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A few of my Rants

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The first environmental crisis.

In the beginning the world had a comfortable atmosphere of methane and carbon dioxide, and a whole host of anaerobic organisms evolved to live comfortably in it. Initially most of these were single celled bacteria like organisms using various fermentation processes to convert (for example) glucose to lactic acid, releasing a moderate amount of energy in the process.

But then some nasty blue green cells developed a process to utilise the sun's energy to give a much higher energy yield. Unfortunately they released the waste product of this process - a poisonous gas called oxygen - into the atmosphere. At first the oxygen was absorbed by minerals like iron, but eventually these were all oxidised, and the oxygen began to accumulate in the atmosphere. This polluted atmosphere was lethal to nearly all of the previous inhabitants of the earth, and the vast majority were killed off in the first mass extinction (the Great Oxygenation Event). Now just a few descendants of the original inhabitants survive in the bottoms of the oceans, and deep in the earth's crust, where the oxygen has not yet reached them.

For more on this see "Great Oxygenation Event" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_catastrophe)

There have since been a number of similar major disasters, with various causes, and today it looks very much as if we are about to precipate our own mass extinction event by squandering the waste products discarded over several billion years by our profligate ancestors (the coal, oil, iron ore, limestone, etc), on which our society is totally dependant, and which we are currently using at a totally unsustainable rate.

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 © Roger Riordan 2004-2017

The Great Oxygenation Event