Manipulating the Environment

Photo by dannyhahn82I listened to a TED talk recently (via NPR) that had to do with environmental hacking. This scientist figured out that if we put a certain compound in the stratosphere, we could lower the earth’s temperature a certain amount.

People find this shocking, that we should dare to mess with the natural world on such an order.

My response is that we’ve been doing it for centuries on a much smaller scale.

They’re called microclimates.

Greenhouses allow us to grow foods that would not normally be available to us by allowing us to control the temperature and humidity of plants.

Conservatories allow people to grow plants indoors in a less-controlled manner than the greenhouse, but still more than outside.

Training fruit trees against garden walls allow the fruits to grow in colder climates than would normally be possible because of the protection from the elements.

Even today, modern householders can grow plants in microclimates. You see where in your land things are more sheltered, or altered by the structures. For instance, you can grow plants that are a zone north if you plant them in a place that is cooler. Same with warm.

So we’ve been manipulating the environment for years. I’m sure these technologies must have seemed frightening when they were introduced. Just like this one. But we need to be open to the advantages that such technology can get us.

(No, this isn’t a license to go out and buy a Hummer. Particles in the atmosphere would only work if emissions were still cut drastically)


Photo by dannyhahn82

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