Ice, Climate change, Earth, Melting Antarctica: The Untold Story of Climate Change | Dr. Felix Bast | TEDxShooliniUniversity
For this talk – and i hope i can uh do justice to myself. So my talk is all about my journey to antarctica and what it really taught me about: sustainability, because sustainability and climate change being the theme of this uh workshop uh of the tedx at suny university. So in this 21st century uh, i would like to say that most of the problems that we are facing right now are basically global and scientific in nature, and these scientific problems really require scientific solutions. So many people have asked me what is my view on the climate change or gmo the genetically modified organisms or the nuclear energy, and so on. You know vaccines, for example, views beliefs, immaterial in sciences, because science is based on objective reality that we tend to overlook it. You know, beliefs and views have actually no place in it, so your beliefs are irrelevant in science. How about views on climate change? Those are immaterial for science. That much is certain, so scientists can only tell you what will happen if you jump from fifth story of a tall building. You know, of course, probability is quite high that you will die, but scientists can never tell you do not jump. That’S up to you that purview doesn’t come in the sciences, you know so risk perceptions differ widely across the general public and the scientists on various scientific issues that are facing in this space age. The 21st century. Now coming to the climate change.
Most of you might have thought that it’s very, very slow process, so it doesn’t cost much of the risk it’s a low risk, but friends, scientific consensus that the climate change has entered to a domain of dangerous predicament. A point of no return. The science magazine called it as hot house earth. The new paper argues that earth has entered a trajectory called hot house earth. I had been to a place where most of you hadn’t been i’m privileged to be part of that antarctica. The final frontier, i was privileged to be part of the 36th indian international mission to antarctica. You know indian antarctic mission, so what did i see in antarctica? You might wonder. Of course i saw penguins at plenty of them: emperor, penguin, adelie, all varieties. Of course, other animals too only animal only mammal in antarctica, is sealed: elephant seal and leopard seals. Snow petrol turns physical spectacles too, including glacial blue eyes. Mass sea, blue glaciers, ice caves, frazzles, fast eyes, 22 degrees, hello around the sun uh. You know aurora. Australia is too yes, i did see that all of these there is a flip side of this story. The flip side is the best kept secret of this white pristine continent on the way to antarctica in the antarctic ocean. I saw an island full of marine litter. You know the plastics that you throw away the final destination is ocean and the thermo halide circulation make it converge into one big island, full of marine plastics friends.
These plastics get degraded by so called photolysis and degradation of the plastic result in something called microplastics. These micro plastics friends leads out from this marine litter. Islands do uh, you know, gets into the biosystem, including the sea, birds and even penguins friends. There are research that shows that penguins, even the microplastics have been found in penguins and what is the consequence same thing like in the human being, we see os and infertility, penguin populations are now diminishing or because of the microplastic use you know. So what is the solution for it? You might wonder like uh, you know expensive, eco friendly stuff is the best solution for it right. Uh, probably you are using, i don’t know: bamboo water bottle water bottle made up of bamboo, you can get it in amazon or wooden toothbrush, because toothbrush is plastic. So let us get out of this. I want to project myself with a eco friendly image. Let me get a wooden toothbrush, you know, or i call this as urban vanity. It doesn’t work that way or answer philosophical preachers. They argue for innovation. Government should for innovative products developing expensive eco friendly products that are affordable only for the affluent people in the in the world. There is no point in going for that or investing in academic research on plastic, degrading bacteria spending, crawls and clots closes rupees uh on so called research on a plastic degrading because we already have plastic problems.
Let us degrade a solution for that problem. No, it doesn’t work. Friends, there is a concept in philosophy called oxam’s razor, so exams. Razor is a mental model, so simple solutions are most elegant. That is what it is: it’s it’s, pretty much used in ai, artificial intelligence and regression. Algorithms, dog translation just carry a reusable mug and cutlery solution, so most of the solution is sold, reusable shopping, totally uh. You know i don’t even argue for going for a cloth, even plastic is absolutely fine. Plastic is not inherently bad using it. Multiple times is the key just using and throwing is the problem here. You know see there is some a concept called life cycle assessment in environmental sciences. Not many of us are aware of it cloth bags. You know cotton cloth bags are worst for the environment rather than plastic bags. If you use it multiple times, we should understand that it’s, a very low cost solution, just use the same bag. A large number of times, incidences of algae blooms are increasing. Antarctica is now greenifying because of the normal warming. That is exactly what you can see in antarctica. These days i have taken several helicopter rides. That is what i use uh. You know we use to travel from one location to another and from the helicopter reconnection missions. We can see the pristine white carpeted ice sheet and we could also see glacial milk, water lakes, blue color, deep blue lakes everywhere in this continent.
So antarctica friends not only serves as a shock case of the climate change. Climate change is real. You can really feel it if you go to antarctica, but also it also serve as an untouched museum specimen that enables us to study uh the climate change. You know scientists like us why we are going to antarctica to study how the climate is changing. You know antarctic ice core it’s, just like a borewell, we drill and retrieve the eyes the core of the eyes. You know that enables us to study uh what the past climate that is called paleoclimatology. You know because uh, when this antarctic ice sheet formed in the eoc epoch approximately 45.5 million years ago, you know the the it has trapped relics of the past climate in the air bubbles. So we just have to take out the air bubbles injecting lcms. That is liquid, crystallography uh, you know the mass spectrometer and then it can tell you how much is a co2 level during that time and you can they take the gradations in each depth profile? You know so that is how the scientific consensus is that co2 level is really increasing, and also, if you look at the oxygen isotope ratio, it will tell you what was the temperature when this ice sheet had been formed. So all these evidences point to the same direction. Accelerated global warming post industrial revolution is mostly man made. You know so now. The million dollar question is how to save the planet so who whose responsibility is to fight the climate change? Many people will say it is ipcc, you know intergovernmental panel on climate change or governments across the world it’s their duty or big, big corporations.
You know friends, not at all. You know united nations sustainable developmental gods, that is you and sdgs. We should bring that into the personal life, so sustainability at the individual level is the key. That is what i believe in i remember a court by seneca be the user, but not the slave of the gifts of the fortune. Think we, our days, are numbered. We have limited time in on this planet earth. You know so think that every single position that you have it’s, not you – are the honor you’re, just taking it as a gift uh from the fortune or the nature, another called by marcus aurelius. My one of my favorite god is that things that we treasure are like leaves on a tree. You know it’s it’s. Never nothing is permanent in this world. You know. So my one of my favorite tool, which i always advocate for everybody to follow, is bicycle commuting because bicycle commuting is the easiest and simplest step towards minimizing our carbon footprint. You know, and last year alone i cycled 3490 kilometers. It has come in newspaper too. What does that mean? 3498 kilometer means it is offsetting 680 kilogram of car uh carbon carbon dioxide. Had i been traveling in a in a normal sized car, you know so 680 kg of carbon. I offset it and i’m really proud of it. So my own lifestyle changes include not wearing jeans, have you ever thought genes, environmental impact? Yes, tremendous impact liquid microfiber and also the impact due to the the dye environment degradation in some of the cities in china is extremely polluted because people are wearing the denim cloths.
Think about it, if you are wearing jeans, think twice before wearing it or composting. I started composting now organic composting and shifting to energy efficient appliances. Here in indian bsi, star rating 5 star get the every appliance is 5 star what’s the problem, even though you’re spending little bit uh you’re spending for the environment and shifting from cooking, you know the normal cooking, the whatever the preschool steam cooking. You know it is much more nutrient efficient as well as energy. The carbon footprint is so much lesser if you cook, with the steamer and also instead of ironing, the cloth use a steaming steamer for the the ironing you know, instead of ironing just use a steamer or bar soap, you know instead of uh the aqua. You know whatever the the shower gels, that is nothing but aqua is nothing but water you’re paying a huge amount for the water, but more than that, all these things are coming with a single use, use and throw disposable plastic. All this end up in the ocean. Friends causing harm to the penguin population, the micro plastic remember, and also for the instead of the shampoo that comes in plastic bottle. I just use a shampoo bar. You know very nice packaging, it’s, really good for the environment and minimizing the purchase is number one solution for most of these plastic crisis, as well as the sustainability to achieve the sustainability number one recommendation would be stop towards zero waste.
You know minimize the waste, so the purchase loss will lead to uh. Waste will be automatically less. You know there is another court, very famous caught by seneca the destroyed philosopher. If you live your life in harmony with the nature, you will never be poor if you live life according to what others think you will never be rich, see how profound the god is. So if you live harmony with nature, you will never be poor. You know so there is another philosophical concept called. Why are negative? Ah, so why are negative exactly it resonates? This thought. Remarkable progress in our life can be achieved by not doing uh the things you know that that actually cause a harm so that that is what the lifestyle changes. We really have to incorporate a lot of lifestyle changes. That itself will be a huge cure. You know a solution for this climate crisis. You know instead of spending thousands on crores of the rupees for to clean up the dirty rivers, so we should spend it to stop the pollution from happening. So if we actually do that the upper ganges valleys – you know, if we stop the ganges river from polluting, then the pollution will automatically stop instead of cleaning up the river so that cleaning up the river is not a viable solution. Friends, i had an ultimate sustainability experience: a zero waste i’m, a big advocate of zero waste, but my ultimate sustainability uh.
You know experience was also in antarctic offense. You know in antarctica. As you know, the temperature goes as low as minus 79 degree celsius. Nothing can grow in that temperature. No bacteria can grow. How about waste? You might uh wonder what is uh. How is the toilets in antarctica looks like excrements the human excrement? If you throw it out millions of years, it will be there without decomposing, because decomposing bacteria cannot live at that low temperatures. You know so friends, while returning we brought every single waste of us, including the excrement we packed the excrement in the barrels and we bought home here in india. You know so that really taught me that how to minimize the waste and how to incorporate sustainability to a personal level, how to align our life to the 17 united nations, sustainable developmental goals, the sdgs, where most of the cad missions simply preach. I can also preach for hours and hours what these 17 sdgs are all. But the point is that, just like what ganthi says, my life is my message: bring it to your life, show the world that, through the actions, not just by mere speech, you can do it see. Remember we spoke about the risk perceptions right earlier. When i began this talk, we were talking about the risk perceptions, many climatologist friends of mine uh, they can’t even sleep at night. You might wonder what is what is going going on with the climatology friends.
They are worried. They are really worried because the climatologist georges and now they predict that earth’s major geological event is now going to be the complete meltdown of antarctica due to the global warming friends and what are the repercussions and when this is going to happen next 50 years. If the trench goes by within next 50 years, we are going to lose antarctica, the pristine white continent, and what is the the impact of it? It would raise the global sea level by at least 2.5 meter. Even one inch you know or three centimeter is enough to displace hundreds of kilometers. You know so. It’S gon na have uh a tremendous impact. Almost entire uh cities. The coastal cities will be submerged and displacing billions of the human population because most of the human population live in the coastal regions. Antarctic ice sheet also store almost 98 percentage of the fresh water of our planet, earth and melting, and you know, dissolving into the the global oceans will have another serious ramifications, including you know, earth’s tilt the axial tilt might also be. That is what the climatologists are now predicting. You know, uh, remember, jumping from fifth story, uh fifth, floor of the tall building. You know the scientists are informing the same about the climate change right now. Today, scientists are informing us what is going to happen soon, so the climate change is just like slow growing cancer fronts by the time the cancer is detected, it might have already spread to multiple organs.
You know stage four cancer right now we are nearing the stage for cancer of the climate change. Not many people are talking about the climate change at the start of every disaster movie. There is a scientist being ignored to ignore or not is an individual choice. The choice is up to you to ignore the science or go with the science. Remember there is no viewpoint or belief in science. Science is only for objective reality, so my voice for antarctica has taught me why minimizing carbon footprint and waste through the lifestyle changes is the key to the sustainability and the climate action. Why bringing united nations sustainable developmental goals to the personal level is a need of the hour? Thank you.