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Earth and Tatooine: A Casual Climate Change Conversation Continues…

Earth and Tatooine: A Casual Climate Change Conversation Continues…

In this guest post, health advocate Diane Craig asks, ‘why all the fuss about climate change’? She explores the environmental impact of hardware upgrades. And she also shares how we can all make a difference with wired connections:

A: Why such a fuss about climate change? The climate is always changing!

Z: In one way, you’re right. Scientists who measured levels in ice core samples from more than 800,000 years ago found that CO2 atmospheric concentrations cycled several times, within a range between ~175ppm (about 740,000 years ago) and ~300ppm (about ~350,000 years ago). [1]

A: But Charles Keeling also measured CO2 concentrations, and he found regular variations annually. And his first high measurement was 313ppm.

That’s not much larger than the 300ppm high you mentioned. Plus, while It’s true that these Keeling variation levels have risen since 1958, they’ve increased by only by ~36% in 66 years. [2]

The Curve’s Rate Is Increasing

Z: That’s true enough. But the curve’s rate is increasing. The May 2024 concentrations were the highest ever recorded. And when we combine both measurements on one graph, using the same x-axis 800,000-plus years time scale and same y-axis carbon dioxide ppm range from 175 to more than 400, it illustrates the giant increase [3].

That’s happened only since the Industrial Revolution in about 1760. [4] NOAA — that’s the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — puts it this way: “The increase over the last 60 years is 100 times faster than previous natural increases. In fact, on the geologic time scale, the increase from the end of the last ice age to the present … looks virtually instantaneous.” [3]

Cows Were Blamed For Causing Climate Change

A: Oh. So the climate is always changing, but since humans’ Industrial Revolution, the changes happen much faster and in only one direction. How can we change this? I’ve heard that cows add lots of methane to the atmosphere.

Z: It’s true, cows and other livestock expel gas, and methane gas is a greenhouse gas. It’s also true that, worldwide, these animals are the #1 agricultural contributor to climate change. But after cows were blamed for causing climate change, scientists at UC Davis figured out how to largely reduce cows’ methane emissions. [5], [6]

A: Hmmm. In the USA in 2022, the entire agriculture sector accounted for only 10% of USA’s greenhouse gas emissions. [7] Even when the electricity production sector was re-allocated to electricity’s users, agriculture’s share didn’t change. The biggest increase was in the commercial and residential sector. [7] Why is that?

The Environmental Impact of Rapid Tech Upgrades

Z: What are the biggest changes you’ve experienced during your lifetime?

A: That’s easy. My cellphone, my portable laptop and my smart watch. I take them everywhere.

Z: And how often do you upgrade them?

A: Maybe every three years….

Z: That’s just a little longer than the average lifespans for cell phones. According to Statista, both consumer and enterprise smartphones last less than 3 years. [8]

A: But I send my old devices to a recycling center that refurbishes them. Doesn’t that help?

Z: You extend the use of your discarded devices that way, but you still are putting additional devices and transmissions into the system. And as wireless frequencies, hardware and software all continue to change, what’s no longer usable ends up in landfills. In the commercial and other sectors, lots more data is being transmitted and stored.

A: Hmmm. Worldwide temperatures seem to be rising also?

Z: That’s right. CO2 concentration levels correlate with global temperatures. [9]

A: Okay. What if I use my wireless devices less and keep them longer rather than automatically upgrading? I already recycle paper, glass and plastics. I reuse my shopping bags. I combine my errands and appointments to travel fewer miles. I compost my food scraps to recycle their nutrients. I’m even trying to eat more vegetables and less meat.

Some Libraries Even Loan Out RF Meters

Z: These are all great ideas!! Every bit helps. Another way is to borrow rather than buy. Several countries have organizations called Libraries of Things, or LoTs. They loan out equipment and tools that people need but use only occasionally. [10] And some libraries even loan out RF meters, so patrons can measure the wireless radiation in their environments. [11]

A: I’ll tell my library about the RF meter loan program, and I’ll see if there are any LoTs near me. Here’s my climate change solution: When it’s hot, I cook with sunshine. My passive solar cooker can even roast chicken and bake cornbread. I bought it years ago from Solar Cookers International. [12] This nonprofit continues to create solutions for third-world regions that lack power, but their cooker is equally effective in my back yard. And using it doesn’t heat up my kitchen.

Z: That’s another good idea!

A: I have another question about my devices: I know I can use ethernet cables instead of wireless radiation to connect them. Would that help? I’d still be using energy, just electricity instead of wireless transmissions.

Making a Difference with Wired Connections and Upgrades

Z: Your change, plus infrastructure upgrades, would make a big difference. I’m not an expert on this, but here’s my opinion: In-house ethernet cables will reduce wireless radiation there. You’ll need to switch off the wireless features on your router and devices as well, or use airplane mode as needed, then check with an RF meter to be sure every wireless feature has been turned off. You may have to contact the manufacturer or provider to help you with that part.

What’s inside can connect to the outside in several ways. A cable system, a phone company’s line, and a fiber line that reaches your premises don’t use wireless. There are also wireless connection options, from space or from wireless transmissions to and from a nearby ‘fiber node’ or cell tower.

Fiber To The Premises

Here’s my list that compares Fiber To The Premises [acronym FTTP] with Wireless services:

FTTP transmits at the speed of light (wireless transmissions are slower)
FTTP communication networks are more secure than with wireless
FTTP is underground and protects privacy; nearby Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (industry acronym = WTFs) require antennas and boxes that encroach on privacy
FTTP is less vulnerable to hacking; hacking is easier with wireless
FTTP provides more reliable connectivity than wireless
FTTP involves infrastructure that future technologies can utilize, because…
optical fiber is easier to upgrade than wireless. Who knows if WTFs will be made obsolete?
FTTP provides protection from fires; wireless has caused fires
FTTP protects living cells from oxidative stress; wireless radiation is associated with oxidative stress.
FTTP, being underground, doesn’t negatively affect property values; nearby WTFs have resulted in lower property values. It follows that…
With FTTP, community tax revenues are unaffected, but lower property values also lower tax revenues
FTTP consumes less energy than wireless
FTTP infrastructures don’t obstruct views, unlike wireless’s equipment.
FTTP doesn’t negatively affect human, animal, plant, and soil health, but there are known negative health effects from wireless
FTTP uses less wireless RFR than wireless [RFR = the acronym for “Radio Frequency Radiation,” the term wireless companies chose to distinguish radiation from wireless frequencies from all other types of radiation. RFR formerly was included with these within the term “microwave spectrum”.]
FTTP creates less heat than wireless; wireless base stations are “hot”
FTTP uses less energy than wireless; wireless base stations can use fossil fuels and have large energy requirements.
Municipalities who build their own FTTP system pay a higher price to build FTTP infrastructures. It’s cheaper for telecom companies to install their own WTFs….
But FTTP then can be regulated by municipal utilities, both to bridge the digital divide and to provide revenue for local government. Telecom companies can charge whatever they wish and advertise in the markets that give them the greatest return on their investment.

I hope the FTTP option already is or is coming soon to your area!

Getting Creative In Other Ways

A: Thanks! People who already face climate change consequences, like rising sea levels and severe weather events, are being creative in other ways. My current favorite is how engineers in India solved water shortages there by finding a way to capture water from the air. [13] They got their idea from Tatooine’s desert ‘moisture vaporators’ in the first Star Wars movie. [14] …

I have one last question: I’ve read that the United Nations’ Paris Agreement’s goal is “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” [15] 1.5°C translates to a 2.7° increase in Fahrenheit, but to me, they’re both small numbers. Will all our efforts be enough to get to and stay within that range?

Z: If our efforts help to encourage every person, every business and every government to participate, the answer should be yes.

A: May the Force be with us all!

 

Many thanks to Diane Craig for this guest post.

For more than 30 years, Diane Craig has advocated for persons diagnosed with celiac disease. From 2013 to 2018, among other activities as a board member for the California non-profit Celiac Support Group, she helped draft a petition to the FDA to label gluten in drugs and wrote blog posts to help publicize research regarding the then-new concept of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

 

References, also in A’s & Z’s Casual Conversation format; each was accessed in 2024.

[1] https://climatechangeconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Ice_Core_800000yr.png

[2] https://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/co2_400/mlo_full_record.pdf

[3] https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-

atmospheric-carbon-dioxide

[4] https://www.britannica.com/event/Industrial-Revolution]

[5] https://clear.ucdavis.edu/news/role-cows-greenhouse-gas-emissions-play-climate-

change-0

[6] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/cow-burps-are-a-major-contributor-to-climate-

change-can-scientists-change-that

[7] https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

[8] https://www.statista.com/statistics/619788/average-smartphone-life/

[9] https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-

temperature

[10] https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/trendy-libraries-of-things-let-you-borrow-all-kinds-of-

stuff-rather-than-buying-it/

[11] https://ehtrust.org/emf-meters-at-u-s-libraries-to-measure-cell-tower-radiation/

[12] https://www.solarcookers.org/

[13] https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/indian-engineers-tackle-water-shortages-with-star-

wars-tech-in-kerala/

[14] Star Wars, Episode 4: A New Hope, 1977.

[15] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement

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