If global warming doesn’t make you ponder our children’s future, ATMOSPHERIC OXYGEN DEPLETION should. And it is already happening.
When the Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago, there was no oxygen in the atmosphere. The oxygen in the atmosphere today was emitted by plants – phytoplankton and sea weeds in the ocean, and trees, shrubs and grass on land, through the eons. Plants, through photosynthesis, absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and emit oxygen (O2), so the animals can live. Eliminate the plants in the ocean and on land, and the animals, both marine and terrestrial, will suffocate.
We don’t need an Einstein to figure out that if we keep on burning fossil fuels, and cut/burn down forests, and acidify the ocean impacting on the phytoplankton, not only do we cause global warming, we deplete oxygen from the atmosphere, as well as the sources (plants) that can regenerate it. The result is the steady decline in the atmospheric oxygen concentration in the last 20 years when O2 concentration was globally monitored.
The pre-industrial oxygen concentration in the atmosphere was about 21%. Today, some places register as low as 16%. Reportedly, some enclaves of high human population and concentration, especially in large and technologized cities, have scored as low as 7% (?), e.g. parts of Tokyo and some cities in India. According to OSHA rules on atmospheres in closed environments, “if the oxygen level falls below 19.5% it is oxygen deficient, putting occupants of the confined space at risk of losing consciousness and death.”
Symptoms of sea-level oxygen deprivation is similar to those of altitude sickness – include shortness of breath, headache and nausea.
Of course the current generations won’t suffocate immediately, but continue with our present oil/coal-burning trajectory and our children’s children and the animals will have a hard time just to catch a breath.
Don’t we even care?
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)