Fifty years ago green was just a colour .Now it’s a way of looking at our world .But how green is our planet today?
On February 2002, scientists in kourou, French Guiana, were worried. They knew that in a few hours ‘time the Arianne rocket would leave on its journey .on the rocket was Envisat, the biggest and most expensive satellite ever made in Europe .Envisat was ready and waiting after twenty years’ work by hundreds of people .but now , at the last minute, something was wrong with the rocket carrying the satellite. Scientists worked all night to get the rocket working again .late in the evening on 1march everyone in kourou stopped working to watch the rocket leave. The weather was good and the rocket was ready .five four three two one ......the Arianne rocket went up into the sky, carrying Envisat with it. What is special about Envisat? It is as big as a bus, and very heavy. It travels 800km above the earth, and it goes round the earth once every 100 minutes. Envisat gets power from the light of the sun, and it uses that power to send information back to scientists on earth .the information is about many different things, for example:
• Changes in the ice in the arctic and Antarctic.
• The beginnings of floods and storms
• Fires in forests
• Early news of earthquake
• Information about the sea _how much food there is for fish, and where some water plants are danger to life in the sea.
With all this information, scientists can learn what is really happening in the air, in the sea and on the earth. The information shows them how the earth is changing because of the things people do like catching fish, cutting dawn trees, and using cars .the scientists can tell us if these changes are good or bad for the planet, and they can make plans for a better world in the future.
What is a tropical rainforest?
There are tropical rainforests in three parts of the world: central and south America, west and central Africa, and Southeast Asia and Austria. They are very wet; some get a lot of rain all year around, but some get rain only for a few months of the year. Tropical rainforests are in places that are near hottest parts of the planet, so they are warm, too-usually between20°c and 30°c.at the highest part of the rainforest there are very tall trees, which grow up to thirty –five meters tall. Below them the tops of smaller trees come together like a roof of leaves .Here you find bright flowers and fruits, and many birds and animals come here to eat them. Below this there are smaller trees, and when you reach the ground it is dark, because the leaves of the trees stop a lot of the light from the sun.
What tropical rainforests give us?
Tropical rainforests are rich in different species of trees, plants, insects, animals and birds. For example, there are more than 15000 plant species in the forests of Ecuador, but only 13000 plant species in all of Europe.
Hundreds of different medicines have come from rainforest plants. And today we enjoy a lot of foods that came first from the rainforests or from places near them: for example: bananas, coffee, coconut, vanilla, lemons, Brazil nuts, tea, sugar, chocolate, and cola.
Every day when you wash your face or hair, clean your house or drive your car, you are using things that come from the rainforest .and there are probably hundreds and hundreds of other useful things in the rainforests, too-we just don’t know about them yet.
Rainforests help to give us clean air, too. Driving cars and burning wood makes the air dirty; trees take carbon dioxide from this dirty air and give us back oxygen.
A green future?
On 26 august 2002, ten years after the Rio summit, 60000 people came to Johannesburg in South Africa for another earth summit. Some of them were important people from the governments of different countries, but president bush of the United States did not come.
Many governments are now working hard to solve problems in the environment. In Denmark, for example, 18°/0 of the country’s electricity come from the power plants that use the power of the wind. But a lot of people think that rich countries, like America, could do more to help with these problems. In Johannesburg the summit agreed these things:
• To protect fish and fishing places
• To bring water to poor people
• to stop the use of dangerous pesticides
• to protect rainforests in Africa
They agreed that water, power, health, and growing food were all important things that the world needed to work on .now different organizations have to work together to do these things.
Is it possible to make our planet greener? A lot of people will need to work hard to make it happen-countries, governments, families, even you and me. Every person in the world will need to help.
The world today
• Every minute, 245 people are born in the world, and 106people die.
• Nearly 3billion people-almost half the population of the world-live on less than two dollars a day.
• 1.3billion people live on less than one dollar a day
• 1.3billion people can not get clean water
• 2billion people can not get electricity
• 3billion do not have toilets that they can use
• The world‘s three richest people have more money than the poorest 48countries together
• 12°/° of the world‘s population uses 85°/° of its water
• The richest 50 million people in Europe an north America have as much money as 2.7billion poor people
That is how the world is today .how about the future? Is it going to get better, or worse –or is it going to stay the same? What do you think?