Earth Sciences comprises of many aspects that need in depth knowledge. Once it was believed that continents are so huge that they can’t move, which now we know is wrong notion. There is so much to know about the Universe, Earth and Environment that we need to keep researching about them to gather as much knowledge as possible. The mysteries about Earth and Environment have led to different perceptions. The mysteries surrounding climate change, global warming etc. has led to an increased inflow of remedial suggestions from experts, academicians and the general public. This has also led to an increasingly opinionated public perception about the state of current environment. Personal beliefs are being translated into strong comments and views. Are these perceptions correct? Not all of them. Let us find out if some of the major “well known-facts” are even facts or not.
Myth: There is a physical hole in the Ozone!!
Fact: The ambiguity surrounding this mysterious hole in the ozone layer has continued to baffle one and many. The earth’s atmosphere is surrounded by an Ozone layer and this layer protects the inhabitants of our planet from the harmful spectrum of UV rays. But when people say that there is a hole in that layer, they are not entirely correct. Ozone is an allotrope of Oxygen which is present in the triatomic form or as O3. The formation of O3 is a continuous process in the earth’s atmosphere and is affected by several factors including the incidence of UV rays. The “hole” in the layer which was observed over Antarctica represents lesser density of the Ozone layer due to excessive dissociation of the O3 atom. Hence the “hole” represents the depreciation in the formation rate of ozone near the poles rather than a physical visible hole.
Myth: Human Beings are responsible for Global Warming.
Fact: Despite the fact that it is popular belief, that this is an irrefutable fact, the actual stats convey a different story. It is observed that the anthropogenic contribution to green house gas emissions is just actually slightly lower than the natural causes. The burning of fossil fuels is responsible for just 3.27% of the carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere each year, while the biosphere and oceans account for 55.28% and 41.46%, respectively. This though does not mean that Human beings are not contributors in the Global Warming scenario. The contribution from the biosphere and the oceans was always there but the anthropogenic contribution is extra and does pose a threat in maintenance of equilibrium in the Global Carbon Cycle.
Myth: Environment Conservation= Planting Trees= Well done Human Beings.
Fact: This case is well accepted amongst people and is by and large believed to be the best way to conserve the environment. Environmental conservation is not only limited to planting trees. A common man can contribute to the conservation of environment by performing a simple act like switching off the electrical appliances for 10 minutes each day. Tree plantation drives attract many participants but wrongly conceptualized tree plantation drives can also lead to environmental degradation. Planting water intensive trees in areas experiencing ground water shortage will cause water stress and will ultimately lead to environmental degradation.
Myth: Renewable Energy = Good Energy
Fact: This may be true in the case of energy crisis that the world is facing, but this is not true if we look at it from an environmental point of view. Renewable sources of energy are those sources which can be replenished at a faster rate than the non-renewable sources of energy. These sources include: Water, Air, biomass, solar and geothermal energy. It is a debate whether to include nuclear energy or not in this list. Though the usage of renewable sources mean replenishment of the sources, it does not guarantee production of clean energy, geothermal energy and hydropower generation cause huge environmental problems by way of air pollution and habitat loss respectively. The other cleaner sources like wind and solar remain too expensive to be introduced to the general public. So the question remains, is good energy necessarily good for the environment?
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