Plankton To The Rescue!

Obama? A joker. Ethical Living? Pointless. So how are we going to save the world from climate chaos? The answer lies with plankton.

Yes, plankton. The tiny little grubs that whales feed on. It seems environmental scientists have started to get desperate. Either that or the nation’s journalists are resorting to desperate measures to stave off ‘green fatigue‘.

In a nutshell, boffins from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton have just completed an experiment in which they dumped iron filings in the South Seas to boost plankton levels. The little buggers are quite useful in taking in CO2 from the environment, something we sorely need. Whilst this may have worked, it fell short of the projected amount of CO2 taken in by a factor of 15 to 50 times. (Not sure how that can call themselves scientists and be that imprecise, but nevermind…)

This latest attempt to solve the environmental mess we’ve got ourselves into may be way off the mark, but it does raise for me an interesting issue. Plankton fertilisation is a prime example of geo-engineering. In plain English, the scientists have resorted to messing with the natural balance of things to correct the damage we have already done. Frank Pope at The Times opposes this by arguing that we are meddling with complex eco-systems that we don’t fully understand, but if we can’t use out ingenuity to solve this problem, then how else can we find a way out? It seems logical to put faith in our ability for innovation to ensure the survival of the human race, but if we shy away from experimenting in this way, then surely we are just conceding defeat? Dumping iron filings on plankton is essentially polluting to save the environment, and I’d like to see a Government give funding to that!

5 thoughts on “Plankton To The Rescue!

  1. What a petty and ignorant person you must be. To suggest that all must be well with the natural system of the ocean and ergo anyone trying to restore it is doing harm rather than reversing harm must give you real jollis. Your blog is a perfect example of the banality of the blogosphere, inhabited by morons, just because you can use language does not mean you have intelligence.

  2. Okay, that was needlessly personal Bobo, but nevertheless.
    If you read carefully, you’ll realise I’m not actually opposed to geo-engineering in principle, I just think these ideas need to be refined before they can be applied on a large scale.
    Artificially promoting the growth of plankton to take in CO2 from the atmosphere is a monocultural solution and the eco-system in question involves a complex web of interdependent organisms.
    Would you like to suggest why I’m wrong instead of just impulsively lashing out?

  3. I heard about this a while back Chris, Its an interesting idea to stimulate large scale growth of micro-organisms this way.

    I cant tear my mind from the old eutrophication (sp?) taught back in GCSE geography.

    I agree with you, stimulating growth in this way will have a MASSIVE effect on whatever ecosystem it is inflicted on. It strikes me that trying to fiddle with nature in such a heavy handed way can only make things worse in one way or another. Also, i don’t have time to check it out for myself but I would like to see figures for the amount of iron we would have to dump to solve the global CO2 problem. I worry that even with the larger CO2 capture rates this number would be unfeasibly large.

    Still, it may yet be a step in the right direction, at least people are looking at solutions more seriously.

    As a response to “bobo” : most people now agree that this global atmosphere crisis is a man made problem. Yes its nice that people are trying to solve it, but when was the last time dumping a shedload of -anything- into an ecosystem helped?

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