Part of our capacity to feed almost 7 billion people at the beginning of the 21st century has been attributed to the development of fertilizers. So does this mean that everything is wonderful? Far from it, because almost one billion people are going hungry and furthermore, the abuse of fertilizers has been more destructive than helpful...
CyberDodo and the Dangers of Fire (1-7)
« Fire » - the word evokes numerous images heat, power, comfort, a fireplace (in colder countries) but also conflagrations and destruction. Fire has a significant place in world myths and legends, history even pre-history, when the ancestors of modern humankind developed the ability to control it, several hundreds of thousands of years ago. Fire is one of the five classical elements.
To start a fire (without waiting for a lightning bolt to hit a bundle of twigs), three elements are necessary : a fuel, generally known as a « combustible », air, or oxygen which is known as the combustive, and a source of heat energy a lighter, spark, or matchstick.
These three elements are commonly represented in a model known as the fire triangle. Only one element is missing from the triangle - fire
Fire is a source of light, as well as heat. Just like the sun, it has a number of positive associations such as power, rituals, comfort but is also linked with more violent themes such as destruction, conflagration and even execution by burning at the stake during the Middle Ages, etc.
Fire is both a human-controlled phenomenon harnessed for various purposes such as cooking, heating shelters, landscape modification or industrial activities, and also a natural phenomenon that arises in conjunction with lightning, volcanoes and even certain types of meteorites.
Such natural phenomena are carefully observed, notably by volcanologists, given that numerous volcanic eruptions in history have ravaged entire cities, even regions, killing thousands of humans and sometimes causing damage to the extent that whole civilisations were laid to waste. (For example the Minoan eruption on the islands of Santorini, 1650 B.C.)
Even if it may seem suprising, meteorologists are also called in for the purposes of protecting nature from fires. The meteorologists work in collaboration with forest zone monitoring services.
Each year, countless lightning-caused fires wreak havoc on forests suffering drought or dryness - with terrible consequences to nature. This is so because even if mature trees have a chance of surviving wildfires thanks to their thicker bark that is able to scar, all younger and the smallest trees are irrecoverably destroyed.
As such, at the same time that frequent fires prevent the regeneration of our forests and cause serious ecological and environmental loss (fauna and flora), they are also essential for the survival of humankind. (Read more about this subject in episode 9).
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