This last 4th of July it was 90 degrees in Anchorage, Alaska. That’s actually hotter than it was in Hawaii. All eyes should now be wide open to the fact that we have a massive global warming problem on our hands.
Without large cooling thermal masses like glaciers it seems that Arctic areas will continue to have these heat waves. I started thinking about the solution to deglaciation and realized it was reglaciation. Piping fresh water up to reglaciate Arctic areas seems like as reasonable of a solution as any other. It seems like we should be desalinating ocean water and piping it up the mountains for the long cold winters to freeze again.
We can think of the earth and its atmosphere like a giant cooler. Now, imagine we need to maintain a “cooler” environment to survive. Well this earth is quickly becoming a cooler with very little ice. Yes, the last bit of ice in a cooler does melt the fastest, so the sooner we start working on this problem the better off we will be in the long term. Places like Alaska and Greenland still have long and very cold winters capable of freezing vast amounts of water. We just need to make sure there is water upland to freeze at the right time. The transfer of that cold weather energy into converting water into ice will help keep the winters from being as brutally cold as well as help reduce extra heat from our atmosphere in the summer time. The extra atmospheric energy would then be effectively be trapped in ice during the winter and some of that used to offset the extreme summer weather (assuming an overall net gain of glacial mass).
From a point of view of ocean salinity, if all we are doing is recreating the glaciers that were there then there would be no significant net change to the salinity of the ocean. At the moment theoretically the salinity of the ocean near glacial melt off is decreasing due to increased inflow of fresh water. While we wouldn’t want to dump brine right at the shore, if it is carefully dispersed further off shore in managed quantities it could be done safely.
We already have the technology to do this. For example in the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance project Jordan will be pipping in ocean water from the Red Sea, desalinating it, and then dumping the brine into the already extremely salty and rapidly shrinking Dead Sea. This will help bring water security to the entire Middle East region.
Another thought I had along similar lines is in the reforestation of the Southern Sahara to help pull carbon out of the atmosphere. Maybe we should be desalinating ocean water and piping it across Africa to help speed up the reforestation process. The salty brine water could be piped somewhere else further north in the Sahara to either create an inland sea or salt flats. Of course, I would recommend using clean energy like solar or hydrogen fuel to do all of this piping. Bottom line is we’ve had no problem piping oil vast distances and that is a large part of what has caused this global warming crisis. Also, it seems to me it is by far environmentally safer to be pumping water than oil across land.
Of course, even the ocean itself currently has problems. In the Pacific Ocean alone, between Hawaii and California, there is a garbage patch twice the size of Texas. I’ve also read recent reports of an ever-growing patch of garbage in the Caribbean. The question is how do we rid the ocean of all that plastic? The answer is actually simpler than we might realize: one container of shredded plastic at a time.
It seems to me old cruise ships could easily follow these garbage patches anywhere and be retrofitted into processing centers to shred and load all this plastic into containers. That plastic can then be shipped to factories around the world for reuse. These ships could easily run on clean solar energy or hydrogen fuel.
If we turn this massive ecological disaster into a cleanup that produces a usable industrial product (shredded plastic) then I believe it actually becomes feasible to remove these garbage patches. We may have to place limits on the amount of new plastic that can be created if recycled plastic is an available option.
Recycling may also be key to saving small island nations; in 2015 the United States alone put 6,900,000 TONS of glass into landfills a year.
Current estimates are that the ocean is rising at .13 inches a year. Glass can very easily be crushed into sand or remelted and turned into beads of any size. Glass is very stable too. It is estimated it takes a million years for a glass bottle to decompose.
So maybe the solution is that the world needs to ship these nations all its glass waste, so they can slowly build up their islands with glass sand. One man’s problem is potentially another man’s solution.
It is clear to me that the Earth will not be saved by those that want to fight over the talking stick, so they can yell the loudest. I believe the real solutions lie in a different kind of cooperative and more willing to listen energy. It seems to me we need more Eastern thought to come up with innovative and Earth friendly ways to problem solve, but we also need a proper balance of Western thought to figure out all the specifics to implement any new and innovative ideas. Albert Einstein said, ” We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”, and I believe he was absolutely correct.