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Human Race on Brink of Extinction? Yes, Says New Study

If the rate at which deforestation is happening doesn’t stop, then mankind too will become defunct, warns a new environment study on deforestation. Agriculture, commercial business, setting up of factories or towering buildings – all such activities have contributed immensely to deforestation that we humans would be the targets of destruction too in the future, says the study .

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Photo Credit: Hustvedt

A research team from the University of Georgia has come to this view based on their study on the essential standards of thermodynamics – a section of Physics focused with the association between heat and mechanical energy.

The study stated that plants or biomass stores chemical energy, which is used for food and fuel. However, the same chemical energy is demolished as well to cater to demanding needs of globalization and urbanization like agriculture and enlarging cities.

John Schramski who is the associate professor in University of Georgia’s College of Engineering and the lead author of the research said that one can consider earth “like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years.” He added that human beings are losing sun’s energy, which is preserved in fossil fuels and plants “much faster than it can be replenished.”

He illustrated that at one time earth was a desolate place empty of any form of life. After billions of years, regular organisms developed the capability to change sunlight into energy, which eventually made way to the formation of plants and animals that became a part of the planet’s forest life and varied ecosystems.

Scientists estimate that 2,000 years ago, earth consisted of almost 1,000 billion tons of carbon in existing biomass, but now humans have decreased that quantity by nearly half. It is estimated that a little over 10 percent of that biomass was ruined in the last century.

Schramski stressed that if the trend of plant destruction is not reversed then en eventual stage will be reached “where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us.”

The research teams showed that a huge majority of plant destruction comes from deforestation along with the coming of widespread mechanized farming and demand of food from the growing population. The demolition of biomass is resulting in the earth having left with less preserved energy that is necessary for it to maintain complicated food webs and biogeochemical balances.

Schramski explained, “As the planet becomes less hospitable and more people depend on fewer available energy options, their standard of living and very survival will become increasingly vulnerable to fluctuations, such as droughts, disease epidemics and social unrest.”

He added that he is not a fervent environmentalist and his “training and scientific work are rooted in thermodynamics.” However, he emphasized that these findings are “absolute and incontrovertible” and only a limited quantity of biomass is available on the planet, and “once it’s exhausted, there is absolutely nothing to replace it.”

The paper said that if human beings don’t go defunct, and the biomass falls down below sustainable thresholds, mankind will decay significantly, and people will be compelled to go back to the life of hunter-gatherers or regular horticulturists.

 

The paper titled “Human Domination of the Biosphere: Rapid Discharge of the Earth-Space Battery Foretells the Future of Humankind” has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There are many stop deforestation laws in U.S like the Lacey Act, the Wilderness Act and the Roadless Rule to save the forests and put an end to illegal wood items from entering the country’s marketplace.

Greenpeace  too works towards altering attitude and behavior to protect and preserve the environment under the “zero deforestation by 2020” campaign. They ask industries that demolish the environment to implement other ways of practicing business.

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