Next Up – OOEC?

A recent article in the New York Times says that environmental groups have started paying Brazilian farmers to not cut down trees in the rainforest.  The article says that deforestation accounts for 20% of CO2 emissions, so stopping deforestation will help fight global warming.  But there’s more to it than that.

Why?  Because the flip side of carbon emissions, which are now pretty much accepted as causing global warming, is the availability of breathable oxygen.  I barely remember my junior high school science, but Wikipedia tells me that oxygen is a waste product from photosynthesis.  A waste product.  Think about that the next time you take a nice, deep breath.  Even so, without that waste product, there wouldn’t be any. . .well. . .us.  Which means that preserving the rainforest isn’t just about rock stars, primitive cultures and exotic plants.

It turns out that as much as 20 percent of the world’s oxygen comes from the Amazon rainforest, which makes Brazil nearly twice as important to breathing as Saudi Arabia is to driving.  Brazil’s farmers are pursuing their own self-interest in razing forest in order to grow crops.  But what’s good for them isn’t so good for the rest of us.

It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out that oxygen is actually more important than oil.  So here’s my prediction:  By 2025, the rest of the world will be paying Brazil and a handful of other, similarly endowed countries to continue providing us with the air we breathe.  Brazil will be the leader of OOEC – the Organization of Oxygen Exporting Countries (OOEC).

This is one of those times when I wouldn’t mind at all being proven wrong.  But if I’m right, I sure hope we figure it out in time for there to be something left to save.

Advertisements

1 Response to “Next Up – OOEC?”


  1. 1 steve September 12, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Your comments came in just as I was listening to an hour long program on NPR about the issues of saving the Brazilian rain forest. One of the things they were talking about was the beginnings of a program to pay for keeping the forest as forest rather than burning if down to turn it into farmland or rangeland.

    Sadly, one of the people they interviewed was a Texan who moved in about 10 years ago to have a big ranch. Not bad enough that the Brazilians are destroying the forest, Texans are helping out.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent Comments

Karen_Duddleston on A Drop of Hypocrisy
Dan Wallace on A Drop of Hypocrisy
Karen_Duddleston on A Drop of Hypocrisy
Karen_Duddleston on A Drop of Hypocrisy
Dan Wallace on A Drop of Hypocrisy

Categories

September 2009
M T W T F S S
« Aug   Oct »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

%d bloggers like this: