Earth’s Greatest Enemies

Earth’s Greatest Enemies

Climatologist James Lovelock said that the greatest enemies of the planet earth were the three C’s namely; cars, cows, and a chainsaw (Turner, 2003).  Carbon dioxide is mostly blamed as the most significant contributor to the greenhouse gases which lead to global warming.  This paper explains how the three C’s contribution to planet environmental degradation.

According to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) entitled ‘Livestock’s Long Shadows,’ cows are the biggest culprits as far as destroying the environment is concerned.  According to the report, the rapid growth of herds of cattle is a threat to the climate, forests, and wildlife. The cows are blamed for desertification, destroying water sources, poisoning the rivers and burping methane gases. Cows are responsible for about 18% of all the greenhouse gases that cause global warming more than other pollutants.  The carbon dioxide comes from burning the fuels to produce fertilizer that grows feeds, meat production, transportation and clearing of bushes to graze all make up 9% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Additionally, the burp and manure emit more than a third of methane, which warms the planet twenty times faster than carbon dioxide. Also, livestock gives out more than 100 other gases such as ammonia which causes acid rain. Ranching cause land to turn into deserts and cows take in a lot of water to produce milk.  The waste finds its way to the water sources and chokes the sea life, and the antibiotics used to treat cows become a health hazard to humans and sea life. The waste coupled with water from slaughterhouses is washed to the sea where it kills the coral reef and creates dead zones in the sea.

The other culprit is the chain saw which does a lot of damage to the trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen which both animals and humans use for respiration.  In the process, trees also purify the air and keep the oxygen cycle going. When trees are cut, the earth turns into a desert and carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere. When the trees are felled, they release the carbon stored into the atmosphere where it mixes with other gases, further contributing to global warming. Further, when combustion of the wood and charcoal takes place, it also releases carbon into the atmosphere which also damages the atmosphere.  Also, the chain saws cause noise pollution, and they emit a lot of smoke as carbon dioxide.

The third threat of the climate is the cars which emit about 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other gases for every liter of gasoline.  About six pounds of the carbon dioxide comes from the extraction of fuels, production, and delivery of the fuel, while the most significant emissions come from the exhaust pipe.  Sadly, these emissions related to fuels are on the rise as the oil industry extracts and refines the unconventional oils.




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Meinshausen, M., Meinshausen, N., Hare, W., Raper, S. C., Frieler, K., Knutti, R., … & Allen, M. R. (2009). Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 C. Nature, 458(7242), 1158.

Turney, J. (2003). Lovelock and Gaia: signs of life. Columbia University Press.