Tiki's blog

Our planet may be big but it doesn't seem to be big enough

Our planet Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. It is the only planet we know of which supports life. Our nearest neighbour, the planet Venus, is so hot that the metal lead would melt. The only other possible planet is Mars which is extremely cold with a very thin atmosphere containing no oxygen. And there’s no water.

Back on Earth, life has probably existed for at least 4 billion years. Living things gradually changed and became ever more complex; they evolved into a fantastic array of living things ranging from tiny microscopic creatures to huge dinosaurs. But since life really got started in the so-called Ediacaran period about 600 million years ago, five mass extinctions have happened, because either the Earth suffered periods of huge volcanic eruptions which spewed poisonous gases into the air and caused global warming or it got hit by an asteroid — or both. The last mass extinction 65 million years ago famously caused most of the dinosaurs to die out. In between these horrific events, our planet has been a wonderful haven. The atmosphere today exists largely because of marine plankton that produce oxygen and absorb carbon.

But around about a million years ago, new animals (called hominins) which had evolved from ape like ancestors, began to appear in Africa. One of these creatures went on to become the most dangerous and aggressive animal ever known. They called themselves “wise men” (Homo sapiens) and certainly were and still are very clever. But some are also both lazy and very greedy. They’ve learnt to use technologies which are now seriously damaging our only home, planet Earth. Okay you guessed. I’m not talking about penguins and talking about human beings. So what is going on?

One way of looking at the problem of the Earths ‘lives’ is the atmosphere where these creatures burn huge quantities of carbon to fuel their machines, but in the process dumped gas pollution into the atmosphere, most of it CO2 and around 10 gigatonnes (that is 10,000 million tonnes) of carbon (equivalent to about 35 gigatonnes of CO2 every year! Carbon dioxide acts like a blanket making the earth too hot. So glaciers and ice caps all around the world are melting fast. So sea levels are rising causing serious coastal flooding when big storms occur. And that’s only life number one. Another one is what we now call biodiversity meaning simply an abundance of different forms of life. The trouble is humans have short memories and you kids won’t have any idea how much destruction and change has happened to wild country around the planet in the last hundred years. Destruction of habitats is the commonest cause of extinctions (not to mention hunting for fun). These have rapidly become the most serious disasters for life on Earth: the sixth extinction and the first ever to be caused by a self-declared intelligent animal.

Okay, people. What are you going to do about it? I’m pleased to say that a lot of you young people are getting it and really are doing something. Wonderful stuff! But first make sure you know your stuff so find out more here...

10 November 2019

11,000 scientists from 153 nations warn serious trouble ahead I wish I could say there was some good news for a change but I can't. This very sadly is a deadly serious business that will mean a great deal of suffering for many of us animals including humans. Most countries have hardly begun to do anything despite repeated warnings. Unfortunately, people when they hear this news tend to do what they always do: pretend nothing is happening and think about something else. Many things have to be done to avoid catastrophe but the four biggest and probably the most difficult are (says scince) ending population growth, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, halting forest destruction and slashing meat eating. I have no idea how or even if this will happen in time but I did notice as that horrifying news was released, the climate deniers immediately started their wicked business of saying, once again, that this was all nonsense and nothing to worry about. I wish!

2 November 2019

Find out about fracking in my guideFracking is off

Friends of the Earth has been a leading campaigner in the battle to ban fracking in Britain. It seems their efforts have been rewarded. In November 2019, fracking was banned totally in England so "no new fracking can take place anywhere in the country. The industry is effectively over in the UK" (Friends of the Earth)"

Friends of the Earth has been a leading campaigner in the battle to ban fracking in Britain. It seems their efforts have been rewarded. In November 2019, fracking was banned totally in England so "no new fracking can take place anywhere in the country. The industry is effectively over in the UK" (Friends of the Earth)"

Fossil fuels have got to go, and fast. So even though gas is the least damaging, history shows again and again that some people will always take the easy option. If the gas stays undergound because the law says it must, then people will begin to move towards renewable renewable energy. Why? Because gas supplies will get more and more expensive and renewables are getting cheaper. People who  lose their jobs because of bans on extraction of any fossil fuel could get jobs in the rapidly expanding renewables industries.

What does 'renewable' mean?
Something that people use again and again without fear of running out. Renewable energy is super important because it all comes from the sun. Unlike coal, oil and gas, it cannot run out and nor does it cause the deadly pollution that fossil fuels make when they get burned (e.g. in cars, airplanes and so on).

13 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion is making a big impact around the world. "Big coal, oil and gas is killing us, everything that we love and all life. We are currently living in a climate and ecological emergency. Despite decades of protest and campaigning for climate action, governments have continued to prioritise profit and increase the wealth of a few, at the expense of the majority and our living planet. We are saying no more, and demanding radical and transformative climate action." Big demonstrations in 56 countries so far are beginning to get the message out. Their smart website has tons of information about what's happening and how you can get involved. They intend, like Greta Thunberg , to keep on demonstrating and spreading the word about the coming disaster of climate change and mass extinction. They will do this until politicians and big business actually begin to do something serious to try and stop these awful things happening. At present, nothing serious is being done, partly because of the deliberate lies spread by politicians and the fossil fuel business. Science is very clear about this and scientists who have been studying climate change for many years reckon we have 10 years to fix things. This will mean cutting carbon fuel use by half. It all sounds pretty scary. I think these demonstrators are truly courageous. They are prepared to get arrested and face prison to save our wonderful planet.

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish teenage girl who has shot to fame quite recently. She has been actively campaigning about climate change and is now known all around the world.

 

29 July 2019

The big and poHot Earth, caused by humans burning fossil fuelswerful fossil fuel companies have known about the damage caused by their products for over 60 years. So what did they do? This video shows how the companies decided to deliberately cover up the clear evidence that climate change was already underway. So they did and they've been very successful at sowing the seeds of doubt and confusion. Today, over 99 per cent of all climate scientists know that global warming is a fact and that it is getting ever faster. And yet, the coal, oil and gas industries that knowingly caused all this receive government support as they continue to confuse people and sell ever increasing amounts of their geo-toxic products.

Just imagine if they had been honest from the start and said "Hey folks, we've realised that we've got a problem with carbon emissions from our fuel products. So we are going to have to cut back on fossil fuels right now and start investing in clean renewable power generation systems. Because we realise the danger of carrying on with 'business as usual', we pledge to reduce carbon emissions over the next 60 years to a level which science shows will be sustainable. We have the money and the power and we can do this. And we will because we know that all our futures are on the line here".

Well, as we know, exactly the opposite happened. Power and money were more important to the people who had both than life iself and a future for us all. Shame!

Here's that link again to the video: Fossil Fuels Create Global Warming & Climate Change Episode 1

27 November 2018

Climate change denial is pretty stupidHumans reckon they're pretty smart. After reading this post from the New York Times, I begin to doubt that. Denying that something terrible is happening makes everything worse. That's not smart, it's dumb!

But there's hope when someone changes from dumb to smart. So read this and watch the video.


14 February 2018

Oh dear! It's been a long time since I updated my blog. A lot of things have happened which means change of some sort to my website. Obviously a simple Penguin like me cannot run a website and so I have always had a human friend who helps me. Unfortunately, my friend is not at all well and can't carry on helping me. So I am rather desperately looking for someone or some group to take over my website and, I hope, improve it. I would still be here, still giving you kids facts and news about really important stuff like climate change, pollution and so on, all based on science. The alternative, I'm sorry to say, will be that my website will die and I will be very sad indeed.

What can you do to help? I guess the answer is to talk to your parents and your teachers at school to see what they suggest. Lots of kids from over 220 countries in the world use my website. In the last 5 years that's well over 1 1/2 million of you and not far off 4 million over the last 10 years (3,708,433 between February 1, 2008 and February 1, 2018). Almost 1/3 of my website visitors are from the USA. So you decide whether you think my website is worth supporting. If you think it is, do something! If you come up with a possible solution, scroll to the bottom of my home page where you can find out how to send me an email. I promise I will answer if your suggestion looks good.

1 December 2017

I've been very busy lately. You have to appreciate that I'm rather slow doing things, being a penguin. Having flippers and sharp beak is great in the cold seas which me and my friends live in in the southern ocean which surrounds Antarctica. But they are no good on a keyboard. This is why things like my guides don't get updated as often as I would like. The good news is that I may possibly get some human help soon.

Things aren't looking too good for the planet's climate right now. The most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is increasing again after 2 or 3 years in which it didn't. People were hoping that they'd turned a corner and that this carbon pollution was actually on the point of going down. And so it should have been when you think of all the renewable energy stuff that has been installed all over the place. Sadly, the rise continues.

But there is a new book for kids about how you can do something to help save the world. Find out more

 

Lucky Dip7 October 2017

I'm launching my new 'Tiki's Lucky Dip' scroller today. It's taken me weeks of work which seems crazy when you look at it. It looks so simple, doesn't it! Well let me tell you it was not simple. Maybe it would be easy for you clever kids because a lot of you probably learn about coding. I had to teach myself and I am only a penguin. Anyway, do have a go with my Lucky Dips. You can find the button on the top right of my main pages. And please tell your friends.

3 September 2017

Hurricane Harvey, August 24, 2017. Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterWe have all heard lots about Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it has caused. Meanwhile in South Asia, heavy monsoon rains and massive floods have caused the deaths of over 1000 people. Around 40 million people have been affected in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. This sort of extreme weather is what climate scientists have been predicting for some time and now it's coming true. Fortunately, there are many things that people can do to slow or stop climate change. But at present, not enough is being done. There are two problems. One -- the big one -- is climate change itself; the other is people who won't accept that the planet is getting hotter or that it is caused by humans using enormous quantities of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas). Climate change is already seriously affecting millions of people (not to mention other animals and plants) and will soon be affecting billions unless people take big steps to tackle it. And yes, it will likely affect you, your family and friends in the near future so if you want to understand what's happening and what you can do, a good place to start is my Hot Earth guide.

They are usually called 'climate change deniers'. They claim that the all the world's climate scientists are wrong and the mass of evidence that it is happening is false.

28 July 2017

North of the Arctic Circle: Trollfjorden, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Dear me, how quickly the time passes. I've been away in Norway. Wow, fabulous scenery with trolls everywhere (so I was told).

Whoops! I don't think this troll IS real
And this was the first time I'd ever been north of the Arctic Circle where there is 24-hour daylight in mid-summer and where the sun never rises at all in mid-winter. And no, I didn't see any polar bears. If I had, I'd have scarpered pretty fast, I can tell you. Anyway, I don't suppose a polar bear has ever even seen a penguin, let alone eaten one! Why? So now it's back to work, struggling to keep this website up-to-date and trying to find enough money to keep it going. Groan!

Oh come on, you're kidding me! You know that polar bears only live in the Arctic and penguins only live in the Antarctic and southern oceans. So they never meet. Just as well. It's bad enough having leopard seals trying to eat us...

22 May 2017

Well, I got there. I finally finished my Eating the Future guide. I brought it all up to date including two quizzes. Do take a look!

 


 

Blast off for podcasts or what?Tiki the Penguin speaks...

Tiki's podcasts

How on earth can a Penguin speak English? Good question. And you know what? I'm not going to tell how I do it. That's my secret. So anyway, I make my recording. Then I put it online so you can listen. Cool, right? I will be doing new podcasts (mp3) every so often on topics that I hope you will find awesome! Watch this space.

Bye for now.

Tiki the Penguin Me October 2017

of