Hidden in plain sight

Hidden in plain sight

The past year has been one unlike any other experienced in living memory. The whole world has changed and shifted in a way that we would never have imagined.

Covid -19 has had a profound impact on our lives and in some ways it has been life imitating art giving films such as contagion a run for its money.

There is however a bigger blockbuster that’s hidden and invisible to us, yet we have all starred in its production. Each one of us has had a part in it and we all feel its effects now more than ever, that’s CO2. Carbon dioxide is the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere. It’s emissions are the primary driver of global climate change.

Everyday all 7.5 billion people on earth produce around 1 pound of rubbish which goes to landfill. We also each produce around 31 pounds of CO2 which is released into the atmosphere. CO2 is invisible, we do not see it hence we are almost unaware of what we are filling our skies with. What would happen, what would we do if we could see it, how would we change what we do daily?

For a billion years in our history (earth is estimated at 4.543 billion years), there’s been about 0.02% of CO2 in the atmosphere but in the last 100 years that has doubled to 0.04% and is climbing rapidly.

The severe effects are being felt globally with more severe fires, severe droughts, severe storms and our winters are getting shorter as the planet heats up. We touched upon this back in January in a previous Mara Coffee blog, highlighting how climate change is affecting coffee farming, in the 'Looming threat to your favourite drink'.

The amount of heat we are adding into the atmosphere is equivalent to 3 Hiroshima bombs per second! Yes, you read that right!

Every second, the equivalent energy thats added from the extra CO2 we place on the atmosphere is equivalent to three full atomic bombs.

That’s 18 times more energy than all of earth uses placed into the atmosphere every second! The damage we are doing to the planet is staggering.

To put this into perspective, one ton of CO2 would fill the air inside the Colosseum! To visualise that consider a small smart car which weighs a ton. According to Rubner’s hypothesis each human on average will produce over 5 tons of CO2 over our lifetimes contrast against an average car which is estimated to produce 4.6 tons of CO2 per year.

It is the duty of governments to set clear and achievable short and long term measure and legislations that large polluting industries need to adhere to.

Three things that need actioning immediately are:

  1. All electricity needs to be renewable.
  2. All fuel needs to be renewable.
  3. We need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

There are good news and reasons to be optimistic because the sun and wind are the most uniformly distributed resources on the planet.

We have 1000 times more sunlight and wind energy than the earth requires. The cost of harnessing these renewable technologies has dropped which has enabled alternative technology to replace fossil fuels. Wind energy has gone down in price 22 times in the past 20 years, solar’s price has declined 200 times.

This means wind and solar are now cheaper than fossil fuels. The downside is that we use our energy at different times of the day, mainly after dark when peak demand goes up.For instance our sunshine hours peak at noon but our peak demand is 6pm which means that without a low cost means of energy storage we need fossil fuels to meet those demands.

This is the challenge that will tip the balance toward doing away with fossil fuels. There are a lot of brilliant minds working to find a solution to this challenge.

As individuals, we are all responsible for climate change and collectively need to fix it, we cannot rely on governments and large industries to make the changes necessary to bring CO2 and other greenhouse gases to zero levels. Each collective effort counts.

One of the simplest ways is through planting trees. Trees are one of the most powerful tools against the climate crisis. Trees clean the air and absorb CO2 improving the air quality and contributes to a healthier and cleaner environment overall by providing us with oxygen. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same volume of carbon monoxide as produced from a 26,000 mile car journey!

Trees are considered nature’s most efficient carbon sinks. It is this characteristic that makes planting trees a form of climate change mitigation.

A huge threat to that is deforestation. Deforestation is often caused by a variety of factors, ranging from large-scale slash and burn practices, daily community forest destruction to unsustainable agriculture. Long term consequences arise when forests are cut down and not restored, leading to severe flooding, erosion, desertification and environmental devastation.

There isn’t enough land to plant new trees without competing with animal territories and human development hence at Mara Coffee we wish to focus on reforestation efforts.

With every coffee purchase at Mara Coffee, we commit to plant a tree on our customers behalf by donation to Eden Reforestation Projects. An organisation that carries out large-scale tree planting and tree conservation operations to fuel positive environmental change. An added benefit is that local people within tree planting regions are hired to plant trees which gives them steady employment, a fair and consistent income to provide for their families, afford daily necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, and medicine.

As the reforestation effort goes on, healthy forests begin to emerge, and all the harmful effects of deforestation begin to disappear.

This solution offers a double benefit of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and has dded benefits of protecting against deforestation consequences and providing employment for local communities.

Thank you for reading this blog and for your support through your purchase. Together we can make a positive change toward these important environmental issue.


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