Whether it is cricket or a thicket, green is the color that predominates and preserves the game of life. The foliar dressings of green perpetuate nature by hydrolyzing water and supplying the oxygen for the strain of pneuma (a word that can be used to define both life and spirit) that inevitably controls life span and the life story. At the end life is about quality and not quantity – whether we truly loved one creature close to one’s heart and existed in harmony with diversity of beings that make up mankind. Although the power of green preserves life, the human race has been unappreciative, negligent and unrepentant on their actions that have transformed this wondrous turquoise planet to an over-heating greenhouse. Global warming although taking the leap from myth to fact has been debated and counter-debated by scientific prophesies and uncertainties that pollute the future horizons of this delicate and ominous subject. In this scheme of things, it is wise to think ahead and to find application-driven solutions to the biological footprint of global warming and climate change.
Humans are notorious contributors to climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions from industrial nations are the main driving forces of climate change which has resulted in the trapping of heat by key atmospheric gases that have evolved in their share of the atmosphere and continue to heat-up the immediate vicinity of this true-blue rolling ball. The footprint of climate change is scary and many consequences of this phenomenon can be easily seen in the rising sea levels, the over-heating of the atmosphere, seasonal irregularities, reductions in the arctic ice cap, shifting of glaciers, species variations and loss of biodiversity, agricultural losses due to abiotic stresses, regular precipitation and flooding and severe changes in weather patterns. The greenhouse effect has to be dealt with fast and furious action to reverse the juggernaut and to ensure that this spherical greenhouse is conducive to life.
Key to global warming are three gases, carbon dioxide, methane (34 times as potent as carbon dioxide) and nitrous oxide (a 298 fold higher footprint than carbon dioxide) which are the chief contributors of global warming. Although water vapor too is a potent contributor to climate change we are unable to restrict the water vapor emissions and thus our mitigating mechanisms should be centered on the attenuation of emissions of the “big three” gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Funny enough the cultivation of crops or agriculture, is a chief perpetrator to climate change in the emissions of all three of the above gases; heavy machinery and the Haber process that produces ammonia fertilizer possess high carbon footprints, farming of ruminants and rice cultivation which promotes anaerobic respiration are both emitters of methane, and the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers that potentiate nitrification and denitrification of nitrogen compounds emit nitrous oxide as a by-product. Therefore it is time to truncate the climate change footprint of agriculture by promoting the use of biological alternatives to nitrogen fertilizers (biofertilizers), which are bacterial/cyanobacterial organisms that possess the remarkable ability to fix nitrogen gas and to furnish the nitrogen requirements of the plants. Nitrogen fixation is biologically-viable, does not pollute or emit greenhouse gases, is cost-effective, user-friendly and universally-applicable which makes this old biological trick a potent player in the future climate change handicapped world – we need to truly possess green thumbs and green technologies to address the real world problems stemming from climate change.
Climate change is inevitable (in spite of the Kyoto protocol, carbon reductions and offsets) and this requires that we are ready to adapt to the climate-change charged world. To adapt there is a need to adopt greener technologies. We need to exploit providence and to even tinker with creation to ensure that there will be the perpetuation of life in our humble home. Therefore, plant breeding and genetic modifications are both needed to develop and promote climate change ready crops that will be able to withstand seasonal fluctuations of heat, rain, flooding and nutrient deprivations. This is imperative to resist the footprint of climate change and to neutralize or counter the consequences of heat on our susceptible planet.
The green room can be described as the grim reaper, since the most common use of the word ‘green room’ stems from the death chamber of the largest death row penitentiary in the United States, the San Quentin prison in California which houses thousands of inmates. Climate change too is a green room to many, since there are bound to be innumerable mortalities stemming from the future imprint of climate change. It is of strong significance and value, that we humans are able to ride the wave of climate change, in a surfer’s green room, floating with the tide and loving the surf of the gargantuan wave of uncertainty.
Green rooms do not necessarily mean doom and gloom. Maybe humans can balance themselves on the ever-rising tide of climate change and come out as eventual winners. We can never be perfect control freaks only laid-back surfers.