruses to consider, that can be categorised in influenza types A, with subtypes H1N1pdm09 and H3N2, and B, with lineages B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. Although those at higher risk may choose to get vaccinated, these vaccinations only protect against certain of those (sub)types. What this means is that those vaccinated will not be fully covered against all types - nor will a previous infection with one type protect you against other types. Add to this that influenza viruses are in constant flux, meaning that a certain vaccine or previous infection will not grant immunity for next season’s slightly altered viruses, and it is not hard to see why flu can be such a tough opponent. Predicting flu is very difficult Additionally, it poses a problem for tracking the specific (sub)types: hospitals and doctors generally do not collect information on the specific viruses that they come across in their practice. Not only is this process time-consuming and costly, it does not add anything of value to the treatment plan either. An unfortunate side effect is that it makes it that much harder to observe the circulation pattern of a specific virus, in turn making general flu patterns across seasons hard to predict. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, What’s Happening Elsewhere In The World? Not only is it hard to predict flu trends over time, it is equally hard to find trends over space. Even though increased (air) travel has made it easier for viruses to mutate and find their way across the globe, there is no consistent pattern of flu viruses travelling the globe. During the same flu season, very different viruses can dominate on different continents. Where Is Influenza Most Common? A study in 2015 looked into where influenza is most common, alongside how it spreads around the globe. While there are cases of it appearing all around the world, scientists found that it is far more prominent in the east than in the west, particularly in Southeast Asia. Influenza most common in South-East Asia. Now the Caronavirus! Even the timing can differ. Particularly in (sub)tropical areas, where there are no real winters, there can be multiple flu seasons each year, circulating at vastly different times. Some have pointed at climate or even tourism as the reason for this variation, although a causal relationship is yet to be established. It is notoriously hard to predict those kind of patterns as well, although we are slowly getting to a place where modern technologies and an increased understanding of the flu are allowing for better analysis and tracking. Yet there is still a long way to go. Flu And Climate Change: Definite History Of The Flu Looking back in time, though, we are certainly much more on the ball than we ever were before. We are documenting and analysing far more than our ancestors. The very first reported instances of the flu might date back to 500 BCE, with Greek historians reporting on a so-called ‘three-year plague’, that boasted symptoms much like our flu. However, descriptions were so scarce that many historians are not convinced that it actually was. What we do know is that the disease did not get its name until well in the 14th century, when the term ‘influenza’, the Italian word for ‘influence’, was coined to describe it. This ‘influence’ was contributed to either cold weather or a misalignment of stars and planets. And although many different terms have been used to describe it since, this is the one that stuck. Although the beast had been given a name, it was not until some 80 years ago that scientists actually managed to debunk the flu virus, thanks to the invention of the electron microscope. Pictures of the flu could now be made and shared, with distinctions finally made between the most prominent types. Soon after, the first influenza vaccines hit the market, including those that were capable of preventing more than one strain. As the world evolved, so did the flu and our ways of dealing with it. Unfortunately, with climate change ramping up, we are about to enter a new phase of epidemics, pandemics and the spread of diseases like the flu. Climate change might even amplify its causes and effects and lead to the creation of mutated, vaccine-resistant strains that can be equally hard to control and contain. Tips & Tricks to Avoid Colds And Flu This Winter That sounds like doom and gloom. Yet it is important to realise that there is always something that we can do about it. What is the best way of staying ahead of the flu, even in this time of climate change possibly amplifying its spread and severity? There are a few tips and tricks that will minimise your chances of contracting it. Wash hands For most of us, washing our hands is a totally normal thing to do. During flu season, you might consider doing so a bit more often. Most viruses are transmitted by air, although they can just as easily be transferred through physical contact. Once we get the disease-spreading germs on our hands, they can easily invade our bodies when we touch our eyes, mouths or noses. By frequently washing our hands with soap and drying them using clean hand towels or paper towels, it will be much harder for a virus to get a hold of us. Dress appropriately Although the concept of ‘having caught a cold’ by standing out in the literal cold has been somewhat debunked, it is still imperative to stay warm and dress appropriately during the colder seasons. Once we are cold, we tend to shiver - an action that affects our immune system, making us more susceptible to lurking viruses. Get yourself a decent sweater and coat, and don’t forget your hat, as we lose quite a bit of our body heat through our head. Avoid crowded spaces One of the preferred breeding grounds for viruses is public transportation, alongside crowded stores and poorly ventilated office buildings. Basically, small and cramped spaces in which a lot of people crowd together. Here, infections spread easily, jumping from one person to the next. The fact that central heating is blasting in most of those spaces does not help either, as this tends to weaken our natural defences and negatively affect our respiratory system. Take vitamins Vitamins are a great way of boosting your immune system. Various minerals and herbs have been proven to help us kick nasty viruses to the curb. Zinc, vitamin C and garlic have been found to reduce the frequency of colds and flu. Echinacea, a plant used by the native Americans to combat infections, is another great booster of our immune system. Taking some kind of multivitamin that includes those minerals and herbs can really do wonders in avoiding the next round of flu going around. Keep an eye on the weather Certain weather conditions have been found to be a real breeding ground for nasty germs. Especially when there are low cloud, dull and misty conditions, so when there is a lot of moist in the air, viruses tend to survive (much) longer. They will attach themselves to the water droplets, while a lack of wind will keep them around, instead of being blown away. So be wary of going outside when this kind of weather is forecast. Sleep well One of the hardest things to do in our busy lives is to ensure that we get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, it is extremely important for our health: a lack of sleep has been found to be a risk factor for contracting the flu or other infections. Yet it is not just getting enough hours of sleep that matters, your state of mind also helps. If you are happy and content, this will reflect positively on your immune system. Being stressed and overworked, on the other hand, will be a sure way of catching that nasty bug going around at work. Drink plenty Drinking plenty of water is one of the most commonly given pieces of advice by doctors and medical professionals worldwide. Water will quite literally flush out all toxins and bad elements from our bodies, making it harder for any viruses to gain a foothold. And even if you find yourself having caught an infection, water will once again be your best friend, helping you to get it out of your system again as soon as possible. Exercise frequently Did you know that regular exercising will summon the so-called natural killer cells in our bodies? These little soldiers are tasked with finding and fighting all kind of invaders, making us more resistant against infections. At the same time, going on a jog or hitting the gym will be a great way of keeping our circulation going. Our bodies are simply better at dealing with any foreign threats when subjected to regular exercise. Recommended:  Getting Healthier By Eating Sustainable Food And Taking Exercise Tips & Tricks To Ease Flu Symptoms Still managed to contract a nasty flu? Then rest assured that you are not alone, as millions and millions of people are hit by this disease each year. And while there really is not much that you can do to prevent or cure it, there are some natural ways of relieving its worst symptoms. How long does it take to get over the flu? In general, healthy people usually get over a cold in 7 to 10 days. Flu symptoms, including fever, should go away after about 5 days, but you may still have a cough and feel weak a few days longer. All your symptoms should be gone within 1 to 2 weeks. Rest at home The healing power of a good nap in your own bed might even outshine that of the commonly prescribed medicines. Make sure that you cancel all and any plans that you may have, preferably for the next few days - as you are now contagious and pretty sick. Make good use of those extra hours in bed to give your ailing body some rest. Drink, drink, and drink some more! Drinking is important in preventing infections, but even if you already find yourself the unfortunate owner of a brand new strain of the flu, drinking is a great way of getting rid of it as soon as possible. It does not necessarily have to be water. If you prefer fruit juices, sports drinks or broth-based soups, they will do the trick as well. Staying hydrated does wonders for your respiratory system and will flush that bug out of your system before you know it. Fight the fever Running a fever means that your body is busy fighting this nasty invader. The best thing for you to do is help it by getting your hands on appropriate over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, which will both lower your fever and fight the associated aches. Fight the cough While you are already in the pharmacy, you might want to pick up something for that nasty cough that has accompanied the infection. Other ways of clearing your airways and unclogging that runny nose include sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom, using a humidifier, sucking on a lozenge, or trying out a salt-based nose spray. Fighting The Flu Whether you are simply suffering from the ‘sniffles’ or a climate change activist warning against the effect that global warming will have on the flu, it is important to realise that we can do quite a bit in preventing the disease from grabbing a hold of us in the first place. The earlier tips on preventing the flu are vital in staying healthy, although the question remains whether this will sustainable in the long run. With climate change drastically changing the world as we know it, it is likely to also change the way in which we get sick. This might mean that the flu will change from something relatively innocent into something looming and potentially dangerous. New mutations and variations might spread across the world faster than ever before and create more havoc as winters get warmer and flu seasons intensify. Up to us to avoid a future where the simple common cold might actually turn into a killer epidemic. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
No one will be surprised to hear that there is a worryingly wide range of problems associated with climate change. From extreme weather events to melting ice caps and the extinction of animal species - these have all been well-researched to fall somewhere in the range of ‘likely’ to ‘highly probable’. Perhaps not as obvious is the suddenly rise of the Corona virus and the flu, as a direct result of climate change. How does that even work? Let’s try to find out in this article and read the Tips & Tricks to avoid or treat Flu! Coronavirus And Climate Change: Winter And Traveling Makes People More Vurnerable New Coronavirus Can Spread Person-to-Person A new coronavirus that began sickening people in China late in 2019 can be transmitted from human to human, China’s health ministry announced last Monday. The mysterious respiratory illness emerged last month in a fish market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, and officials thought it was mostly passed from animals to humans. However, Zhong Nanshan of China's National Health Commission said two people who lived hundreds of miles away caught the virus from a family member who had visited Wuhan. How did the coronavirus start in China? Wuhan coronavirus may have been transmitted to people from snakes. A new coronavirus that has claimed 17 lives in Wuhan, China, may have been transmitted to people from snakes, according to a genetic analysis. The snakes may have caught the virus from bats in the food market in which both animals were sold. Snakes, the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra may be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this winter. The many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus), also known as the Taiwanese krait or the Chinese krait, is a highly venomous species of elapid snake found in much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia. Many Banded Krait Coronavirus What is the coronavirus in humans? Coronaviruses are types of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. They are associated with the common cold, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut. The current cases show there is definitely human-to-human transmission. Officials on Wednesday 22-01-2020 also announced that the virus had killed seventeen people. The illness can cause fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia. As of Thursday 23-01-2020, it has sickened at least 571 people worldwide (Japan, US, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea). Fifteen health workers have also been infected, and it has now spread to various places in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, second right, shows visitors from Wuhan receiving health screening at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province on Jan 5. He said on Monday that a Chinese woman found infected with a new strain of coronavirus was in quarantine and being treated in Nonthaburi province. {youtube}                                       Corona Virus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection? How do you catch coronavirus? Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans. Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person's hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched. The disease has also spread outside China: Two cases were diagnosed in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in Taiwan. The Philippines also reported a suspected case Tuesday. There are fears the disease could spread further as millions are expected to travel throughout Asia Tuesday for the Lunar New Year. Airports in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco will begin screening passengers coming from Wuhan. The new virus has raised the specter of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that killed almost 800 people in 2002 and 2003. Zhong, who also helped discover SARS, said the new disease was not as infectious, but was ‘climbing’. How long does the coronavirus live? How long does the virus survive in the environment? Outdoors, the virus can usually only survive for hours or days. Indoors, in dried-up cat litter, it can survive for up to seven weeks. This undated file image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS Coronavirus, Flu And Climate: The Corona Virus Has Been Underreported Researchers at Imperial College London also think the new virus has been severely underreported. Officials are also concerned that they do not yet know the exact source of the disease. What concerns me is the source of infection. They have no idea. That's the most important thing. At the moment, it is a bad flu. Yes, it is something to be concerned about and it is probably going to get worse in terms of infections and mortality, because it's winter. Climate Change And Flu Ironically, initial research seemed to point towards climate change actually benefitting our health. It was thought to be one of the few positives to a very negative, with fewer deaths to mourn as a result of respiratory illnesses. After all, those are common in colder areas, where flu gets to spread like a wildfire as the result of harsh winter days and poor ventilation. Warmer weather would, logically speaking, counteract this. Unfortunately, new research has cast doubt over this hypothesis. In a worrisome twist, some are now concerned that climate change could actually worsen pandemics. This has to do with the way in which viruses, including influenza and HIV, develop and spread. It has already been proven that certain strains of influenza, usually occurring in the winter, are now able to survive in warmer temperatures. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected What has also been found is that seasonal diseases like the influenza are rearing their ugly heads earlier in the year - all while being more powerful. There appears to be a strong link between warm winters and the consequent flu breakouts immediately after. Meaning, a warm winter with a mild flu season will usually trigger an earlier and more severe flu outbreak in the following year. 2020 on track to be worst US flu season in decades  This explains why these viruses have been found in Asia during their summer months, having been brought over by birds, who have been pushed further north by climate change and warmer winters. This allows them to come in contact with other bird species and, consequently, other forms of influenza. Together, this leads to poultry interchanging flu types and incubating new and potentially dangerous new strains. These feathered migrating creatures then hold the power of spreading these diseases over the world, with our regular influenza seeding in Southeast Asia before taking over the rest of the world in a miserable swoop during our winters. Flu And Climate Change: Older Adults (Above 65 years) According to the CDC , people aged 65 and older are at a greater risk for serious complications from the flu. This is because the immune system typically weakens with age. Flu infection can also worsen long-term health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and asthma. Some of this has been contributed to the changing La Niña, an increase in the intensity and frequency of this weather phenomenon, causing different flu types to converge as a result of birds and animals that are normally not found together mixing. Not only does this lead to more creatures being infected, it also moulds influenza genetic material in new combinations. Flu And Climate Change: We Can’t Predict How Bad 2019th & 2020th Year’s Flu Season Will Be The outlook for 2019’s & 2020's flu season is not particularly rosy, based on the relatively mild 2018 season and warm winters. Yet it is nearly impossible to predict until we find ourselves in the midst of the epidemic - at which point there is not much to do but sit it out. And ‘sitting it out’ can be anything from a mild nuisance to a life-threatening event. The influenza illness, or the flu in short, is characterised by a sudden onset of a high fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and a dry cough - symptoms that get progressively worse over the first few days. Although most people infected will not require any medical attention, there are instances where high-risk groups, including the pregnant and elderly, could suffer from very dangerous complications. In 2018, the World Health Organisation characterised that year’s flu season as pretty mild. This characterisation is made based on the speed of circulation, the seriousness, and the impact of the  disease. So, in short, how fast it spreads, how many people are hospitalised or even die, and the strain it puts on hospitals and doctors. In 2017, on the other hand, there was a pretty serious outbreak, that started early and had a serious impact on society. And it looks as if 2019 is going to follow in its footsteps. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, Why Is It So Hard To Predict? The problem with making predictions regarding the severity of the flu season is the fact that there are actually four different types of viruses to consider, that can be categorised in influenza types A, with subtypes H1N1pdm09 and H3N2, and B, with lineages B/Victoria and B/Yamagata. Although those at higher risk may choose to get vaccinated, these vaccinations only protect against certain of those (sub)types. What this means is that those vaccinated will not be fully covered against all types - nor will a previous infection with one type protect you against other types. Add to this that influenza viruses are in constant flux, meaning that a certain vaccine or previous infection will not grant immunity for next season’s slightly altered viruses, and it is not hard to see why flu can be such a tough opponent. Predicting flu is very difficult Additionally, it poses a problem for tracking the specific (sub)types: hospitals and doctors generally do not collect information on the specific viruses that they come across in their practice. Not only is this process time-consuming and costly, it does not add anything of value to the treatment plan either. An unfortunate side effect is that it makes it that much harder to observe the circulation pattern of a specific virus, in turn making general flu patterns across seasons hard to predict. Flu And Climate Change: Flu, What’s Happening Elsewhere In The World? Not only is it hard to predict flu trends over time, it is equally hard to find trends over space. Even though increased (air) travel has made it easier for viruses to mutate and find their way across the globe, there is no consistent pattern of flu viruses travelling the globe. During the same flu season, very different viruses can dominate on different continents. Where Is Influenza Most Common? A study in 2015 looked into where influenza is most common, alongside how it spreads around the globe. While there are cases of it appearing all around the world, scientists found that it is far more prominent in the east than in the west, particularly in Southeast Asia. Influenza most common in South-East Asia. Now the Caronavirus! Even the timing can differ. Particularly in (sub)tropical areas, where there are no real winters, there can be multiple flu seasons each year, circulating at vastly different times. Some have pointed at climate or even tourism as the reason for this variation, although a causal relationship is yet to be established. It is notoriously hard to predict those kind of patterns as well, although we are slowly getting to a place where modern technologies and an increased understanding of the flu are allowing for better analysis and tracking. Yet there is still a long way to go. Flu And Climate Change: Definite History Of The Flu Looking back in time, though, we are certainly much more on the ball than we ever were before. We are documenting and analysing far more than our ancestors. The very first reported instances of the flu might date back to 500 BCE, with Greek historians reporting on a so-called ‘three-year plague’, that boasted symptoms much like our flu. However, descriptions were so scarce that many historians are not convinced that it actually was. What we do know is that the disease did not get its name until well in the 14th century, when the term ‘influenza’, the Italian word for ‘influence’, was coined to describe it. This ‘influence’ was contributed to either cold weather or a misalignment of stars and planets. And although many different terms have been used to describe it since, this is the one that stuck. Although the beast had been given a name, it was not until some 80 years ago that scientists actually managed to debunk the flu virus, thanks to the invention of the electron microscope. Pictures of the flu could now be made and shared, with distinctions finally made between the most prominent types. Soon after, the first influenza vaccines hit the market, including those that were capable of preventing more than one strain. As the world evolved, so did the flu and our ways of dealing with it. Unfortunately, with climate change ramping up, we are about to enter a new phase of epidemics, pandemics and the spread of diseases like the flu. Climate change might even amplify its causes and effects and lead to the creation of mutated, vaccine-resistant strains that can be equally hard to control and contain. Tips & Tricks to Avoid Colds And Flu This Winter That sounds like doom and gloom. Yet it is important to realise that there is always something that we can do about it. What is the best way of staying ahead of the flu, even in this time of climate change possibly amplifying its spread and severity? There are a few tips and tricks that will minimise your chances of contracting it. Wash hands For most of us, washing our hands is a totally normal thing to do. During flu season, you might consider doing so a bit more often. Most viruses are transmitted by air, although they can just as easily be transferred through physical contact. Once we get the disease-spreading germs on our hands, they can easily invade our bodies when we touch our eyes, mouths or noses. By frequently washing our hands with soap and drying them using clean hand towels or paper towels, it will be much harder for a virus to get a hold of us. Dress appropriately Although the concept of ‘having caught a cold’ by standing out in the literal cold has been somewhat debunked, it is still imperative to stay warm and dress appropriately during the colder seasons. Once we are cold, we tend to shiver - an action that affects our immune system, making us more susceptible to lurking viruses. Get yourself a decent sweater and coat, and don’t forget your hat, as we lose quite a bit of our body heat through our head. Avoid crowded spaces One of the preferred breeding grounds for viruses is public transportation, alongside crowded stores and poorly ventilated office buildings. Basically, small and cramped spaces in which a lot of people crowd together. Here, infections spread easily, jumping from one person to the next. The fact that central heating is blasting in most of those spaces does not help either, as this tends to weaken our natural defences and negatively affect our respiratory system. Take vitamins Vitamins are a great way of boosting your immune system. Various minerals and herbs have been proven to help us kick nasty viruses to the curb. Zinc, vitamin C and garlic have been found to reduce the frequency of colds and flu. Echinacea, a plant used by the native Americans to combat infections, is another great booster of our immune system. Taking some kind of multivitamin that includes those minerals and herbs can really do wonders in avoiding the next round of flu going around. Keep an eye on the weather Certain weather conditions have been found to be a real breeding ground for nasty germs. Especially when there are low cloud, dull and misty conditions, so when there is a lot of moist in the air, viruses tend to survive (much) longer. They will attach themselves to the water droplets, while a lack of wind will keep them around, instead of being blown away. So be wary of going outside when this kind of weather is forecast. Sleep well One of the hardest things to do in our busy lives is to ensure that we get a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, it is extremely important for our health: a lack of sleep has been found to be a risk factor for contracting the flu or other infections. Yet it is not just getting enough hours of sleep that matters, your state of mind also helps. If you are happy and content, this will reflect positively on your immune system. Being stressed and overworked, on the other hand, will be a sure way of catching that nasty bug going around at work. Drink plenty Drinking plenty of water is one of the most commonly given pieces of advice by doctors and medical professionals worldwide. Water will quite literally flush out all toxins and bad elements from our bodies, making it harder for any viruses to gain a foothold. And even if you find yourself having caught an infection, water will once again be your best friend, helping you to get it out of your system again as soon as possible. Exercise frequently Did you know that regular exercising will summon the so-called natural killer cells in our bodies? These little soldiers are tasked with finding and fighting all kind of invaders, making us more resistant against infections. At the same time, going on a jog or hitting the gym will be a great way of keeping our circulation going. Our bodies are simply better at dealing with any foreign threats when subjected to regular exercise. Recommended:  Getting Healthier By Eating Sustainable Food And Taking Exercise Tips & Tricks To Ease Flu Symptoms Still managed to contract a nasty flu? Then rest assured that you are not alone, as millions and millions of people are hit by this disease each year. And while there really is not much that you can do to prevent or cure it, there are some natural ways of relieving its worst symptoms. How long does it take to get over the flu? In general, healthy people usually get over a cold in 7 to 10 days. Flu symptoms, including fever, should go away after about 5 days, but you may still have a cough and feel weak a few days longer. All your symptoms should be gone within 1 to 2 weeks. Rest at home The healing power of a good nap in your own bed might even outshine that of the commonly prescribed medicines. Make sure that you cancel all and any plans that you may have, preferably for the next few days - as you are now contagious and pretty sick. Make good use of those extra hours in bed to give your ailing body some rest. Drink, drink, and drink some more! Drinking is important in preventing infections, but even if you already find yourself the unfortunate owner of a brand new strain of the flu, drinking is a great way of getting rid of it as soon as possible. It does not necessarily have to be water. If you prefer fruit juices, sports drinks or broth-based soups, they will do the trick as well. Staying hydrated does wonders for your respiratory system and will flush that bug out of your system before you know it. Fight the fever Running a fever means that your body is busy fighting this nasty invader. The best thing for you to do is help it by getting your hands on appropriate over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, which will both lower your fever and fight the associated aches. Fight the cough While you are already in the pharmacy, you might want to pick up something for that nasty cough that has accompanied the infection. Other ways of clearing your airways and unclogging that runny nose include sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom, using a humidifier, sucking on a lozenge, or trying out a salt-based nose spray. Fighting The Flu Whether you are simply suffering from the ‘sniffles’ or a climate change activist warning against the effect that global warming will have on the flu, it is important to realise that we can do quite a bit in preventing the disease from grabbing a hold of us in the first place. The earlier tips on preventing the flu are vital in staying healthy, although the question remains whether this will sustainable in the long run. With climate change drastically changing the world as we know it, it is likely to also change the way in which we get sick. This might mean that the flu will change from something relatively innocent into something looming and potentially dangerous. New mutations and variations might spread across the world faster than ever before and create more havoc as winters get warmer and flu seasons intensify. Up to us to avoid a future where the simple common cold might actually turn into a killer epidemic. Before you go! Recommended:  Smart Sustainable Lifestyle Changing Tips & Tricks For 2019 Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Re g ister'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection?
Coronavirus, Flu And Climate Change: Is There A Connection?
Rescue Globally: Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change
Nowadays, CO2 is extracted from the industry by using molecules known as amines (an organic compound), which react with CO2. DTU has introduced a new method of removing CO2 from human blood using molecules. The new technology may help prevent climate change. Rescue Globally: Cleaning Gasses Governments all over the world need to act as quick as possible, climate change is moving fast, and we need to prevent further alteration. The Danish government took an important step recently to reduce CO2-emissions by 70 per cent before 2030. How they want to do that is yet unknown. At this moment, we are still relying on fossil fuels. It would be way cheaper and more logical to avoid CO2-emissions reaching the atmosphere by cleaning the gases instead of removing it. Rescue Globally: Polluting Tackled At The Source The concept is comparable to wastewater treatment plants that clean water at the source, instead of polluting and cleaning the oceans years later. That is why we need to implement CO2 capture and storage (CCS) on an industrial scale to secure the climate and prevent further global warming. Rescue Globally: Bio-Based Materials Are The Way Forward Carbon dioxide is separated from the waste gases coming from the power plants/process industry. It is then inserted passively under the land and the sea and stored. There are various storage options for CO2. Even if we were able to reduce the use of fossil fuels, we would still have to start by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Recommended:  Climate Change Efforts On Reducing CO2 Why Not Recycle It? Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change The better and more durable the technology is, the better global warming can be prevented. We need to use bio-based materials that are close to natural mechanisms, like plant photosynthesis or human respiration. These natural processes could relegate the carbon dioxide level. The amines which we use to react with CO2 are synthetic organic chemicals. They do not correlate with nature. By replacing them with natural materials from a biological origin, we can find the right balance. That is why we could better use materials we do not need synthetic processes for. Thus, we could use human blood or respiration. How Can Human Blood Help? {youtube}                                            Rescue Globally: Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change                                                                  Capturing CO2 - Mongstad, Norway Human blood consists of many biological chemicals and compounds. It transmits nutrients such as proteins, oxygen, sugars and fats to our body cells. Also, a lot of waste products are transported by the blood, including carbon dioxide, a by-product of our metabolism. Besides, various helpful substances such as enzymes and electrolytes maintain the right balance in the composition of the blood and keep our bodies healthy. Enzymes are biological reactors that significantly increase the speed of the chemical reaction. We have a lot of enzymes in our blood, and one of them is carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase helps to capture CO2 from different body parts, and release it in pure form into our lungs, where it is then exhaled. We can use this process outside our body as well. When used in existing carbon capture plants, the enzyme can capture CO2 forever. Recommended:  Energy Miracle Algae. 10.000 Barrels A Day, Less CO2: 2025 Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change: The Projects Has Potential Not long ago, the carbonic anhydrase enzyme is studied for carbon capture applications at DHU. The results are quite promising and state that a combination of an enzyme and a portable biological material can efficiently separate CO2 from the gas mixture. The result is the elaboration of a new process where CO2 can be chemically absorbed in the biological material. The bio-based molecules can be converted back to gaseous CO2. All in all, the project aims to achieve potential energy savings and ecological sustainability. This process has to potential to disrupt the area of CO2 capture. With the help of bio-based molecules, we could almost create artificial lungs for the world. This would be amazing! But for now, we will be focusing on developing bio-based carbon capture and storage (Bio-CCS). For the next decade, the new technology concept will be available for first commercial use. Human Blood Prevent Climate Change. It Will Work, But Is It Enough? This is not always possible. It is tempting to have a project or process that is similar to the actual human lung, which pollutes CO2 with the help of natural materials. If we want to reduce climate change, we need different approaches. These approaches need to be close to nature and close to ourselves to be technologically feasible and socially acceptable. Recommended:  How An Artificial Leaf Sucks CO2 And Makes Fuel. Amazing! We know for sure that this technique works. But we need to put all our efforts together to make a change, to reduce CO2-emissions. Global Bio-CCS systems need to be put in place to achieve a carbon-negative emission standard by 2050 that meets the objectives of the Paris agreement. We need time and resources to beat climate change. But we can do something if we all help. This new technology may be a small step for us, for CCS, but a giant leap for the global environment. Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change Stop, Store CO2, Add Phytoplankton By Whales? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Nowadays, CO2 is extracted from the industry by using molecules known as amines (an organic compound), which react with CO2. DTU has introduced a new method of removing CO2 from human blood using molecules. The new technology may help prevent climate change. Rescue Globally: Cleaning Gasses Governments all over the world need to act as quick as possible, climate change is moving fast, and we need to prevent further alteration. The Danish government took an important step recently to reduce CO2-emissions by 70 per cent before 2030. How they want to do that is yet unknown. At this moment, we are still relying on fossil fuels. It would be way cheaper and more logical to avoid CO2-emissions reaching the atmosphere by cleaning the gases instead of removing it. Rescue Globally: Polluting Tackled At The Source The concept is comparable to wastewater treatment plants that clean water at the source, instead of polluting and cleaning the oceans years later. That is why we need to implement CO2 capture and storage (CCS) on an industrial scale to secure the climate and prevent further global warming. Rescue Globally: Bio-Based Materials Are The Way Forward Carbon dioxide is separated from the waste gases coming from the power plants/process industry. It is then inserted passively under the land and the sea and stored. There are various storage options for CO2. Even if we were able to reduce the use of fossil fuels, we would still have to start by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Recommended:  Climate Change Efforts On Reducing CO2 Why Not Recycle It? Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change The better and more durable the technology is, the better global warming can be prevented. We need to use bio-based materials that are close to natural mechanisms, like plant photosynthesis or human respiration. These natural processes could relegate the carbon dioxide level. The amines which we use to react with CO2 are synthetic organic chemicals. They do not correlate with nature. By replacing them with natural materials from a biological origin, we can find the right balance. That is why we could better use materials we do not need synthetic processes for. Thus, we could use human blood or respiration. How Can Human Blood Help? {youtube}                                            Rescue Globally: Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change                                                                  Capturing CO2 - Mongstad, Norway Human blood consists of many biological chemicals and compounds. It transmits nutrients such as proteins, oxygen, sugars and fats to our body cells. Also, a lot of waste products are transported by the blood, including carbon dioxide, a by-product of our metabolism. Besides, various helpful substances such as enzymes and electrolytes maintain the right balance in the composition of the blood and keep our bodies healthy. Enzymes are biological reactors that significantly increase the speed of the chemical reaction. We have a lot of enzymes in our blood, and one of them is carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase helps to capture CO2 from different body parts, and release it in pure form into our lungs, where it is then exhaled. We can use this process outside our body as well. When used in existing carbon capture plants, the enzyme can capture CO2 forever. Recommended:  Energy Miracle Algae. 10.000 Barrels A Day, Less CO2: 2025 Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change: The Projects Has Potential Not long ago, the carbonic anhydrase enzyme is studied for carbon capture applications at DHU. The results are quite promising and state that a combination of an enzyme and a portable biological material can efficiently separate CO2 from the gas mixture. The result is the elaboration of a new process where CO2 can be chemically absorbed in the biological material. The bio-based molecules can be converted back to gaseous CO2. All in all, the project aims to achieve potential energy savings and ecological sustainability. This process has to potential to disrupt the area of CO2 capture. With the help of bio-based molecules, we could almost create artificial lungs for the world. This would be amazing! But for now, we will be focusing on developing bio-based carbon capture and storage (Bio-CCS). For the next decade, the new technology concept will be available for first commercial use. Human Blood Prevent Climate Change. It Will Work, But Is It Enough? This is not always possible. It is tempting to have a project or process that is similar to the actual human lung, which pollutes CO2 with the help of natural materials. If we want to reduce climate change, we need different approaches. These approaches need to be close to nature and close to ourselves to be technologically feasible and socially acceptable. Recommended:  How An Artificial Leaf Sucks CO2 And Makes Fuel. Amazing! We know for sure that this technique works. But we need to put all our efforts together to make a change, to reduce CO2-emissions. Global Bio-CCS systems need to be put in place to achieve a carbon-negative emission standard by 2050 that meets the objectives of the Paris agreement. We need time and resources to beat climate change. But we can do something if we all help. This new technology may be a small step for us, for CCS, but a giant leap for the global environment. Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change Stop, Store CO2, Add Phytoplankton By Whales? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Rescue Globally: Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change
Rescue Globally: Human Blood Can Help Prevent Climate Change
Society Collapse: Climate Change, The Environment Or Us?
Nowadays, we are making the world worse. True or not? A study of the downfall of historical civilisations has shown that we face many risks currently. Historian Arnold Toynbee explains in his 12-volume 'A study of History’ that great civilisations take their own lives and not of others. But in fact, that is not the whole truth: other elements help with their self-destruction. The Roman Empire The Roman Empire, for example, did not only destruct itself, but due to poor leadership, damage to the environment and climate change, Rome was a victim. In 410 Rome was plundered by the Visigoths and in 455 by the Vandals. The Roman Empire contained 4.4 million square kilometres in 390. Five years later it had collapsed to 2 million square kilometres. By 476, the empire's range was practically nil. A repeating failure characterises our deep past. What can the rise and fall of historical civilisations tell us about ours? What are the forces that bring down or slow down a collapse? And do we see comparable patterns today? Recommended:  Siberia, Africa, Australia, Are Burning: What Caused It? Lifespan Of Civilisations At first, we need to look at past civilisations and compare their lifespan. This can be difficult. In this study, we look at agriculture, multiple cities, military dominance in its geographical region and a continuous political structure. You can say that all empires are civilisations, but not all cultures are empires. What is civilization? A civilization is generally defined as an advanced state of human society containing highly developed forms of government, culture, industry, and common social norms. London, Great Brittain. The end of an empire.... Almost all past civilisations have dealt with a collapse. This meant a fast and prolonged loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services fall apart, and disorder is created when the government loses its monopoly on violence. Some civilisations have recovered (the Chinese and Egyptians, for example), and other collapses were permanent (Easter Island, for example). In Rome, the destruction was revived. What can this tell us concerning the future of modern global civilisation? Is collapse a normal phenomenon for civilisations? {youtube}                                                 Society Collapse: Climate Change, The Environment Or Us?                                                                          Will America Fall Like Rome? Maybe societies of the past and the present are simply complex systems made up of people and technology. Failing is part of life, so collapse can also be a regular phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and stage. We are more technologically advanced now, but that does not mean we can concur every unpredicted challenge. We are not immune to new technology. What is technology? It includes machines (like computers) but also techniques and processes (like the way we produce computer chips). It might seem like all technology is only electronic, but that's just most modern technology. In fact, a hammer and the wheel are two examples of early human technology. Society Collapse: What Can The Past Tell Us? While there is no one acceptable theory for the why of collapses, historians, anthropologists, and others have suggested various explanations, including: Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Society Collapse: Climate Change , when the climate's stability changes, the results can be catastrophic, resulting in crop failures, famine and desertification Environmental degradation . Collapse can occur when societies exceed the carrying capacity of their environment. This ecological collapse theory points to over-deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity as causes of precipitation. Oil pollution, China Society Collapse: Inequality and Oligarchy. Wealth and political disparity can be central drivers of social disruption, as well as aristocracy and centralisation of power among leaders. This not only causes social suffering but hampers a society's ability to respond to ecological, social and economic problems. For example, the population grows; this exceeds the demand for labour. Workers become cheaper; society becomes top-heavy. This inequality undermines collective solidarity, and political unrest follows. What is government oligarchy? Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); meaning 'few', and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning 'to rule or to command') is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. Protests in Paris Society Collapse: Complexity.  Joseph Tainter, a collapse expert and historian, says that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Another indicator of increasing complexity is called Energy Return on Investment (EROI). This refers to the proportion between the amount of energy produced by raw material and the energy needed to obtain it. Like complexity, EROI seems to have a point at which efficiency decreases. Society Collapse: External Shocks.  In other words, the 'four horsemen': war, natural disasters, starvation and plagues. The Aztec Empire, for example, was destroyed by Spanish invaders. Most of the early agricultural states were volatile due to deadly epidemics. The concentration of people and livestock in walled colonies with poor hygiene made disease outbreaks inevitable and disastrous. Disasters sometimes went hand in hand, as was the case with the Spanish introduction of salmonella into America. Society Collapse: Randomness & Bad Luck.  A statistical analysis of the empires suggests that the collapse is arbitrary and independent of age. Evolutionary biologist and data scientist Indre Zliobaite and her colleagues have observed a parallel pattern in the evolution of species. A simplified explanation for this apparent arbitrariness is the 'Red Queen Effect': if species are continually struggling to survive in a changing environment with numerous competitors, extinction is a consistent possibility. What is the Red Queen effect in evolution? The “Red Queen” hypothesis in evolution is related to the coevolution of species. It states that species must continuously adapt and evolve to pass on genes to the next generation and also to keep from going extinct when other species within a symbiotic relationship are evolving. Society Collapse: Indicators Recommended:  Is Neoliberalism Hurting Our Climate And The Paris Accord? Despite the overload of books and articles, we have no definitive explanation for the collapse of civilisations. What we do know is this: the factors mentioned above can all contribute. Stressors can overrun societal coping capacity, which can cause collapse. To examine a different kind of indicators of danger to see whether collapsing is rising or falling, we show you four possible metrics. These are measured over the past few decades: Temperature is a clear indicator of climate change Inequality is more complicated to calculate. The specific measurement of the Gini index suggests that inequality has reduced slightly worldwide (although it is increasing within countries). But the Gini index can be deceptive because it only measures relative changes in income The rich are becoming richer, which in the past has led to extra pressure on society. Studies show that the EROI for fossil fuels has declined steadily over time as the easiest to reach and most precious reserves are exhausted. Unfortunately, most of the renewable substitutes, such as solar energy, have a significantly lower EROI, mainly because of their energy density and the rare earth metals and production needed to produce them. Society Collapse: Measures Of Resilience The only positive thing is that collapses are not the entire picture. Social elasticity can slow down or prevent the collapse. The economic diversity is more significant than ever. We can cope more than ever, and we have more knowledge than ever. Especially, population groups with more experience may be better able to respond to crises when they occur. Also, the innovation of civilisation is rising. If we look at the collapse and elasticity indicators, we cannot be complacent. If we keep on innovate and diversify like this, we can be optimistic. Nevertheless, the world is deteriorating in areas that have contributed to the collapse of earlier societies. The climate is changing, the difference between rich and poor is growing, the world is becoming more and more complex, and our environmental demands exceed the carrying capacity of the planet. What does elasticity mean? Elasticity is a measure of a variable's sensitivity to a change in another variable. In business and economics, elasticity refers the degree to which individuals, consumers or producers change their demand or the amount supplied in response to price or income changes. Society Collapse: We May Fall Down Our weapons are more massive than it used to be (now: nuclear weapons and biological agents instead of arrows and swords). New tools of violence, such as deadly autonomous weapons, may be available in the near future. People are becoming exceptionally specialised and less involved in the manufacture of food and essential goods. Recommended:  Climate Change: Cause Of The Next Global Economic Collapse And a changing climate can destroy our ability to return to simple farming practices. With the expansion of nuclear weapons, we may already have reached the point of civilized 'terminal speed'. Any collapse threatens to be permanent. A nuclear war can lead to an actual risk: either the disappearance of our species or a permanent slingshot, back to the Stone Age.  Climate change is a different kind of threat than what the Maya's dealt with. Now, they are global, quicker, more dangerous and human-driven. A collapse of our civilisation is not unavoidable. History indicates that it is possible, we have the rare advantage of being able to learn from the pieces of the wreckage of societies' past. We know what we have to do, what needs to be done. We need to reduce the emissions, inequalities must become equal, and we have to care more about the environment. Innovation should be stimulated, and we need more diversity in economics. The policy suggestions are there; only the political will is missing. We can invest in recovering better. There are already well-developed ideas to improve the capacity of food and knowledge systems to recover after a disaster. We have to listen to the past, to improve ourselves. Do not walk blindly into the future that will destroy us. Before you go! Recommended:  Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about your society?  What you gain?  Extra:  Global exposure, a valuable backlink! Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Nowadays, we are making the world worse. True or not? A study of the downfall of historical civilisations has shown that we face many risks currently. Historian Arnold Toynbee explains in his 12-volume 'A study of History’ that great civilisations take their own lives and not of others. But in fact, that is not the whole truth: other elements help with their self-destruction. The Roman Empire The Roman Empire, for example, did not only destruct itself, but due to poor leadership, damage to the environment and climate change, Rome was a victim. In 410 Rome was plundered by the Visigoths and in 455 by the Vandals. The Roman Empire contained 4.4 million square kilometres in 390. Five years later it had collapsed to 2 million square kilometres. By 476, the empire's range was practically nil. A repeating failure characterises our deep past. What can the rise and fall of historical civilisations tell us about ours? What are the forces that bring down or slow down a collapse? And do we see comparable patterns today? Recommended:  Siberia, Africa, Australia, Are Burning: What Caused It? Lifespan Of Civilisations At first, we need to look at past civilisations and compare their lifespan. This can be difficult. In this study, we look at agriculture, multiple cities, military dominance in its geographical region and a continuous political structure. You can say that all empires are civilisations, but not all cultures are empires. What is civilization? A civilization is generally defined as an advanced state of human society containing highly developed forms of government, culture, industry, and common social norms. London, Great Brittain. The end of an empire.... Almost all past civilisations have dealt with a collapse. This meant a fast and prolonged loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services fall apart, and disorder is created when the government loses its monopoly on violence. Some civilisations have recovered (the Chinese and Egyptians, for example), and other collapses were permanent (Easter Island, for example). In Rome, the destruction was revived. What can this tell us concerning the future of modern global civilisation? Is collapse a normal phenomenon for civilisations? {youtube}                                                 Society Collapse: Climate Change, The Environment Or Us?                                                                          Will America Fall Like Rome? Maybe societies of the past and the present are simply complex systems made up of people and technology. Failing is part of life, so collapse can also be a regular phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and stage. We are more technologically advanced now, but that does not mean we can concur every unpredicted challenge. We are not immune to new technology. What is technology? It includes machines (like computers) but also techniques and processes (like the way we produce computer chips). It might seem like all technology is only electronic, but that's just most modern technology. In fact, a hammer and the wheel are two examples of early human technology. Society Collapse: What Can The Past Tell Us? While there is no one acceptable theory for the why of collapses, historians, anthropologists, and others have suggested various explanations, including: Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Society Collapse: Climate Change , when the climate's stability changes, the results can be catastrophic, resulting in crop failures, famine and desertification Environmental degradation . Collapse can occur when societies exceed the carrying capacity of their environment. This ecological collapse theory points to over-deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity as causes of precipitation. Oil pollution, China Society Collapse: Inequality and Oligarchy. Wealth and political disparity can be central drivers of social disruption, as well as aristocracy and centralisation of power among leaders. This not only causes social suffering but hampers a society's ability to respond to ecological, social and economic problems. For example, the population grows; this exceeds the demand for labour. Workers become cheaper; society becomes top-heavy. This inequality undermines collective solidarity, and political unrest follows. What is government oligarchy? Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); meaning 'few', and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning 'to rule or to command') is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. Protests in Paris Society Collapse: Complexity.  Joseph Tainter, a collapse expert and historian, says that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Another indicator of increasing complexity is called Energy Return on Investment (EROI). This refers to the proportion between the amount of energy produced by raw material and the energy needed to obtain it. Like complexity, EROI seems to have a point at which efficiency decreases. Society Collapse: External Shocks.  In other words, the 'four horsemen': war, natural disasters, starvation and plagues. The Aztec Empire, for example, was destroyed by Spanish invaders. Most of the early agricultural states were volatile due to deadly epidemics. The concentration of people and livestock in walled colonies with poor hygiene made disease outbreaks inevitable and disastrous. Disasters sometimes went hand in hand, as was the case with the Spanish introduction of salmonella into America. Society Collapse: Randomness & Bad Luck.  A statistical analysis of the empires suggests that the collapse is arbitrary and independent of age. Evolutionary biologist and data scientist Indre Zliobaite and her colleagues have observed a parallel pattern in the evolution of species. A simplified explanation for this apparent arbitrariness is the 'Red Queen Effect': if species are continually struggling to survive in a changing environment with numerous competitors, extinction is a consistent possibility. What is the Red Queen effect in evolution? The “Red Queen” hypothesis in evolution is related to the coevolution of species. It states that species must continuously adapt and evolve to pass on genes to the next generation and also to keep from going extinct when other species within a symbiotic relationship are evolving. Society Collapse: Indicators Recommended:  Is Neoliberalism Hurting Our Climate And The Paris Accord? Despite the overload of books and articles, we have no definitive explanation for the collapse of civilisations. What we do know is this: the factors mentioned above can all contribute. Stressors can overrun societal coping capacity, which can cause collapse. To examine a different kind of indicators of danger to see whether collapsing is rising or falling, we show you four possible metrics. These are measured over the past few decades: Temperature is a clear indicator of climate change Inequality is more complicated to calculate. The specific measurement of the Gini index suggests that inequality has reduced slightly worldwide (although it is increasing within countries). But the Gini index can be deceptive because it only measures relative changes in income The rich are becoming richer, which in the past has led to extra pressure on society. Studies show that the EROI for fossil fuels has declined steadily over time as the easiest to reach and most precious reserves are exhausted. Unfortunately, most of the renewable substitutes, such as solar energy, have a significantly lower EROI, mainly because of their energy density and the rare earth metals and production needed to produce them. Society Collapse: Measures Of Resilience The only positive thing is that collapses are not the entire picture. Social elasticity can slow down or prevent the collapse. The economic diversity is more significant than ever. We can cope more than ever, and we have more knowledge than ever. Especially, population groups with more experience may be better able to respond to crises when they occur. Also, the innovation of civilisation is rising. If we look at the collapse and elasticity indicators, we cannot be complacent. If we keep on innovate and diversify like this, we can be optimistic. Nevertheless, the world is deteriorating in areas that have contributed to the collapse of earlier societies. The climate is changing, the difference between rich and poor is growing, the world is becoming more and more complex, and our environmental demands exceed the carrying capacity of the planet. What does elasticity mean? Elasticity is a measure of a variable's sensitivity to a change in another variable. In business and economics, elasticity refers the degree to which individuals, consumers or producers change their demand or the amount supplied in response to price or income changes. Society Collapse: We May Fall Down Our weapons are more massive than it used to be (now: nuclear weapons and biological agents instead of arrows and swords). New tools of violence, such as deadly autonomous weapons, may be available in the near future. People are becoming exceptionally specialised and less involved in the manufacture of food and essential goods. Recommended:  Climate Change: Cause Of The Next Global Economic Collapse And a changing climate can destroy our ability to return to simple farming practices. With the expansion of nuclear weapons, we may already have reached the point of civilized 'terminal speed'. Any collapse threatens to be permanent. A nuclear war can lead to an actual risk: either the disappearance of our species or a permanent slingshot, back to the Stone Age.  Climate change is a different kind of threat than what the Maya's dealt with. Now, they are global, quicker, more dangerous and human-driven. A collapse of our civilisation is not unavoidable. History indicates that it is possible, we have the rare advantage of being able to learn from the pieces of the wreckage of societies' past. We know what we have to do, what needs to be done. We need to reduce the emissions, inequalities must become equal, and we have to care more about the environment. Innovation should be stimulated, and we need more diversity in economics. The policy suggestions are there; only the political will is missing. We can invest in recovering better. There are already well-developed ideas to improve the capacity of food and knowledge systems to recover after a disaster. We have to listen to the past, to improve ourselves. Do not walk blindly into the future that will destroy us. Before you go! Recommended:  Economic Growth Is Dead: Welcome To The Circular Economy Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about your society?  What you gain?  Extra:  Global exposure, a valuable backlink! Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Society Collapse: Climate Change, The Environment Or Us?
Society Collapse: Climate Change, The Environment Or Us?
Arctic Sea Cooks Methane. You Should Be Extremely Alarmed
In one of the smallest oceans of the world, methane is found. Researchers have measured high methane in the air and underwater in the Arctic Ocean. The so-called methane bubbles rise out of the mud beneath the surface of the water. Arctic Sea Cooks Methane Methane is a hydrocarbon and the main component of natural gas. This greenhouse gas is produced by bacteria and can be found on, for example, farms (The gas is formed by the bacteria in the cow's fore-stomachs when digesting food), oil fields,marshlands, and so it seems: in the arctic sea. We must add that methane is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide to raise the temperature in the air, which may cause a terrible effect on the climate. Recommended:  Climate Change: Antarctica Is Melting Says NASA Is methane gas harmful to humans? Methane gas is relatively non-toxic; it does not have an OSHA PEL Standard. Its health effects are associated with being a simple asphyxiant displacing oxygen in the lungs. Methane is extremely flammable and can explode at concentrations between 5% (lower explosive limit) and 15% (upper explosive limit). Thawing Permafrost Releases Methane Did you know that tons of methane are frozen in the permafrost mud and stored at the bottom of the ocean? When permafrost is getting warmer and thaws, methane will be released in the air. The Arctic Report Card 2019, a federal study, claims that thawing permafrost across the Arctic could lead to the release of an estimated 300-600 million tons of net carbon per year into the atmosphere. Why is methane gas bad? The main impact of methane is on a global scale, as a greenhouse gas. Although levels of methane in the environment are relatively low, its high ‘global warming potential’ (21 times that of carbon dioxide) ranks it amongst the worst of the greenhouse gases. This phenomenon is known to some people as a "methane bomb". They think that if and when this potent greenhouse gas is released, the atmosphere will warm up quickly. The heat will also release more methane. Carolyn Ruppel of the USGS (United States Geological Survey) thinks it probably will not happen overnight. {youtube}                                              Arctic Sea Cooks Methane. You Should Be Extremely Alarmed                                     Methane: The Arctic's hidden climate threat : Natalia Shakhova's latest paper Even if there would not be a 'methane bomb', we need to worry about the permafrost methane. There is so much methane available, and it can heat up quickly, it still could be a threat over a while. We need to decarbonize the air now before it is too late. Recommended:  Climate Change Efforts On Reducing CO2 Why Not Recycle It? Ted Schuur wrote in the 2019 Arctic Report Card that at the bottom of the northern permafrost regions have a lot more organic carbon than we can find in the atmosphere right now. But this organic carbon soil is climate-sensitive, and because of global warming, this could turn quickly. What produces the most methane on Earth? Most methane emissions come, directly or indirectly, from humans. Some methane is natural it's released by decaying vegetation and by the bacteria in wetlands and swamps. But most sources of methane are of human origin livestock and farming, decay in landfills, leakage from the oil and gas industry. Anthropogenic Emissions Recent research has shown that greenhouse gases increase. This is partly due to natural sources, but also human activities. In another report, published in Nature, November 2019, you can read that in addition to methane, even large numbers of CO2 are being emitted, because of warming from northernmost polar soils. There will likely be more emissions in the future. And anthropogenic methane emissions do not even include the trillions of metric tons of permafrost methane liberated by global warming. We need to reduce the rate of methane to slow down global warming. The Netherlands is one of the countries that agreed in the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The US, on the other hand, has not shown the determination to soften anything. What can you do to help a little? Choose green power Eat less meat Insulate your house  Do not waste food Leave your car at home and take the bike Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change Stop, Store CO2, Add Phytoplankton By Whales? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about our oceans?  What you gain?  Extra:  Global exposure, a valuable backlink! Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
In one of the smallest oceans of the world, methane is found. Researchers have measured high methane in the air and underwater in the Arctic Ocean. The so-called methane bubbles rise out of the mud beneath the surface of the water. Arctic Sea Cooks Methane Methane is a hydrocarbon and the main component of natural gas. This greenhouse gas is produced by bacteria and can be found on, for example, farms (The gas is formed by the bacteria in the cow's fore-stomachs when digesting food), oil fields,marshlands, and so it seems: in the arctic sea. We must add that methane is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide to raise the temperature in the air, which may cause a terrible effect on the climate. Recommended:  Climate Change: Antarctica Is Melting Says NASA Is methane gas harmful to humans? Methane gas is relatively non-toxic; it does not have an OSHA PEL Standard. Its health effects are associated with being a simple asphyxiant displacing oxygen in the lungs. Methane is extremely flammable and can explode at concentrations between 5% (lower explosive limit) and 15% (upper explosive limit). Thawing Permafrost Releases Methane Did you know that tons of methane are frozen in the permafrost mud and stored at the bottom of the ocean? When permafrost is getting warmer and thaws, methane will be released in the air. The Arctic Report Card 2019, a federal study, claims that thawing permafrost across the Arctic could lead to the release of an estimated 300-600 million tons of net carbon per year into the atmosphere. Why is methane gas bad? The main impact of methane is on a global scale, as a greenhouse gas. Although levels of methane in the environment are relatively low, its high ‘global warming potential’ (21 times that of carbon dioxide) ranks it amongst the worst of the greenhouse gases. This phenomenon is known to some people as a "methane bomb". They think that if and when this potent greenhouse gas is released, the atmosphere will warm up quickly. The heat will also release more methane. Carolyn Ruppel of the USGS (United States Geological Survey) thinks it probably will not happen overnight. {youtube}                                              Arctic Sea Cooks Methane. You Should Be Extremely Alarmed                                     Methane: The Arctic's hidden climate threat : Natalia Shakhova's latest paper Even if there would not be a 'methane bomb', we need to worry about the permafrost methane. There is so much methane available, and it can heat up quickly, it still could be a threat over a while. We need to decarbonize the air now before it is too late. Recommended:  Climate Change Efforts On Reducing CO2 Why Not Recycle It? Ted Schuur wrote in the 2019 Arctic Report Card that at the bottom of the northern permafrost regions have a lot more organic carbon than we can find in the atmosphere right now. But this organic carbon soil is climate-sensitive, and because of global warming, this could turn quickly. What produces the most methane on Earth? Most methane emissions come, directly or indirectly, from humans. Some methane is natural it's released by decaying vegetation and by the bacteria in wetlands and swamps. But most sources of methane are of human origin livestock and farming, decay in landfills, leakage from the oil and gas industry. Anthropogenic Emissions Recent research has shown that greenhouse gases increase. This is partly due to natural sources, but also human activities. In another report, published in Nature, November 2019, you can read that in addition to methane, even large numbers of CO2 are being emitted, because of warming from northernmost polar soils. There will likely be more emissions in the future. And anthropogenic methane emissions do not even include the trillions of metric tons of permafrost methane liberated by global warming. We need to reduce the rate of methane to slow down global warming. The Netherlands is one of the countries that agreed in the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The US, on the other hand, has not shown the determination to soften anything. What can you do to help a little? Choose green power Eat less meat Insulate your house  Do not waste food Leave your car at home and take the bike Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change Stop, Store CO2, Add Phytoplankton By Whales? Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about our oceans?  What you gain?  Extra:  Global exposure, a valuable backlink! Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Arctic Sea Cooks Methane. You Should Be Extremely Alarmed
Arctic Sea Cooks Methane. You Should Be Extremely Alarmed
Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia
It would probably be an understatement to say that Australia and Brazil did not have their best year in 2019 in their existence. World leaders are tripping over each other to offer their assistance to Australia and the troubled Brazilian government, who are still struggling to get a grip on the problem. Meanwhile, hectares and hectares of forestland are catching fire with each passing minute.   Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia While the Amazon is grabbing headlines with these historically fierce and ferocious fires, it is not the only part of our world that is on fire. Central Africa is facing some of the worst wildfires in its history as well, standing by more or less helplessly as vast areas of savanna are ablaze. And just before those started, we were confronted with the startling headline that the Artic is on fire: with Siberia, a place usually associated with icey cold tundras, now in danger of being burned to the ground. And what about Australia? Its bushfires threaten thousand of people, natura, cities, animals like Koalas. Recommended:  Heatwaves Worldwide: Nothing New! How To Protect Your Self The one thing that really stands out here is that wildfires are becoming much more severe - and occurring in places where these was previously unheard of. Many are exclaiming that this surely means that the world is ‘on fire’, and climate change is shifting to a higher gear. While this does make for some interest-grabbing headlines, it surely would be too easy to say that climate change has caused these fires. Or wouldn’t it be? What we can safely do, is turn the matter around. We do know for a fact that wildfires are active contributors to climate change. They kill millions of trees and vegetation, which function as the lungs of the earth. With fewer trees and plants, the earth cannot remove as many harmful emissions from the air - while a wildfire is pretty much the equivalent of a cigarette, releasing a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Think of it as smoking one pack of cigarettes per day at a time when your lung function is decreasing rapidly as the result of a lung disease of sorts. Wildfires Globally: What On Earth Is Going On? Wildfires Globally. What are the different types of wildfires? There are three basic types of forest fires: Crown fires burn trees up their entire length to the top Surface fires burn only surface litter and duff Ground fires (sometimes called underground or subsurface fires) occur in deep accumulations of humus, peat and similar dead vegetation that become dry enough to burn The numbers are - staggering, to say the least. Take Siberia, where some six million acres have been burned to a crisp. Or Alaska, another part of the Artic, which has already lost 2.5 million acres to wildfires. This is a huge loss for the Artic region, which is actually already suffering disproportionally from global warming, warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Potentially catastrophic, especially as this will lead to an increase in lightning - a leading cause for fire. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Here, it seems as if we are entering some sort of vicious circle. As the world gets warmer, wildfires will become more prevalent. And as there are more wildfires, it will leave us with fewer vegetation and higher carbon emissions. This will only serve to speed up global warming, particularly if those wildfires occur in regions - like the Amazon or Arctic - that are powerful catalysts for our climate system.   Complicating matters even further is the unpredictability and variety of wildfires: there is no easy way to categorise them, nor is there a single root cause that can be identified that causes those fires. Some fires may be set intentionally, to obtain land for agricultural purposes, while others are accidental or perhaps more directly linked to global warming, as in the example of the Artic. Wildfires Globally: Australia. First Impression In Australia, beds are burning. So are entire towns, irreplaceable forests and endangered and precious animal species such as the koala. {youtube}                                  Deaths, losses mounting in Australia's disastrous bush fires, 1 of January 2020                                              Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia What are the linkages between climate change and extreme weather events. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the great wonders of this planet. Subject to the twin assaults of warming-caused bleaching and ocean acidification, it will be gone in a matter of decades in the absence of a dramatic reduction in global carbon emissions. Wildfires Globally. How does a wildfire form? Sometimes, fires occur naturally, ignited by heat from the sun or a lightning strike. However, the majority of wildfires are the result of human carelessness. Causes include arson, campfires, discarding lit cigarettes, not burning debris properly, playing with matches or fireworks. The Blue Mountains, another of Australia’s natural wonders, known for its lush temperate rainforests, majestic cliffs and rock formations and panoramic vistas that challenge any the world has to offer. It too is now threatened by climate change. Wildfires Globally: Australia Gone are the vast expanses of rainforest framed by distant blue-tinged mountain ranges. Instead there are now smoke-filled valleys, with only the faintest ghosts of distant ridges and peaks in the background. The iconic blue tint (which derives from a haze formed from ‘terpenes’ emitted by the Eucalyptus trees that are so plentiful here) was replaced by a brown haze. The blue sky, too, had been replaced by that brown haze. Locals, would volunteer that they have never seen anything like this before. Some even uttered the words ‘climate change’ without any prompting. Wildfires Globally. Does fire reproduce? Fire is a self-sustaining chemical reaction where heat produces flammable gases, which burn and produce more heat. So to answer your question, “Can fire reproduce?”, reproduction is a process by which living creatures perpetuate their species. Fire is not a living thing and therefore does not reproduce The brown skies observed now in the Blue Mountains are a product of human-caused climate change. Take record heat, combine it with unprecedented drought in already dry regions and you get unprecedented bushfires like the ones engulfing the Blue Mountains and spreading across the continent. It’s not complicated. Wildfires Globally: Australia, New South Wales In the worst-affected state, New South Wales, fires have burned more than 4 million hectares (9.9m acres) destroying more than 900 houses. Across the country, 12 people have died - including three volunteer firefighters - with most of the casualties in New South Wales. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Current Situation NSW Hot, dry weather combined with prolonged drought and strong winds have created perfect conditions for fire to spread rapidly. Around 100 fires are burning across the state, with up to half as yet uncontained by firefighters and continuing to threaten lives. The fires have been exacerbated by 40C temperatures and strong winds, creating difficult conditions for the 2,500 firefighters deployed in the field. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service. 31-12-2019 The small town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, was largely destroyed and scores of homes were razed amid catastrophic conditions on 22 December. In northern NSW large fires are burning in the region between Port Macquarie and Byron Bay. Wildfires Globally: Australia, Balmoral: A VW Beetle on fire In the countryside to the west of Sydney, there are fears that the vast Gospers Mountain fire, which originated in the Wollemi National Park, may merge with the Green Wattle Creek blaze in the lower Blue Mountains. The fire in the Blue Mountains, a world heritage area and popular tourist destination, has burnt over 64,000 hectares, though much of it is now being controlled, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service. Fire crews in the region took advantage of cooler conditions last week to perform 'back burning', where small areas are deliberately burned to create breaks to stop or slow the main fire. Smoke from bushfires has periodically blown south-eastwards to reach Sydney, causing severe air pollution in Australia's largest city. Further south of Sydney major roads have been closed major roads have been closed at several times during the last week with emergency-level fires spanning a 500km (310 miles) area across New South Wales and the neighbouring state of Victoria. An Australian farmer was forced to shoot 20 of his cows after they were badly injured in the bushfires ravaging the coastal areas of southern New South Wales. Steve Shipton from Coolagolite, between the hard-hit towns of Cobargo and Bermagui, was consoled by neighbouring farmers after the heart-wrenching task of putting down the cattle which had been severely burnt by fires that swept through his property. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service.  To put the fire damage in New South Wales in perspective, 1.8 million hectares burned in the 2018 California wildfires and some 900,000 hectares were lost in the 2019 Amazon fires. Flames up to 70m (230ft) in height have been reported. Wildfires Globally: Australia. The Situation In Other States? In Victoria, the state's Country Fire Authority issued emergency warnings across the region of East Gippsland telling 30,000 people to leave the area before roads became too dangerous. Fires have been burning in the area since late November but the latest warnings for East Gippsland are of bushfire-driven thunderstorms, which would increase the risk of the fires spreading further out of control. In the small town of Mallacoota residents fled to the beach following a warning siren, with only a change in the wind direction keeping the fire from reaching them on the shore. In the state of South Australia, the Cudlee Creek fire is reported to have destroyed more than 80 homes in the Adelaide Hills region. The fires are also thought to have destroyed up to a third of the vines that provide grapes for the Adelaide Hills wine industry. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Are Bushfires Getting Worse? Many Australians are asking that very question and whether these fires are linked to climate change - but the science is complicated. Scientists have long warned that a hotter, drier climate will contribute to fires becoming more frequent and more intense. Australia's deadliest bushfire disaster was 'Black Saturday' in February 2009, when some 180 people died in Victoria. Data shows that Australia has warmed overall by slightly more than one degree Celsius since 1910, with most of the heating occurring since 1950, the Bureau of Meteorology says. Australia is getting warmer Wildfires Globally: Australia. Hottest Day On Record Australia broke its all-time temperature record twice in December. An average maximum of 40.9C was recorded on 17 December, broken a day later by 41.9C, both beating 2013's record of 40.3C. By the end of the month every state had measured temperatures above 40C - including Tasmania. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Maximum temperature 29 December 2019 The main climate driver behind the heat has been a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) - an event where sea surface temperatures are warmer in the western half of the ocean, cooler in the east. The difference between the two temperatures is currently the strongest in 60 years. Wildfires Globally. Are wildfires good? Wildfires, when allowed to burn in areas where they do not impact human development, are regenerative for the forest, revitalizing for the watershed, renew the soil, and reset the clock for the ecosystem. As a researcher on wildfire and streams let me recount the many ways that natural wildfire is beneficial. The Amazon And Indonesia: Intentionally Set Fires The Amazon, though, is a perfect example of a wildfire that was set intentionally. Brazil is looking to expand its presence on the economic world stage, for instance through its growing export of soybeans and cattle. These agricultural products require more land, which can, in the Brazilians’ minds, easily be obtained by ‘borrowing’ it from the rainforest. Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury New president Jair Bolsonaro is more focused on the economic gains and is, in doing so, rolling back all kinds of measures that were put in place to protect both the environment as well as the indigenous groups living in the forest. All of this has certainly added to fears of further deforestation, and while numbers of the exact amount of forest that has gone to waste are not yet available, fears are that it will only get worse in years to come. Firefighters at a palm oil plantation in Pekanbaru, Indonesia Southeast Asia is looking at a similar issue. Under pressure to live up to rising demand, more and more agricultural land is ‘forged’ in countries like Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia. Up to 71% of so-called peat forests have gone to waste in the past three decades, making room for farms producing palm oil. This hazardous practice does not only significantly add to global warming, as peat releases some of the most damaging and polluting gases, it also poses a significant risk to those living around it. Although the government has attempted to call a halt to this trend, it has not really had much of an effect yet: as wildfires are back in full force this year. Recommended:  Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers Wildfires Worldwide: The Arctic An area that is new to wildfires is the Arctic, including Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. These areas have not dealt with the issue previously, but are facing the worst effects of global warming thus far - with temperatures rising to record heights and plants and vegetation becoming drier than they have ever been. Combined with the increased likelihood of lightning, it is kind of like throwing a lighted match into a stack of hay.   In total, 180 megatons of carbon dioxide has been emitted as a result from the Arctic wildfires - a massive number that is a multiple of the amount as emitted by entire countries. This is essentially speeding up global warming, the very same thing causing the Arctic to suffer so badly from wildfires and melting glaciers. Wildfires Globally. Why don't trees burn in fires? Trees in fire-prone areas develop thicker bark, in part, because thick bark does not catch fire or burn easily. The species also drops lower branches as the trees grow older, which helps prevent fire from climbing up and burning the green needles higher up the tree. Indigenous leaders call for Arctic cooperation against wildfires California And Africa: The Seasonal Cycle Of Burning One other category of wildfires are those that are expected and - one could say - even needed. The western part of the United States and Africa, to mention just a few, have a seasonal cycle of fires that actually ‘replenish’ the landscape. Take the lodgepole pines, for instance, a staple tree that requires the wildfire heat to release its seeds. In Sub-Saharan Africa, savanna ecosystems are used to their periodical ‘burn’ and will flourish once again not long after the fires have passed. Wildfires Globally: America, California This does, however, not mean that we should stand by and idly watch those wildfires destroy large pieces of land. Often, the root cause will be accidental - like someone dropping a cigarette or a campfire gone wrong. This still sets in motion an event that is potentially dangerous and disastrous to the surrounding area, and that is bound to become even more so in years to come as the direct result of climate change. Research has shown that the Californian wildfires are a staggering 500 percent larger than they would have been without it. They are unnecessarily large, so to speak, endangering both human and animal lives in the process. Wildfires Globally. What plants grow after a fire? Fire-activated Seeds Perhaps the most amazing fire adaptation is that some species actually require fire for their seeds to sprout. Some plants, such as the lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. This World Is On Fire While it may feel and look as if our world is quite literally on fire, one should always consider the root cause first. And while some of those huge wildfires that have been raging in the past months have other causes, there are a few that can already be traced back to global warming directly - and all of them can, without a doubt, be considered a major contributor. Funny how it works: global warming-induced wildfires ending up accelerating that very same phenomenon. Although one might wonder if ‘funny’ really is the most appropriate word. Cover photo: Five Australian children were reunited with their parents after their grandparents helped them dramatically escape from blazing bush fires by clinging to a wooden jetty for three hours. Grandfather Tim Holmes alongside his wife and and his daughter's five children had to shelter in the sea to survive the potentially deadly inferno that raged on the shore. Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about climate change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
It would probably be an understatement to say that Australia and Brazil did not have their best year in 2019 in their existence. World leaders are tripping over each other to offer their assistance to Australia and the troubled Brazilian government, who are still struggling to get a grip on the problem. Meanwhile, hectares and hectares of forestland are catching fire with each passing minute.   Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia While the Amazon is grabbing headlines with these historically fierce and ferocious fires, it is not the only part of our world that is on fire. Central Africa is facing some of the worst wildfires in its history as well, standing by more or less helplessly as vast areas of savanna are ablaze. And just before those started, we were confronted with the startling headline that the Artic is on fire: with Siberia, a place usually associated with icey cold tundras, now in danger of being burned to the ground. And what about Australia? Its bushfires threaten thousand of people, natura, cities, animals like Koalas. Recommended:  Heatwaves Worldwide: Nothing New! How To Protect Your Self The one thing that really stands out here is that wildfires are becoming much more severe - and occurring in places where these was previously unheard of. Many are exclaiming that this surely means that the world is ‘on fire’, and climate change is shifting to a higher gear. While this does make for some interest-grabbing headlines, it surely would be too easy to say that climate change has caused these fires. Or wouldn’t it be? What we can safely do, is turn the matter around. We do know for a fact that wildfires are active contributors to climate change. They kill millions of trees and vegetation, which function as the lungs of the earth. With fewer trees and plants, the earth cannot remove as many harmful emissions from the air - while a wildfire is pretty much the equivalent of a cigarette, releasing a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Think of it as smoking one pack of cigarettes per day at a time when your lung function is decreasing rapidly as the result of a lung disease of sorts. Wildfires Globally: What On Earth Is Going On? Wildfires Globally. What are the different types of wildfires? There are three basic types of forest fires: Crown fires burn trees up their entire length to the top Surface fires burn only surface litter and duff Ground fires (sometimes called underground or subsurface fires) occur in deep accumulations of humus, peat and similar dead vegetation that become dry enough to burn The numbers are - staggering, to say the least. Take Siberia, where some six million acres have been burned to a crisp. Or Alaska, another part of the Artic, which has already lost 2.5 million acres to wildfires. This is a huge loss for the Artic region, which is actually already suffering disproportionally from global warming, warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Potentially catastrophic, especially as this will lead to an increase in lightning - a leading cause for fire. Recommended:  Climate Change Causes Nature To Change: The World Affected Here, it seems as if we are entering some sort of vicious circle. As the world gets warmer, wildfires will become more prevalent. And as there are more wildfires, it will leave us with fewer vegetation and higher carbon emissions. This will only serve to speed up global warming, particularly if those wildfires occur in regions - like the Amazon or Arctic - that are powerful catalysts for our climate system.   Complicating matters even further is the unpredictability and variety of wildfires: there is no easy way to categorise them, nor is there a single root cause that can be identified that causes those fires. Some fires may be set intentionally, to obtain land for agricultural purposes, while others are accidental or perhaps more directly linked to global warming, as in the example of the Artic. Wildfires Globally: Australia. First Impression In Australia, beds are burning. So are entire towns, irreplaceable forests and endangered and precious animal species such as the koala. {youtube}                                  Deaths, losses mounting in Australia's disastrous bush fires, 1 of January 2020                                              Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Artic, Siberia What are the linkages between climate change and extreme weather events. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the great wonders of this planet. Subject to the twin assaults of warming-caused bleaching and ocean acidification, it will be gone in a matter of decades in the absence of a dramatic reduction in global carbon emissions. Wildfires Globally. How does a wildfire form? Sometimes, fires occur naturally, ignited by heat from the sun or a lightning strike. However, the majority of wildfires are the result of human carelessness. Causes include arson, campfires, discarding lit cigarettes, not burning debris properly, playing with matches or fireworks. The Blue Mountains, another of Australia’s natural wonders, known for its lush temperate rainforests, majestic cliffs and rock formations and panoramic vistas that challenge any the world has to offer. It too is now threatened by climate change. Wildfires Globally: Australia Gone are the vast expanses of rainforest framed by distant blue-tinged mountain ranges. Instead there are now smoke-filled valleys, with only the faintest ghosts of distant ridges and peaks in the background. The iconic blue tint (which derives from a haze formed from ‘terpenes’ emitted by the Eucalyptus trees that are so plentiful here) was replaced by a brown haze. The blue sky, too, had been replaced by that brown haze. Locals, would volunteer that they have never seen anything like this before. Some even uttered the words ‘climate change’ without any prompting. Wildfires Globally. Does fire reproduce? Fire is a self-sustaining chemical reaction where heat produces flammable gases, which burn and produce more heat. So to answer your question, “Can fire reproduce?”, reproduction is a process by which living creatures perpetuate their species. Fire is not a living thing and therefore does not reproduce The brown skies observed now in the Blue Mountains are a product of human-caused climate change. Take record heat, combine it with unprecedented drought in already dry regions and you get unprecedented bushfires like the ones engulfing the Blue Mountains and spreading across the continent. It’s not complicated. Wildfires Globally: Australia, New South Wales In the worst-affected state, New South Wales, fires have burned more than 4 million hectares (9.9m acres) destroying more than 900 houses. Across the country, 12 people have died - including three volunteer firefighters - with most of the casualties in New South Wales. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Current Situation NSW Hot, dry weather combined with prolonged drought and strong winds have created perfect conditions for fire to spread rapidly. Around 100 fires are burning across the state, with up to half as yet uncontained by firefighters and continuing to threaten lives. The fires have been exacerbated by 40C temperatures and strong winds, creating difficult conditions for the 2,500 firefighters deployed in the field. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service. 31-12-2019 The small town of Balmoral, south-west of Sydney, was largely destroyed and scores of homes were razed amid catastrophic conditions on 22 December. In northern NSW large fires are burning in the region between Port Macquarie and Byron Bay. Wildfires Globally: Australia, Balmoral: A VW Beetle on fire In the countryside to the west of Sydney, there are fears that the vast Gospers Mountain fire, which originated in the Wollemi National Park, may merge with the Green Wattle Creek blaze in the lower Blue Mountains. The fire in the Blue Mountains, a world heritage area and popular tourist destination, has burnt over 64,000 hectares, though much of it is now being controlled, according to the NSW Rural Fire Service. Fire crews in the region took advantage of cooler conditions last week to perform 'back burning', where small areas are deliberately burned to create breaks to stop or slow the main fire. Smoke from bushfires has periodically blown south-eastwards to reach Sydney, causing severe air pollution in Australia's largest city. Further south of Sydney major roads have been closed major roads have been closed at several times during the last week with emergency-level fires spanning a 500km (310 miles) area across New South Wales and the neighbouring state of Victoria. An Australian farmer was forced to shoot 20 of his cows after they were badly injured in the bushfires ravaging the coastal areas of southern New South Wales. Steve Shipton from Coolagolite, between the hard-hit towns of Cobargo and Bermagui, was consoled by neighbouring farmers after the heart-wrenching task of putting down the cattle which had been severely burnt by fires that swept through his property. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Source: new South Wales Rural Fire Service.  To put the fire damage in New South Wales in perspective, 1.8 million hectares burned in the 2018 California wildfires and some 900,000 hectares were lost in the 2019 Amazon fires. Flames up to 70m (230ft) in height have been reported. Wildfires Globally: Australia. The Situation In Other States? In Victoria, the state's Country Fire Authority issued emergency warnings across the region of East Gippsland telling 30,000 people to leave the area before roads became too dangerous. Fires have been burning in the area since late November but the latest warnings for East Gippsland are of bushfire-driven thunderstorms, which would increase the risk of the fires spreading further out of control. In the small town of Mallacoota residents fled to the beach following a warning siren, with only a change in the wind direction keeping the fire from reaching them on the shore. In the state of South Australia, the Cudlee Creek fire is reported to have destroyed more than 80 homes in the Adelaide Hills region. The fires are also thought to have destroyed up to a third of the vines that provide grapes for the Adelaide Hills wine industry. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Are Bushfires Getting Worse? Many Australians are asking that very question and whether these fires are linked to climate change - but the science is complicated. Scientists have long warned that a hotter, drier climate will contribute to fires becoming more frequent and more intense. Australia's deadliest bushfire disaster was 'Black Saturday' in February 2009, when some 180 people died in Victoria. Data shows that Australia has warmed overall by slightly more than one degree Celsius since 1910, with most of the heating occurring since 1950, the Bureau of Meteorology says. Australia is getting warmer Wildfires Globally: Australia. Hottest Day On Record Australia broke its all-time temperature record twice in December. An average maximum of 40.9C was recorded on 17 December, broken a day later by 41.9C, both beating 2013's record of 40.3C. By the end of the month every state had measured temperatures above 40C - including Tasmania. Wildfires Globally: Australia. Maximum temperature 29 December 2019 The main climate driver behind the heat has been a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) - an event where sea surface temperatures are warmer in the western half of the ocean, cooler in the east. The difference between the two temperatures is currently the strongest in 60 years. Wildfires Globally. Are wildfires good? Wildfires, when allowed to burn in areas where they do not impact human development, are regenerative for the forest, revitalizing for the watershed, renew the soil, and reset the clock for the ecosystem. As a researcher on wildfire and streams let me recount the many ways that natural wildfire is beneficial. The Amazon And Indonesia: Intentionally Set Fires The Amazon, though, is a perfect example of a wildfire that was set intentionally. Brazil is looking to expand its presence on the economic world stage, for instance through its growing export of soybeans and cattle. These agricultural products require more land, which can, in the Brazilians’ minds, easily be obtained by ‘borrowing’ it from the rainforest. Recommended:  Brazil Is Burning For Your Beef: Amazon’s Nature, Our Luxury New president Jair Bolsonaro is more focused on the economic gains and is, in doing so, rolling back all kinds of measures that were put in place to protect both the environment as well as the indigenous groups living in the forest. All of this has certainly added to fears of further deforestation, and while numbers of the exact amount of forest that has gone to waste are not yet available, fears are that it will only get worse in years to come. Firefighters at a palm oil plantation in Pekanbaru, Indonesia Southeast Asia is looking at a similar issue. Under pressure to live up to rising demand, more and more agricultural land is ‘forged’ in countries like Sumatra, Borneo and Malaysia. Up to 71% of so-called peat forests have gone to waste in the past three decades, making room for farms producing palm oil. This hazardous practice does not only significantly add to global warming, as peat releases some of the most damaging and polluting gases, it also poses a significant risk to those living around it. Although the government has attempted to call a halt to this trend, it has not really had much of an effect yet: as wildfires are back in full force this year. Recommended:  Amazon’s Fires, Madonna And DiCaprio: Questions & Answers Wildfires Worldwide: The Arctic An area that is new to wildfires is the Arctic, including Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. These areas have not dealt with the issue previously, but are facing the worst effects of global warming thus far - with temperatures rising to record heights and plants and vegetation becoming drier than they have ever been. Combined with the increased likelihood of lightning, it is kind of like throwing a lighted match into a stack of hay.   In total, 180 megatons of carbon dioxide has been emitted as a result from the Arctic wildfires - a massive number that is a multiple of the amount as emitted by entire countries. This is essentially speeding up global warming, the very same thing causing the Arctic to suffer so badly from wildfires and melting glaciers. Wildfires Globally. Why don't trees burn in fires? Trees in fire-prone areas develop thicker bark, in part, because thick bark does not catch fire or burn easily. The species also drops lower branches as the trees grow older, which helps prevent fire from climbing up and burning the green needles higher up the tree. Indigenous leaders call for Arctic cooperation against wildfires California And Africa: The Seasonal Cycle Of Burning One other category of wildfires are those that are expected and - one could say - even needed. The western part of the United States and Africa, to mention just a few, have a seasonal cycle of fires that actually ‘replenish’ the landscape. Take the lodgepole pines, for instance, a staple tree that requires the wildfire heat to release its seeds. In Sub-Saharan Africa, savanna ecosystems are used to their periodical ‘burn’ and will flourish once again not long after the fires have passed. Wildfires Globally: America, California This does, however, not mean that we should stand by and idly watch those wildfires destroy large pieces of land. Often, the root cause will be accidental - like someone dropping a cigarette or a campfire gone wrong. This still sets in motion an event that is potentially dangerous and disastrous to the surrounding area, and that is bound to become even more so in years to come as the direct result of climate change. Research has shown that the Californian wildfires are a staggering 500 percent larger than they would have been without it. They are unnecessarily large, so to speak, endangering both human and animal lives in the process. Wildfires Globally. What plants grow after a fire? Fire-activated Seeds Perhaps the most amazing fire adaptation is that some species actually require fire for their seeds to sprout. Some plants, such as the lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. This World Is On Fire While it may feel and look as if our world is quite literally on fire, one should always consider the root cause first. And while some of those huge wildfires that have been raging in the past months have other causes, there are a few that can already be traced back to global warming directly - and all of them can, without a doubt, be considered a major contributor. Funny how it works: global warming-induced wildfires ending up accelerating that very same phenomenon. Although one might wonder if ‘funny’ really is the most appropriate word. Cover photo: Five Australian children were reunited with their parents after their grandparents helped them dramatically escape from blazing bush fires by clinging to a wooden jetty for three hours. Grandfather Tim Holmes alongside his wife and and his daughter's five children had to shelter in the sea to survive the potentially deadly inferno that raged on the shore. Recommended:  Climate Change And Its Effects Like Droughts: The Heat Is On Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about climate change? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia
Wildfires Globally: Australia, America, Africa, The Arctic, Siberia
Climate

Climate change! Currently, the most discussed topic in the world. Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. Climate change can also result from ‘external forcing’ and include changes in solar output and volcanism.

Human activities can also influence our climate. Debates, posts and answers on (social) platforms about the role of humanity in the climate change process regularly lead to heated discussions

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