I’ve been hearing a lot about what you’ve had to say about carbon dioxide. You know the stuff, whose molecules are made of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms combined in some force scientists still don’t quite fully understand. It’s the stuff human beings – and most living creatures – breathe out after making use of the oxygen they breathe in. Sorry… in case you hadn’t heard, it’s a bit of a Biological Truth.

Carbon dioxide – or CO2, as it’s sometimes* abbreviated, is a fundamental part of our Earth.

* Technically, the 2 should be a subscript, appearing as a smaller-sized number placed about halfway down the line. The C indicates that there is one Carbon atom, and the O indicates the Oxygen aspect. The 2 placed in such a fashion indicates that there are 2 Oxygen atoms in the molecular equation. That’s how a chemist looks at it, anyway, and that’s how you’ll find it written in the chemistry books. The abbreviation described herein might also be utilized by people who know how to make such a damned symbol on a Web site or, better yet, care to bother to learn.

Carbon Dioxide, when frozen, makes this cool stuff called “dry ice.” It’s what allows smoke to swirl about the stages in theatrical productions everywhere, and it’s what lets smoke billow forth out of a witch’s cauldron in plays along the lines of MacBeth.

Apparently the stuff has industrial uses, too.

But the most fascinating aspect of all, in my most humblest of opinions, is that Carbon Dioxide is also used by plants in the magical process of photosynthesis, where visible spectrum light radiation (from our friend, the Sun) provides energy to convert the demonic gas into substances the plant needs to survive. This process, coincidentally, creates a byproduct – which just happens to be the Oxygen that we need to survive and eventually end up breathing.*

* Oxygen, coincidentally enough, as an individual atom, can join up nicely with two Hydrogen atoms. This makes the substance commonly referred to as H2O. Referring back to the notation process outlined in the earlier note, the 2, which should be subscript, denotes 2 Hydrogen atoms present in the molecule, with one Oxygen atom rounding out the trilogy. These atoms combine with each other to make the magical substance known as Water – which, by all accounts, seems to be pretty darned important to human survival, too. Go figure!

I don’t know about anybody else, but suddenly I’m hearing strains of Elton John’s voice streaming through my head, with fuzzy visions of lion-like creatures bandying about.

– Astute readers will have noted that water plays an integral part in the production of Electricity, a point which will be elaborated upon and further explained in the upcoming paragraphs.

So, they tell me, Mr. Gore and Mrs. Kyoto, that you report drastically rising levels of CO2, and offer terrible predictions about the future of this planet Earth, which, I remind, just happens to still be continuing to allow us to live on it… for now.

And I hear mention of some “Carbon footprint” people are leaving by using too much Electricity*. Somewhere, you have lost me in that leap of logic.

* Electricity is the forced march of electrons through a conducting material, which is manipulated to accomplish various tasks. Electricity is generated (ie, forced to march) by a combination of coil windings of conductive wire and a set of corresponding magnets, either of which may be forced to rotate. This rotation then forces electrons to travel down the conductive wire in a particular direction, which is known in electrical parlance as Direct Current.

Alternating Current, on the other hand, was pioneered by Nikola Tesla in the late 19th century. It uses a specially-placed array of magnets and a specially-designed set of coils, and when rotated against one another, a standing wave of Electric current is created in the conductive wire, which in a sense travels in both directions at once with the electrons basically doing a mini-jig back and forth. Alternating Current is more versatile, safer, and can be easily converted into Dirrect Current power to energize those devices which require it. Alternating Current is such an advanced concept, in fact, that several standing waves can be created in a wire at once at slightly different intervals. This is known as a polyphase system and is preferential because the system as a whole loses much less energy through heat than as with Direct Current; the reduced heat also makes the system safer.

At a fundamental level, almost all of the Electricity we use is generated by making the components spin. Whenever a component of an Electrical generator uses something to make it spin, it is usually referred to as a turbine. Wind turbines use blades to harness the power of the wind, causing the components to spin. Most turbines, however, are placed in an enclosed system and driven by forced water, as in the case of hydroelectric dams, or steam, created by fuels such as coal or natural gas.

In the case of hydroelectric dams, gravity provides the force to pass the water over the blades of the turbine, causing them to spin. In a steam generation system, pressurized steam (ie, boiled water) passes* past the turbines, causing them to turn.

* Turbine design traditionally has the gas passing against perpendicular blades. Nikola Tesla, however, designed a powerful generator whose blades were actually parallel to the flow of the high-pressure gas, using a little-understood principle of hydraulics that caused the gas to congeal between the tightly-spaced blades, providing forward impetus. The Tesla Turbine, while a practical success, never received the popularity and usuage it probably deserved, however.

The means for creating steam includes coal, natural gas, petroleum products, and radioactive materials. Radioactive materials? That’s right. A nuclear power plant, despite the years of “public education” about the technological advance of “harnessing the power of the atom,” is nothing but a big container for radioactive material that makes the water surrounding it boil. The steam from the radiated water is then piped past perpendicular turbine blades, making them turn the parts of the generator attached to it…

Starting to doubt the “nuclear age” yet?

But back to Carbon. The methods of generating Electricity indicated above don’t all use carbon. Coal, natural gas, and petroleum products certainly do; they use a lot of other chemicals, as well. Hydroelectric dams, though, don’t inconvenience any carbon at all, but quite often a lot of surrounding habitat undergoes changes as the water levels change and channels seal off the migration of the life forms – fishies and things – living in the water.

Nor does Nuclear power seem to have anything Carbon at all, even if the technology is possibly the most deceptively stupid ever developed in the past century. Sorry – no carbon here, sir.

The so-called Carbon Footprint, as applied to Electricity, seems to be an imaginary concept designed to create an imaginary sense of social responsibility. If it’s about Energy Conservation, then call it that. But blaming Carbon hardly seems fair, and, Mr. Gore and Mrs. Kyoto, you frankly ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

If C02 really is the problem, people, there’s probably another explanation. Over the past century especially and to a lesser extent the few preceding it, Humans have been taking a greater and greater hold over the surface of the Earth. As part of that process, Humans have “tamed” the Earth, turning it from its natural state into what Humans either Wanted it to be or Believed they Needed it to Be in Or
der to Survive.

That means that a huge part of the surface of our Mother Earth has been stripped of Her natural vegetation and has had removed the plant life that once did abound, replaced with what Humans wanted to be there – be it wheat, barley, oats, corn, or any variety of crops Humans happen to believe they may need at the moment.

I am reminded of the poem by Joyce Kilmer:

Trees and Other Poems (1914)

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
When you think of love and fame
And all that might have come to pass,
Then don’t you feel a little shame?
And don’t you think you were an ass?I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Text courtesy Wikipedia; permission courtesy express psychically channelled permission from the author

Of course, more apropos to the C02 debate may be Ogden Nash’s elaboration:

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.

Text from memory; permission courtesy express psychically channelled permission from the author

Have you never thought, Mr. Gore and Mrs. Kyoto,

that it’s maybe not Humans driving up CO2 levels the way you think – maybe it’s because we cut down all the frickin’ trees?????

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