DOES CLIMATE REALLY CHANGE?
IF YOU BURN YOU WARM
WATER AND CLIMATIC CHANGE
WASTE ALSO WARMS
HOW DO SHIFTS IN CLIMATE IMPACT ON SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS?
CLIMATE AND LANDSCAPE, LAND USE AND TOURISM
RURAL ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE
URBAN ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE

The second documentary on the lecture by Dr. Francisco Anguita is already available on ClimanticaTV

 


The second documentary, that covers the lecture given by Dr. Francisco Anguita in the framework of the course given on 15 November 2008 on Climantica in the subject of Science for the Contemporary World from the point of view of sustainability and IT, contains the main environmental issues.

He starts by stating that oil will doubtless disappear in this century, probably not further than 2030-2040.


Then he talked about the increase of geological risks linked to overpopulation and associated with urban planning and territorial problems. He mentions the risk of North Teide’s landslide as an example of how economy intensifies natural risks.


Concerning the Earth’s overpopulation and the opposition Economy vs. Ecology, he opened the ethical debate on the possibility that some regulations should be established in order to bring the planet’s population under control.

In addition, he tackled the issue of ice melting emphasizing that Greenland’s ice sheet has experienced record ice melting during the summer of 2007, increasing the rate about 30% from 2006. The most outstanding example is the threat to the polar bear because of melting ice. According to him, this is again an example of how economy is confronted to ecology since at present it is perceived that the only emergency now is the recovery of economy and therefore, any other priority should wait, mainly those which are likely to create a shift of public opinion and therefore can slow down such recovery.


Another environmental concern is focused on the question that whether the present civilization will be able to stand a Cretaceous climate. If global temperature increases by 0,7ºC during the 20th century, over the next century it will rise at least three times as that. Temperature will probably rise by 3ºC to 6ºC during this century. This temperature scenario is similar to that existing in the Cretaceous period, when such temperature could allow people to swim in the Arctic. This is not possible for the biosphere at present, since the species are not adapted.

Then he pointed out the issue of sea level rising which is clearly connected to a possible

recurrence of the Cretaceous climate. He provided real data on temperature rise in 7ºC in the Mediterranean in only 18 days, and explained that a rise of 3º C in the temperature of the Mediterranean Sea could imply a risk of hurricanes due to the increase in convection linked to that temperature rise.

Taking this scenario into account, he criticized the concept of ‘Sustainable Development’ because from his point o view, it allows human beings to destroy the planet without feeling guilty. He argued that although this concept was born in the 80s, the present development is growing more and more unsustainable. In this sense, he compares the way of life led by someone who tries to protect the Planet with that of someone who intends to bring a better quality of life by using more resources. Instead, he opts for the idea of having a better quality of life by minimising the use of natural resources.


As a way out to the Planet’s crisis he mentions the possibility of life in Mars. He refers to the difficulty to industrialize that planet in order to generate a greenhouse effect that is capable of regulating the temperature so that plants can grow. In this way Mars could be inhabited, but he wonders if this could be licit or even appropriate at this stage. On the other hand, the Earth is gaining 200 000 new inhabitants a day and this involves the need to move one million people in five days so that the possibility for those people to go away is not fulfilled.

Another ethical debate was based on the fact that the Homo sapiens as the last species to inhabit the Earth has the right to make other species disappear. In answer to this, he came to the conclusion that we are responsible for the protection of our planet, and this is not only a claim from the ecologist movement because our consumption of natural resources is over what the ecological footprint can support. Taking this principle into account, he argues that the teachers’ role does not consist of making students distressed but establishing educational contexts that raise awareness.

Another interesting topic he tackled was food. He explained that it is possible that the food we eat every day has travelled about 133 000 km by plane or ship, that is, it could have travelled around the world before we buy it. He criticized the fact that this sort of trade helps the Third World’s economy but it causes the greenhouse effect, emphasizing again the opposition Economy vs. Ecology.

Summarizing all the above-mentioned approaches to this confrontation, he pointed out that there was the risk that the IPCC’s work was pushed back to the background by the economic crisis. Nowadays, the IPCC is the body that has made the most sensible and comprehensive scientific effort in view of the fact that whenever their proposals are objected for political reasons, they refuse these objections if there is not a sound evidence of them. This proves that the 2007 IPCC report is rigorous, comprehensive and it results from an agreement of all the parts. Therefore, Mr. Anguita wonders whether it is possible that climate change becomes natural following the conclusions of 2007 IPCC. According to him, the debate is now focused on what we should do to settle the problem but also considering the difficulty involved in the fact that we are the only species that does not work in cooperation with each other, and that it is the citizens, not the Earth, who vote for the politicians on the grounds of the economic situation. Finally, he pointed out that up to the present, human beings solved their problems thanks to technology, but this problem is so serious that, for the first time, technology could not be enough to solve climate change.


The first documentary on Francisco Anguita’s lecture is available on ClimanticaTV

 


On Saturday the 15th November, Dr. Francisco Anguita, lecturer in Geology in the Complutense University of Madrid, gave a lecture entitled “From the Big Bang to the ecological issue: the Cosmos approach to environmental matters”, which took place in the framework of the course on Climantica in the subject of “Science for the Contemporary World” from the point of view of sustainability and IT.

The content of this lecture has been included in three documentaries. The first one, which is already available on Climántica TV, is an introduction that summarizes all the issues dealt with in the seminar.

He argued that the cosmos could be taken as a starting point to approach the subject of “Science of the Contemporary World” as a focal point to tackle environmental issues such as climate change. In this sense, he follows this outline for teaching purposes:

Universe --> Galaxies --> Stars + Planets --> Earth --> Homo sapiens

As regards the Homo Sapiens’ capacity to change the environment, he proposed an opposite movement but he warned about the risk to have an anthropocentric vision of the approach:

Homo sapiens --> Earth (climate change caused by man)

Following the first outline, he started his argument from the Big Bang in order to explain the formation of planets. In this sense, he talked about the formation of atmospheres and oceanic hydrospheres in the Super-Earth, and he discussed whether water is necessary for life and whether a technological society can be developed in an oceanic Super-Earth planet. According to him, this question is the key issue in Astrobiology, but he recognised the controversy arisen by this area of science, since it neither proves nor gives evidence of the theory it suggests.

Taking into account the emergence of life on Earth in its origins, based on the formation of lines rich in 12C and poor in 13C –linked to organic environments- on the oldest rocks on Earth -4 109 years old- formed in Greenland’s oceanic context, he argued that life could appear when the Earth was under a formation process. He also talked about the evidence of the fact that at this stage plate tectonics would already take place, linking this fact to the impact on life evolution, since it would make the change of ecological niche and habitats easier.
Regarding this fact, he pointed out that the same could happen with the neighbour planets, Venus and Mars. In this sense, he mentioned the existence of morphological traces in Mars that implied the presence of water. In addition, he said that in Venus the proportion of deuterium in the atmosphere presumably suggests the presence of water, so that there could have been life on both planets 4 000 million years ago. As far as plate tectonics is concerned, he observed that the traces found on the surface aimed at the model in Mars instead of in Venus. He also emphasized the relevance that water has on Jupiter’s satellite, the so-called Europe, since it has a 100-quilometer deep ice sheet, that is, the solar system’s largest water reserve. If volcanoes were placed on this sheet, heat could melt ice, so that life could exist here thanks to thermal energy. Therefore, he came to the conclusion that the satellite, which has already been visited once, is worth a second visit.

Following this argument, Dr. Anguita considered a planetary approach to tackle the environmental issue since, according to him, the two neighbour planets have undergone large climatic changes when life started on Earth. In this sense, he argued that it was extremely difficult to assume that a climatic stability on Earth that allows life sustainability could be maintained. Therefore, he emphasized the relevance that the use of fossil fuels could have on that stability.

In short, Mr. Anguita’s lecture was a brilliant contribution to understand the complexity, difficulty, extent and controversy posed by the research on the Cosmos and the formation of Earth from the Big Bang, which became very useful for teachers’ daily work. This approach does not only become more significant to understand the research on the Cosmos, but it provides with a trans-disciplinary added value that makes environmental awareness possible.


New documentary on the unit “Materials and Sustainability: From the cosmos to nanotechnology”

 


On 8 November, Mr. Ramón Cid Manzano, graduate in Physics and Chemistry and head of the Department of Physics and Chemistry in a secondary school, gave a lecture entitled “Science for the Contemporary World from the point of view of sustainability and IT”.

He started his lecture by summarizing the main features of the scientific work, the role of the discourse and the use of science in solving everyday problems. In this sense, he claimed that scientific knowledge had reinforced the world’s understanding and citizens’ critical nature.

Then, he focused on the two thematic units into which the subject “Science for the Contemporary World” is divided. To this purpose, he showed teachers those resources that are available in the Internet, assessed their educational use, and proposed several activities to be implemented in Climantica’s blogs and lessons.

In the thematic units called “Sustainable Management” and “New Uses, New Materials”, and taking climate change as a focal point, he encouraged teachers to introduce in the syllabus some activities regarding the ITER Project (Nuclear Fusion) and Nanotechnology, as well as some activities related to the Universe’s origin and scales and the Earth’s formation taking into account the present cosmological facts showed in the NASA or the GTC websites.

Following the same educational approach, he argued different trends in the present scientific research: Nanotechnology as well as Hadrontherapy, the GRID or LHC accelerator (CERN) which are directly connected with the issues covered in CCMC blogs.

In conclusion, Mr. Cid, who has proved his wonderful communication skills, gave a brilliant lecture that became very useful for teachers’ daily work.

Resources in Science for the Contemporary World blogs

 


The schools’ guiding blog contains 4 websites of internet resources that can be useful to teach the subject “Science for the Contemporary World” related to sustainability within the framework of the climate change society.

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