Global warming is a global problem and is the subject of every international conference on the environment. There have been many decisions taken, both, at the governmental levels and at the individual levels, to solve this problem. Newer ideas are constantly emerging. Here is a list of seven wacky ideas to combat global warming.
1. Bury the carbon dioxide problem
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising steadily and is causing global warming and the associated problems. Some scientists have suggested the construction of tombs into which compressed carbon dioxide would be pumped and the tomb sealed. This kind of burial may not workout for the gas may not ‘rest in peace’! It may leak out and start inundating the soil. There is also the question of the really high costs involved in building such a ‘gas tomb’. To counter these, they propose that the gas could be trapped in naturally occurring aquifers, depleted gas and oil fields or coal seams.
2. Sunglasses for the planet
We often make use of sunglasses to protect our eyes from the radiation. We also use sun screen on our skin to do the same. How do we shield the planet from radiation exposure? The scientists propose a strategy where a ring of light-scattering particles is created around the earth. The alternative is to have micro-aircraft orbit the earth. This ring would scatter away the excess sunlight and counteract the increased radiation absorption that has been brought about by the greenhouse gases.
3. Pump iron into the oceans
Here is another dramatic idea. It is a known fact that the phyto-plankton in the oceans, which are micro-organisms, take down a lot of carbon along with them as they die and sink to the ocean floor. Scientists are advocating an algal bloom in the oceans so that more carbon gets trapped into this plankton debris. Since the plankton growth is stimulated by iron, they suggest pumping lots of iron into the ocean and many companies have already attempted this to reduce their carbon footprint. But such measures may seriously affect the oceanic ecosystems.
4. Promoting algal blooms in the oceans
Environmentalist, futurologist and the one who gave the Gaia hypothesis, James Lovelock, views the earth as one giant organism. He suggests that we help the earth heal itself like every organism does. The algae on the surface of the ocean consume a lot of carbon dioxide as explained earlier. Lovelock suggests that these algae be supplied with nutrients so that they grow better and trap more of the gas. And to do this, he suggests the construction of pipes that bring the nutrient-rich waters at the ocean bottom to the surface. These are solutions that have never been tried before and so, it is difficult to assess their effectiveness beforehand.
5. Planting more trees
What is so wacky about this idea? It is the most common solution right? The scientists at Institution of Mechanical Engineers have in mind, a variant of the idea. They suggest planting artificial trees! These trees will actually be carbon dioxide sucking machines. They will have ten thousand times more capacity than an average tree. So the suggestion is to cover an area with 100,000 suck fake trees! Though the solution seems simple, the problem lies in storing the trapped gas. What would one do with it?
6. Living in trash
Though it sounds real crazy, this idea is actually a neat one by a researcher from the University of Leeds. He has come up with a construction material that is made by recycling used wastes – glass, ash and sludge. This material is strong and hardy. It also consumes less energy to make compared to concrete blocks. Thus, instead of going into landfills, the wastes can be ‘constructively’ used to make homes and offices. Similar solutions have arrived wherein scientists suggest the use of farmyard wastes like feathers to make recyclable plastic.
7. Banning plastic bags and bulbs
China, Australia and recently, even San Francisco have jumped into the bandwagon to completely ban the use of plastic bags and bulbs. It is a legal offense to use them in these places. Plastic bags can be replaced with reusable cloth bags or recyclable and biodegradable paper bags. The incandescent bulbs are to be replaced with CFL lights which provide better lighting and are also energy efficient. This is a solution that everyone can adopt with least problems in lifestyle and way of life. It is very effective in the long run too.