Good Bacteria vs. Global Warming
Global Warming and Recession seem to be the two large black clouds looming over the world today. My cousin, a microbiologist who lives in Chile and I were, the other day, chatting online about the climate changes that were taking place all over the world. She feels that global warming, while being an issue of importance, tends to have become a bit too hyped up somewhere along the way, being hijacked as it were as a platform or soapbox for politicians to come into the public eye. (her hub)
I was pondering over this when a few days later, a news item caught my eye. In a city in India, a group of researchers had discovered an organism that can devour carbon dioxide and spew it out as harmless calcium carbonate. Now that might seem like something out of a cartoon strip or a sci-fi movie but the fact is, it’s real life. It’s probably Nature’s wonderful way to keep the balance in spite of her wayward human children and the devastating damage they do to everything around them.
Suddenly, there seems to be a glimmer of hope in what seemed to be a hopeless situation. Would growing the bacteria in areas that were known to be contributing actively to global warming reverse the effects of global warming? Could we, once we’ve tried to accelerate this process, be able to control it – or would there be so much of a reverse trend that we lean dangerously to the opposite end?
At this point in time, one cannot really foresee how it is going to work and whether a lab situation can be replicated on a mammoth scale all over the world. Today, the pollution-devouring biological bacteria have, in the laboratory, been purified to a great degree with high titration, and what is in progress is the expression, the cloning and the purification in bio-reactors. What is also being actively looked at is the economic viability of the process. The scientists who are involved in this programme feel that the bacteria could be used at the point of emission in order to filter the waste carbon dioxide and ensure that it does not enter the atmosphere. All this, and a by-product like calcium carbonate which has value.
All said and done, this is the wedge in the door where before there seemed to be none. It’s early days yet and this progress can be seen as a pointer in the right direction. Not as a cure for all global warming ills but as something that will help when the efforts that we otherwise need to take are not enough. When we consciously try to reverse the effects of global warming by taking informed decisions – and keeping this as a buffer – the just-in-case factor.
We need to try and make the world a better place for our children. We’ve raped and ravaged the earth and all she has to offer. It’s time for reparation and the time is now. Here’s Nature opening a door to let us see how she can lend a helping hand. Instead of seeing it as a fix-it, we need to see it as a part of an ongoing heal-the-earth process.