“Humans’ grip on the natural world has never been more absolute… There is now no denying this fact visible every day: human-caused environmental climate change is affecting the entire Earth system, and will continue for thousands of years, with or without “. people to bear witness to it.. Victor Court in: “Escape from the World”, Écosociété, 2022.
Let’s take a step back to understand. With all the comforts we’ve gained thus far, it’s understandable that we’re both amazed and destabilized by this phenomenon. How did we come to this?
Continuous and patient development.
We will take a big step back. Billions, hundreds of millions, thousands of years. Certainly unimaginable to our imagination but very real.
Earth, our planet, has existed for about 4.6 billion years. Life appeared there 3.8 billion years ago. The latter will be watery for 3.4 billion years.
Traces of the first land plants (lichens and mosses) will be found approximately 500 million years ago and it will be necessary to wait another 100 million years for the first animals to develop on dry land. The development is slow. The oldest human fossils discovered date back to 2.8 million years, while the fossils of “Thinking Humans” (Homo sapiens) date back only 300,000 years.
Oof! We come to our distant ancestors. Let’s stop here.
We derive our origin through the process of photosynthesis.
What enabled this development? It was the basic conditionenergySolar energy transformation by phenomenon Photosynthesis Allowing the first terrestrial plants to develop until today. Thanks to chlorophyll (the green color of its leaves), it has the property of converting solar energy into chemical energy, which can be assimilated and developed. Photosynthesis produces glucose allowing their growth and releases oxygen and carbon dioxide which are essential for life.
The animals that left the plants could not produce this energy
essential for their development. What did they do? They ate plants that contained this energy (herbivores) and were able to reproduce. In addition, some animals decided to eat other animals (carnivores) or both (carnivores), and this resulted in mutations that gave rise to the human species. But we, where do we get our energy If not for the development of plants (vegetables) and animals (meat)? Ultimately, indirectly from sun.
Let’s not forget that these transformations did not happen in a few years, but rather hundreds of millions of years. Mother Nature is patient and persistent.
a company2 as a condition of our existence.
If photosynthesis ultimately provides the energy necessary for our existence, it also releases part of the carbon dioxide it produces and sequesters another part. The released part migrates into the atmosphere and forms a kind of canopy over the Earth allowing for a certain heating, which is just enough to allow the evolution of species on our planet. The other part, which gets trapped, stays in the plants and when the plants die, it rots on the ground, and over the years, millions of years, it digs deeper and deeper.
At some point, it turns into coal, oil or gas, each of which contains almost entirely carbon dioxide2 Captured by plants for thousands of years. And we should not forget that the phenomenon of photosynthesis was also occurring in the oceans at one time.
This is why plants, soils and oceans are now the three largest natural sinks for capturing carbon dioxide.2from the planet.
Let’s go back to the evolution of energy, to the control of energy.
Animals that used to walk on two feet (walking on two limbs) became our ancestors and succeeded in controlling another energy, which is energy fire(400 thousand years ago). As food is cooked, it reduces the energy load needed for digestion. From the depths of caves or huts in the northern regions, their resistance to cold increased. As the heat produced increased, it became possible to melt metals to make tools.
Therefore, we moved at that time gradually from human muscular strength to the domestication of animals and the use of animal traction in agriculture and then in transportation.
Much later, humans moved from fire to capture hydraulic Power, Those rivers by paddle wheels. Mills to grind grain, nuts, ores, and propel boats in rivers, and this energy was used until very recently, that is, until the middle of the nineteenth century. It is estimated that in the thirteenth century, paddle wheels produced as much force as the muscular strength of about fifty workmen.
Note: In the second part I will continue the history of the use of energies and conclude with the present problem.