Earth Community Organization (ECO)
the Global Community
Larisa Khomik, Alexander Khomik and Valentine Cherednichenko
for Discussion Roundtables 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 17, 23, 30, 31, and 36
Table of Contents|
All over the world the awareness is rising that the human race damages the environment and may set at risk its own future. Governments and people take action against this tendency. Up to the present efforts have not been coordinated:
environmental laws were developed in one direction, environmental organizations developed in a different direction. We have had only a vague idea about where we were heading.
In 1997, the Republican Center of Science Study "Disable Children and New Information Technology" (RCSS "DCNIT") and the Ukrainian National Ecological Natural Center for Youth (UNENC) began the realization of a Ukrainian-wide Programme "Environmental Education - Social and Psychological Aspects in Ukraine" with the support of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education.
Purpose of the Program: Taking into account personal, social and environmental aspects when helping people, in particular children and youth, to adapt to changing ecological, social, economical, political and other conditions.
Ways of Realization: Environmental education provides a person with knowledge on and responsibility for the state of the environment, provides guidelines how to behave appropriately.
Environmental education and raising of environmental awareness are the main columns of a sustainable society. Environmental films stimulate the emotional perception of ecological problems and motivate people’s action according to their moral principles and hence inspire them to preserve the environment for future generations. And this is very important. If mankind wants to survive, it must take immediate action.
We suggest you some widely used methodology of applying environmental films. Those films are used at the course on "Environmental education and Social and Psychological adaptation of personality in Ukraine".
The article "Catastrophe of the year 2030: the climate of our planet" was the starting point for a series of articles named "Catastrophe of the year 2030". This articles briefly describes ecological problems and films depicting those problems.
"Catastrophe of the year 2030: the climate of our planet"
Why 2030? Not accidentally. There is a vital film with the same name in our video base. The film "Crash 2030" appeals to the international community to fight the causes of climate change which may lead to ecological catastrophe.
What are the true reasons for a catastrophe that might happen in 2030 and who is to be blamed – these are the major points offered for consideration by the International Court in the Hague. This catastrophe can cause serious ecological, economic and social consequences.
In aspiration to build ecologically stable societies, we proceed from the fact, that if the world wants to survive ecologically, measures have to be taken during the coming years. Otherwise, the change for worse in the environment and economic regress will lead to the gradual collapse of society.
It is to be expected that the warming of world climate is the most serious threat to the environment up to the moment. As a result of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, CO2 is being accumulated faster than absorbed by natural processes, forming something like an opaque window above the earth surface. Owing to the accumulation of large amount of carbon dioxide, conditions analogue to that in a green-house are being created, when visible sun rays reach land and warm it, but infra-red radiation doesn’t go back into space. The greenhouse effect exists in nature to a certain degree - life would have been impossible without it. But as a result of human activity so much carbon dioxide is being ejected into the atmosphere that the warming process is faster than ever since the last ice-age. Other gases also contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Scientists are coming to the conclusion that accumulation of "greenhouse" gases will raise the average earth temperature and increase the amount of precipitation. Due to computer models it is possible to predict global temperature changes for the next decades. As water warms up, the ocean level will rise; moreover, this tendency will be accelerated by melting of polar ice. By 2030, the sea level may rise for more than a meter. Coastal regions will be submerged, where more than a third part of the world population lives and will cause mass migration.
The greenhouse effect is a more serious threat to natural systems – forests, swamps, freshwater lakes etc - than for human health. That is why it could be very difficult to take measures for slowing-down this tendency. Probably it will take many years to prove that the emission of "greenhouse" gases into the atmosphere is connected will the world climate warming. By that time it may be too late to do something and the only way out is to adapt to new conditions of life.
The world community is responsible for the warming of oceans. Nowadays we observe all the symptoms of the coming catastrophe, of which a computer model is being demonstrated in the film "Crash 2030".
Let’s save the ozone layer without delay
The land surface is protected from destructive ultraviolet light by ozone – a colourless gas without smell. Chlorine and fluorine hydrocarbons (CFH) and halogen compounds (HC) are industrial gases that destroy the frail structure of the ozone layer. CFHs, discovered in 1930s, are widely used in automobile conditioners, refrigerators, in the production of disposable plastic dishes, aerosol pulverising machines, plastic foam pillows; insulation and refiners for electric equipment. Their destructive influence on the ozone layer attracted general attention in 1985 when English scientists discovered a 40 per cent fall of the spring ozone level above the Antarctica. Released into the air, CFHs raise to the stratosphere and are transported by wind to the North and South poles. Every chlorine atom in the CFH molecule in atmosphere acts like a catalyst, causing thousands of ozone molecules to split for about a hundred year period.
Exhaustion of the ozone layer is an obvious threat to human health. Besides, ultra-violet rays can destroy the plankton – tiny one-cell organisms, forming the basis of the food chain in water bodies. Also flora on dry land including agricultural crops is at risk. The film "Saving the ozone Layer" tells about what the world community can do to stop the destruction of the ozone layer of the earth.
With the appearing of publications about the ozone "hole" above the Antarctic in the end of the 80’s, the anxiety of world community increased so much that the governments of 34 countries signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 which became a landmark in international legislation. One of the major results of the agreement is stimulation and support of production methods that do not harm the ozone layer.
Unfortunately, just after signing the Montreal Protocol, scientists discovered that ozone was being destroyed two to three times faster than it had been estimated before. Even if ozone destroying gases are not any more produced, will it take about a hundred years for the existing CFH molecules in the atmosphere to split completely.
Like the greenhouse effect, acid rains are the result of burning fossil fuel. Major contaminants are sulphur dioxide ejected into the air mainly by power stations burning coal, and nitrogen oxides ejected by different sources including industrial enterprises and cars. Nitrogen oxides are also one of the reasons of the greenhouse effect and are components of city smog. When reaching the atmosphere, these contaminants can be carried away by wind for thousands of kilometres away from the source and fall down to the earth surface with rain, snow or fog.
Polluted precipitation called acidic rain make lakes, rivers and soil more acidic. The film "Acid rains" tells about reasons, process of forming and consequences of acid rains.
Mindless industrialisation of societies has led to the appearance of acidic rains. Architecture, human health, flora and fauna are suffering from it. The reason being atmospheric pollution.
Environmental activists and all reasonable people are afraid that if action is not being taken, acid rains will destroy huge areas of forests on our planet.
The Air: everywhere and nowhere
According to information of the World Health Organisation, the human population is breathing unhealthy air. The major contaminants of the air are lead, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide (main ingredients of acidic rains), solid particles (smoke, dust) and carbon oxide. These mixtures irritate the lung tissue and can cause cancer and other diseases. Carbon oxide prevents normal oxygen intake. Ozone which is essential in the stratosphere, is one of the major contaminants on the earth surface where it acts as harmful component of city smog. Smog is formed as the result of reaction among nitrogen oxides and other pollution with oxygen and bright sunlight. As economies develop and population increases, smog is getting thicker and thicker, until the proper measures on reduction of harmful emissions from source of pollution are taken.
The air inside of buildings is often worse than outside, as it has dangerous concentration of radon – colourless radioactive gas that has no smell. In the open air radon is not dangerous because of its low concentration. In case of poor air conditioning it penetrates through cracks in basements, reaches high concentrations and causes lung cancer. Radon is not the only contaminant inside houses. Harmful substances are emitted by glue, deodorants, tobacco, clothes brought from dry-cleaning. Even a hot shower can be dangerous for health, if there is chloroform in steams of chlorinated water. Besides, the main outdoor air contaminants, such as exhaust, penetrate also into houses.
But most of our time we spend in buildings, where the air pollution level is higher than in the street for almost all substances, except for ozone. The film "The air: everywhere and nowhere" tells about the processes taking place in the atmosphere.
What is air actually? What is the role of oxygen on the Earth? Peter, the main hero of the film, is observing the process of photosynthesis having locked himself up in a glass room with many plants. The experiment however fails because central heating, lamps, gas stoves consume move oxygen than the plants produce. Peter consequently has to open the door and let the air, satiated with oxygen, come inside. Large amounts of carbon and other acids in the air cause the green house effect and destroy the ozone layer. However, the air cover of the earth has no such door which can be opened and to let air come inside...
Video film demonstrations promote keen emotional perception and understanding of the present ecological problems, encourage interesting discussions and, most important, the wish to solve problems.
"Catastrophe of the year 2030: The problem of garbage ranges from simple to complex"
The waste problem
The world climate might get warmer, the sun more dangerous but this is not so noticiable as the waste problem nowadays. It has become an ecological priority issue in the 1990’s. World industry and individuals produce a great deal of garbage. The only way to solve that problem is to try to throw away less garbage, especially plastics that only slowly decompose.
The film "In the Supermarket" is about those problems.
There is a good number of different goods in a big supermarket. Each product is thoroughly packaged preventing contamination and making it suitable for long-lasting storage. But food packing is rather expensive. Furthermore, most of the packing material turns to waste after being used.
Millions of tons of garbage are brought to waste dumps every year. Some regions of the world have no space for that. There are three ways of getting rid of garbage, dumping, burning and processing. In the recent past burning and dumping were generally used for that purpose. But waste dumps take plenty of space and burning can cause air pollution. On the other hand, the quality of incinerators is improving and they don’t pollute so much any more.
New ways of incineration
During the past ten years improved incineration plants have been in use for example in Hamburg. Special filters purify exhaust fumes by pressing damp and warm steam through a chimney. This process makes smoke and water combine and traps harmful substances such as hydrogen chloride and fluoride, sulfur dioxide and dust.
Equipment like this makes it possible to process garbage and produce energy. Yet for many countries this equipment is too expensive. Besides it pollutes the environment with toxic left-overs which must be moved somewhere even though it does not penetrate the atmosphere. After burning, the amount of waste decreases but the weight stays the same. It also can’t be buried because of high concentration of toxic substances.
"Garbage" is a film about processing and usage of garbage.
Manufactures produce a good deal of garbage which can be re-used. The film shows ways of garbage processing without big expenditures.
New processing technologies are very effective. However, there is a problem with this, the sorting of rubbish, because the different fractions of garbage, metal, paper and glass must be processed separately.
The film "A Worm Teaches School" shows that everyone has an ability to protect the environment.
Schoolchildren process garbage with the help of a compost heap that is rather useful for the environment. Having learnt about the role of worms, children teach their parents to find ways of re-using garbage.
Industrial and other waste
Sea inhabitants casting themselves ashore, forbidden fishing and overgrown aquatic plants in reservoirs – all these are result of a pollution of the environment. Industrial flows and sewage system are still poisoning the nature.
"Black Sea – Death or Reprieve" is a film about the Black Sea environment.
The Black Sea is one of the biggest inland seas. Its biological resources have diminished considerably over the last decades because of pollution of the rivers in Central and Western Europe. Those rivers flow into the sea and thus pollute it with industrial and agricultural waste. Which actions do the countries of the Black Sea region take to prevent the pollution?
The film "Happy Trigger" is about a small fish swimming in polluted waters of Hong Kong harbor and looking for coral reefs. This shows us the problems of the aquatic eco-system of ports.
Industrial waste contains heavy metals, plastics and other lasting compounds. Furthermore, it is now difficult to reveal and control the main places of pollution. The film "The Town, the Poison and Bayer Corporation" depicts the fight of non-governmental organizations against pollution by the famous concern.
The city has faced the problem of heavy pollution of soil and water. It caused big expenditures to resettle people to clean the ground. The film also tells how pollution can be controlled.
Potential polluters are bad-quality sewage collectors filled to the rim (because of rains) with toxic substances and polluted sewage. This problem is raised in the film "Gutter Pirates".
Gutter pirates are three little funny creatures on a paper toy-ship sailing on the gutters of city streets. They meet paper, empty cans and other rubbish on their way. In the end of the journey the ship turns into an airplane and the pirates leave the polluted land.
Gardens in the outskirts of towns can also be sources of pollution. Biocides are applied in order to kill weeds and pests in rivers and shore waters. Nitric and phosphoric fertilizers stimulating growth of plants along with pesticides are deadly poisonous for reservoir inhabitants. Nitrates brought by acid rains make things still worse. Stimulating the growth of aqua-plants with nitrates means a lack of oxygen necessary for underwater life.
The film "Ecological Agriculture" shows ecological approaches to agricultural practices.
Formerly agriculture used to adapt to nature. However, nowadays it interferes in the balance of nature. Pesticides and fertilizers are used to increase crops but it means the destruction of soil structure. Chemical sprayings for pests do a great harm to nature. Ecological agriculture is the only way to protect the environment.
Even though rubbish and polluted water are of high importance, nuclear waste is a more serious issue. The film "Change" is about how public organizations in Ukraine and Russia fight against the transportation and storage of nuclear waste in Finland.
Screening ecological films stimulate deep emotional perception and comprehension of ecological problems, stimulate discussions and – what is important – willingness to solve these problems.
"Catastrophe of the year 2030: Sources of energy on our planet"
By the year 2030 the world economy will not be based on coal, oil or natural gas as it is already today clear that this has a disastrous effect on the climate of our planet. As one can see from the latest reports, climate can be stabilized by reducing the emission of the carbon into the atmosphere. Because of the utter necessity to slow down global warming, new methods and ways of generating energy are being developed all over the world.
Either solar or nuclear energy are probably the preferred options. The public is anxious about nuclear power engineering because of numerous social, economic and ecological effects. Furthermore, nuclear power engineering is not able to solve the problem of global warming and other environmental problems because:
* Nuclear energy is very expensive. It is more expensive than other usual ways of energy manufacturing.
* Nuclear energy is rather dangerous in its nature.
* Nuclear power engineering is dangerous for the environment. Nuclear power stations produce long-living highly radioactive and extremely toxic waste and unfortunately sure and harmless ways of how to treat or store that waste has not been found up to the present.
* Nuclear "solving" of ecological problems is impractical. Reducing the world’s organic fuel consumption by half would require launching a new nuclear reactor every other day within the period from 1999 to 2030.
What are the most practicable ways of solving the problem of global warming and satisfying our growing needs?
Firstly: Energy efficiency has to grow. This way is much cheaper, less dangerous and hence more practicable. The film "Peter Uses Power from the Sun" tells us about life supported by solar energy.
Spectators see the evolution of flora and fauna, they also see growing problems of air contamination caused by energy production and how this problem can be solved by using the alternative solar energy. The films tells us about how the solar energy is accumulated and how it can be used with the help of modern technology.
Secondly: Solar energy and other renewable energy sources are to be used. At present or in the nearest future those resources will provide us with cheaper electricity than that manufactured by nuclear power stations. The film "Alternative Energies" is about the use of the solar energy.
Various systems for using solar, geothermal and wind energy are supposed to become the most probable alternative to nuclear energy.
New methods for manufacturing of electricity based on different non-mineral resources of energy are being developed. The world tends to use solar and geothermal energy instead of mineral fuel. Systems of solar energy processing will become more effective than they are now. Direct use of solar and wind energy does not cause greenhouse gases and hence diminishes the threat of world climate warming.
"Catastrophe – 2030: we are running out of water reserves"
Water is the link between people and nature. It is the integral part of our everyday life. The reserves of fresh water are diminishing presently at the disastrous rate. According to statistics the quantity of water per head of the population is now twice less than that at the beginning of the century. Just a few people completely realise that the reserves of fresh water are extremely scarce and it is a real menace to our existence. The film "Water is not everywhere" tells about water as a very valuable nature resource that must be used carefully and protected from contamination.
Taking rest at the health resort EL-Bokadilho in Spain, Peter ran into his neighbour who dreams to make a lot of money selling lemonade. He needs drinking water for that. Peter tries to get by air decomposing, distilling salt sea water and towing the iceberg from the Arctic. Spectators get to know why there is a shortage of fresh water, how to purify it; they also get to know about irrigation systems, distilling facilities, lemonade-making technology. There is also the answer to the question: why is there a risk of dying if drink salt water?
Many parts of our planet are short of fresh water. This valuable resource is running thin because it is consumed and polluted badly by humankind. Alarming warnings are always the same: fall of the subsoil water level, river and lake drying up, wide range contamination, dessert expanding. As a result of fresh water shortage people suffer from famine, diseases, neglecting countryside and high-rate urbanisation. They are now debating about general consideration of water as commodity. The days are coming soon that water, beyond oil and land, may become the cause of crucial international conflicts. The trilogy "Water wars" shows that political and economical conditions of any country, people’s health and life depend on water natural reserves.
Part 1: Dearer than Gold
In the hot western part of the USA shortage of water causes serious fight between Indians and white people, farmers and megalopolis residents. Fresh water is dearer than petrol. Water sellers and brokers make a fortune. Water is becoming the subject of grand policy.
Part 2: To the last straw
The Close East, droughty, harsh and barren. Most areas are desserts, rivers are like shallow brooks. Water is a means of power there. All states within that region, namely, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Turkey try to attain the complete control over the water resources. Conflicts seem to be inevitable. Basing on historical facts, authors prove again that water is one of the main causes of Arabian – Israel wars.
Part 3: One who Grants Life
The USSR collapse gave rise to some debates about problems dealing with water in the former republics. The first episode of the film was shot in Uzbekistan at the perishing Aral Sea. The second one tells about the pearl of Kirgyzstan – Lake Issyk-Kuhl. The third episode focuses on pollution issue of the great Russia river Volga. People are getting together everywhere to fight for their right for fresh water.
It is hotly disputed all over the world about creation of the international water market to make it possible for countries suffering from water shortage to purchase water from water rich countries. But there is a question then: what will be the social, ecological and political consequences? Do we have the rights to consider this vital resource as a commodity.
Scientists all around the world have elaborated a number of methods of water reserves measuring and assessing water shortage. They predict that by the year 2030 water resources per heal of the population will have abated twice comparatively to that in the year 1950. Furthermore, Asia and Latin America will possess only a quarter of the resources they had before. The crucial disaster is expected, in Africa and the Middle East where water reserves will be 1/8 by the year 2030 of those in 1950.
After watching the films listed above, the audience realises deeply the possible consequences of fresh water shortages and bad-quality water while the demand in it is constantly increasing. People come to realise that everyone must change his/her attitude towards that complicated problem. We must cut down the consumption of water if not possible to increase its reserves.
Catastrophe – 2030: the Future of Mankind is Endangered
Fifth of June is the World Environment Day. Solving environmental problems is of paramount importance for the national safety of any country. No sensible person wants his or her children to inherit the earth unsuitable for life. However the future of mankind is at risk.
Many countries suffer from the exceedingly fast growth of population. According to UN forecasts, based on the present-day tendencies, by 2030 there will be around 9 billion people on the Earth.
The future mankind is also endangered by the actual speed of soil erosion and destruction of forests. The film "Erosion" tells about the process of erosion, its consequences, and ways of its prevention.
Irrational use of soils often leads to emergence of all types of erosion. And the effect is destruction of land. While it is easy to destroy, it is difficult to restore. What should be done in order to preserve land?
The film "Earth Report: The Fate of the Forests" tells about the experience of peoples whose life is traditionally connected with forest.
Mass destruction of tropical forests is one of the most acute environmental problems. However, all over the world common people try to counteract the destructive policy of trans-national companies. In Peru and Indonesia forest "farmers" restore the natural productiveness of the tropical forests. In Uganda peasants prevent the erosion and restore the forest on the water-boundaries by way of planting trees on the mountain slopes.
If we do not restore and stabilise soils, forests, and pastures in the shortest terms, population will diminish because of mass malnutrition and famine. On the other hand, in order to provide normal life for people in 2030, we have to start managing sensibly the planet’s biological resources already today. By reducing systematically the volume of waste, utilising or recycling it, we can satisfy the basic needs of the growing population on earth.
In many parts of the globes there are wars. People’s violence against each other is accompanied by violence against the environment, endangering the future. The inability to forecast and the pursuit of quick gain leads to enormous exploitation of natural resources and the effects are ecological catastrophes, problems with water, and all kinds of pollution. Can one say today with determination that scientific and technological progress brought more achievements than new problems?
Quick growth of bio-technologies and extension of the abilities of genetic engineering led people to reconsider the essence and meaning of human existence. We risk becoming hostages of our own discoveries. The film "Genetic age: patent on life" shows different organisms altered by methods of genetic engineering and tells about the problems which arise from it.
The possibility of patenting artificially created organisms and their commercial use has become a subject of acute discussions. Scientists are close to the complete decoding of the human genome thereby making it potentially an object of purchase and sale and terrible forms of manipulation and discrimination. We all ought to think of what is awaiting us. The future cannot be given to blind and cynical forces.
The film "…And other experiences" makes one acquainted with such notions as artificial fertilisation, genetic engineering, and molecular biology which became part of our lifes not long ago, but have taken a firm place already.
Many researchers consider that these methods open unbelievable opportunities for mankind. Of course the wish to protect people from diseases, to provide them with nourishment, to improve intellect – to cut it short, to solve all human problems with the help of gene correction can be understood. But nobody knows to what consequences it can lead…
And so far we often hear that the future is so vague and complicated that we should live today and make today’s day better. But such speculations leave us a single choice, to follow the development or to adapt to it. If we want to foresee and to control our future, we have to create the conditions for our future activity today, we have to think prospectively, looking as far ahead as possible, and forecast the developments. Anticipating our future, we have to overcome apathy and indifference, improve people’s awareness about environmental problems. This is the basis of effective protection of the environment in the 21st century.
The demonstration of the above mentioned films contributes to more emotional perception and the understanding of the dangers faced by mankind in the nearest future. The spectators understand that they live with environmental problems today and their children will live with them tomorrow. The forecast of our future arouses interesting discussions and, what is very important, the audience does not remain indifferent.
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