If people continue to litter, they will soon have to breathe in a spacesuit – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

by time news

If people do not begin to return the ecological debt to the Earth, they are doomed to gnaw on plastic, live in a hole and walk in spacesuits so as not to suffocate. Such a future is being drawn by the scientists of the Club of Rome, if people do not curb their appetites. After all, the day of eco-long is the day when a person scoops up the reserves of the Earth, given to him by nature for a year, ten years ago came in the fall. It has now moved to July 29th. For five months a year, a person lives on loan – he takes benefits from nature and grandchildren. The debtor’s size is accumulating. And the question arose: man or nature.

One hundred pyramids of Cheops

Human sophistication to litter mutates. It seems clean – the demand for electric scooters and water scooters has skyrocketed. And the megalopolises of the world have imposed a limit on their use by companies, and in some places by ordinary people. Scrapping batteries costs about 18 thousand rubles apiece, but up to a third of the parts remain indestructible. Moreover, half the world, including Russia, does not have the capacity for their processing.

Scooters also “eat” electricity notably, demanding “supplements” from hydroelectric and nuclear power plants. How scooters cripple pedestrians and even drivers, unless a blind person sees. As well as the fact that the country is breaking records for the purchase of household appliances and electronics, sending more than 1.7 million tons of waste to landfills in 2020.

In the same way, non-recyclable plastic dishes, coffee capsules, colored polyester bottles, tobacco packs and the talk of the town – doypack, flowpack and other sachet bags – annoy them. Their “parade” is no longer in landfills – on the streets, beaches, in parks and forests, it has become a part of the landscape.

This waste, which people do not know how to recycle and do not want to remove, only in Russia there is “nothing at all” – a hundred pyramids of Cheops. In the USA – the height is already 232 pyramids, in China – almost 321. And where to remove them: the volume of landfills in Russia is comparable to the area of ​​the Sea of ​​Azov, in the USA it is equal to 12 Azov Seas, in China – 19. So the survival rate of the world is approaching the limits …

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If the carelessness continues, as predicted by scientists at the Center for Bioeconomics and Eco-Innovation at Moscow State University, by the middle of the millennium people will have to walk the planet in spacesuits.

“The earth will adapt, and there may be no place for people on it,” says Sergei Bobylev, head of the Center for Bioeconomics and Eco-Innovation at Moscow State University. – In ecology, as in physics, there are laws. People by overconsumption violated the main one – the law of the species habitat. The biosphere has evolved over 3.8 billion years. Our ancestors also changed. As a result, we have changed so that we are comfortable in the modern biosphere. But with comfort, we violated the law of evolution and triggered the domino effect: we are changing the ecosystem around us with waste products and climate change, as the poet noted, according to the principle “let this world bend under us”.

The deflection has formed such a force that it is already not enough to protect nature, to save its reserves – too, it is necessary to regularly return the debt – to consume less and recycle waste so as not to drown in it.

Philosophy of benefit

There are three ways to get rid of waste – civilize landfills into landfills, run incinerators and recycle garbage. The UN estimates that up to 85 percent of the garbage can be reused.

But there are pitfalls: no one wants to work with non-recyclable waste. More precisely, they argue over who should pay off the eco-debt – business, government or people?

“It is customary to throw stones at business, especially in the fuel and energy complex, but it is more and more profitable for it to be green,” said Vladimir Gorchakov, Deputy Director of the Sustainable Development Risk Assessment Group of the ACRA rating agency. – The introduction of eco-practices, yes, requires investments, yes, part of the business is shifted to the consumer, but if we take energy efficiency, we began to pay less bills. Another example is the transition to electronic document management. It “kills” business on paper, but not business, but that part of it and the model of harmful production that has developed over the centuries. Here everyone will have to learn not to take too much – water, clothes, light.

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Gorchakov believes that for this it is necessary to change thinking. For example, having an “old” smartphone, or even two, think, buying a more advanced one, how much water was spent on its manufacture and how the work on the production of the gadget could disrupt the migration paths of fish. Or how the extraction of raw materials for stool is shrinking the habitats of trees, birds and animals. Moreover, this philosophy of benefit is nothing new: when the ancestors hunted animals as food, they killed so much at a time so as not to reduce the species and go hunting again. This is the wisdom of seeing the ecological footprint, lost by modern man.

Therefore, after the creation of landfills and the incineration of garbage, it will be necessary to abandon what cannot be recycled. So far, the Ministry of Natural Resources has outlined a ban on the production of 28 disposable goods – plastic tubes, plates, glasses, lids, cutlery, cotton swabs, blisters (except for medicines), colored PET bottles, coffee capsules, various types of packaging and bags. Replacing them – from paper, wood and … recyclable materials.

No one wants to wear plastic T-shirts or eat bread made from wheat fertilized with trash.

For example, according to the Institute of Water Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, one T-shirt can be sewn from seven recycled liter plastic bottles, and a fleece jacket from 25 of the same bottles. A bicycle can be made from 500-700 aluminum cans. Or from 400 wine bottles – a set of glass wool for insulating a country house. At the same time, processing will help provide jobs for up to 270 thousand people. Although quickly, at least until 2030, it will not be possible to abandon non-recyclable plastic.

INFOGRAPHIC “RG” ANTON BINDERS / VLADIMIR EMELYANENKO

Tetris from compost

Sorting waste will have a long life. They are composted. It is then used to domesticate landfills, create parks (benches, coverings, exercise equipment) and even in agriculture as fertilizer, which is still expensive and, most importantly, causes a feeling of disgust and protest.

People have a close attitude to the calls of environmentalists to compost their garbage in apartments. Although it is enough to buy a composter. For summer residents and villagers, making a compost pit in the yard is quite simple. But habit is second nature.

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Figures: 200 garbage processing plants to be built in Russia by 2024

“Nobody wants to wear plastic T-shirts or eat bread made from wheat fertilized with it,” says Artem Akshintsev, a researcher at the Institute of Water Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. – It is easier to shift the burden of returning the environmental debt to scientists, government and business. And blame everyone except yourself for the fact that it is profitable for someone to “impose” a new production model. But we have worked out all the options for the future: from launching a garbage rocket into space, which will return to us, to mutagenesis, thanks to which people will be able to live in a radioactive desert and eat plastic like cake. And they came to the conclusion: to regard plastic as a mineral is the lesser evil. In the meantime, the plastic, which people do not know how to recycle, let it be stored in landfills. Let us learn, we will “extract” like oil and gas. There is a lot of hope here with artificial intelligence (AI), which is developing.

AI, according to ecologists, will allow updating “dirty” industries so that they produce as much as needed and pollute less. And the ecosystem will recover. If people continue to live as they live, the ecosystem and man will mutate.

A person, environmentalists warn, will be replaced by creatures like him, who will be comfortable chewing “chemistry” and living at 50-60 degrees of heat. That is also why delaying the return of the ecological debt is at a loss. Waste and warming are part of two broader environmental issues: land degradation and overpopulation. Only three billion people have enough food, but 4 billion go to bed hungry. And the situation is getting worse, despite the development of technologies that make it possible to get a larger yield per hectare of land. On the hungry, littered with garbage, the eco-debt is also shifted. And there is less and less time to understand and accept: separate collection, recycling and incineration of garbage is like playing Tetris. People are stacking cubes, trying to delay the moment when the monitor is completely full and there is no clean place to live.

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