The Effect Gases Derived From Fossil Fuel Combustion Have On The Biosphere

2471 words - 10 pages

The year is 2985; we begin with the life of Elizabeth Ferguson. Elizabeth wakes up and begins her day; she took off her stationary nighttime breathing apparatus and attached her portable apparatus and fills a spare tank to hold her oxygen ration for the day. She begins her morning jog, marveling in the ambrosial sight of the vivid, swirling yellow sky, the sky was miraculously clear today and she could fathom the faint blue haze that she had once seen in her childhood “a classic sign of pollution” these words rang out in her mind as clearly as bells chime, she immediately reminisced upon her many professors who had drilled this fact into her mind ever since she could remember. Her mother’s tales were leagues apart from the professor’s lessons, her mother often conveyed the blue skies of her childhood, the lack of swarms of flying matter too small to be distinguished by the human eye but dense enough to be seen as a thick mist, she also spoke of the time in which the breathing apparatuses that were issued to us were unneeded as you could breathe the air without a mask without adverse effects. Elizabeth often shared her mother’s stories with her fellow peers in class. These stories were swiftly recanted by her professors as simply old wives tales. Later, she returned home after the jog and began the sanitation process, removing the particulate matter that had created a fine covering of dust over her skin, she knows that this is one of the most important processes and that if it is not completed swiftly she will be bedridden with many melanomas from the toxic film. After her sanitization she adorns herself in the coverings that will protect her from the rain that is forecasted for today. Rain is one of the most dangerous substances to be exposed to due to its highly acidic nature. Fergusson then proceeds to her car and starts her engine, releasing an extremely large black plume of particulate matter and begins her day. Though this story is not a plausible scenario for Earth it is an exaggerated scenario of what is taking place on Earth. The burning of fossil fuels has been raising the greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere at astronomical levels since their inception in the late 19th century. “…We are dealing with an unusual event in recent Earth history, one that coincides with the recent proliferation of technological advancement of the human population and our expansion of energy and resource use” (Vitousek 1863). These rising gas concentrations can be traced back to the start of the industrial age where fossil fuels were first being developed:
Measurements of greenhouse gases in the air (air trapped in Antarctic ice bubbles) demonstrate that concentrations were reasonably constant for several thousand years before the 19th century. Carbon dioxide concentrations then began to increase at an accelerating rate, and results from analysis of the air bubbles fit seamlessly into the modern observations (Watson et al. 1990). (Qtd. in Vitousek 1863)...

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