A Test


Jun 17

This test has just one question, and it’s in the image above. And the simple fact that so many people get it wrong shows us a hell of a lot about what is wrong with our society. Not just what’s wrong with our educational system. That’s been so sabotaged since the eighties that we have kids now learning that Jesus rode dinosaurs and Moses was one of our founding fathers.

First let us take a look at our planet we know as Earth:

The definition of the word earth includes the following: the surface of this planet; the solid matter of this planet; dry land; ground.

If you are paying attention to the rotating globe (contrary to popular belief promulgated in rock and roll, it does not rotate because of adipose tissue in female posteriors), we see the planet consists of dry land and seas, or oceans. And even a cursory glance tells us there is more wet stuff than dry stuff, leading to the conclusion that our planet has been misnamed.

Planet Earth really should be called Planet Ocean.

Especially since it is from the oceans that life first sprang (I know, the Garden of Eden is a lovely story, but we’re adults now and we must put away our childish things), and it is the oceans that keep our planet oxygenated. And all the rainforests in the world won’t save us.

I’m not asking you to forget all you were taught in school about how plants use chlorophyll in a photochemical reaction with our sun to create sugars they need to survive; that process of photosynthesis that uses carbon dioxide and releases oxygen molecules as a byproduct. Nope, not telling you to forget all that wonderful chemistry. But . . . .

What We’ve Been Taught to Believe

Many of us have learned in this lifetime that “we must save the rainforests because they are the lungs of our planet.”

That’s nice. Cute.

But not quite true. The rainforests, it’s been found recently, are actually contributing to carbon build-up in our atmosphere.

Crazy, right?

And get this, one scientist, Yadvinder Malhi, has said that, “The net [oxygen] effect of the Amazon, or really any other biome, is around zero.” [Ref]

There is a great Firesign Theater album by the title, Everything You Know is Wrong, which fits right into this conversation.

In the early seventies, having survived Vietnam (nobody, least of all myself, believed that would happen), my love of medicine and animals placed me in a Pre-Vet-Med curriculum at the University of Minnesota, where, as fate would have it, I went above and beyond the call of scholarship, by dint of reading and studying everything I could find.

You see, because I had wanked off for four years in high school (graduating with a 1.7 GPA), but finally learning how precious and transitory life is while flying over Vietnam, occasionally risking my life to murder human beings, it eventually hit me that there was so much to learn about our existence, and I became an empty sponge, ready to soak it all up.

Well, because of my sciency background, I was asked to teach at Minnesota’s first outdoor education center the following spring. The classes I’d teach were water biology (from a canoe, and then through microscopes) and conservation.

The freshman biology class at the UofM was a joke. After 50 years, I can still remember just this one thing: “Man stands at the pinnacle of evolution because of the relative size of his penis.”

The class was taught by two morons via television, and I walked out in the middle of the final exam telling the TA, “this is a fucking joke,” but still managed to pull a B.

The dry sponge that I was drove me to the libraries where I discovered many things including the studies that had been passed onto the oil industry showing what would happen to climate if we continued using fossil fuel at the rate we were going.

I was fascinated. That’s when I began studying the various life cycles of both plants and animals and no, the fucking rain forests are not going to save us even if we save the rainforests. The only reason we even care about “rainforests” is because someone came up with the grand idea to change the word jungle to rainforest and suddenly everyone cared. Again.

Not So Fun Fact: The rainforests consume nearly all the oxygen they create. This is due to the huge macrobiome living within the forests. They need the damn oxygen.

What the rainforests actually do is just as important to all of us:

  • regulate the temperatures on Earth
  • which stabilizes ocean currents
  • are home to half our planet’s animal species
  • play an essential role in maintaining a supply of fresh water
  • contain life-saving medicines (drug companies hate this)
  • provide livelihoods for 1 out of 4 people worldwide [Ref]

When I taught conservation in the early seventies, I made sure those kids knew that we cannot continue on the course we’re on and let me tell you: that didn’t make one fucking difference . . . because today we are going even faster, just daring the next extinction event to wipe us out.

Global greed (mostly Western) will squeeze the last penny out of the earth’s dried up carcass by gosh by golly by gee by gum!

We predicted all this in the seventies. I taught all this in the seventies. We taught that global warming was coming, and by global warming, we meant global climate change, drastic change, such as unheard of cold snaps sweeping the world at times, fires everywhere contributing to the climate crisis, melting ice and rising water . . . but one thing nobody predicted was a Texas size island of plastics in the ocean. We actually thought that we couldn’t possibly be that stupid. Our lives depend on the oceans!

Yes, we get most of our oxygen from the oceans.

The oceans are dying and we are killing them.

We get at least 50% of our oxygen from the oceans, which actually means we get a lot more. [Ref]


It’s these lil buggers that create our oxygen. Phyto means “plant” and plankton were named by the German physiologist, Viktor Hensen, using the Greek word, planktos meaning “wandering, drifting,” because these things have no form of propulsion. They simply drift with the currents.

Mixed phytoplankton.

Some have called these little guys blue-green algae, and that’s close. Plankton are actually made up of single-celled algae and, get this, cyanobacteria; cyan meaning greenish-blue. And when you have this color in tiny things, you’ve got chlorophyll and so we call these plankton autotrophic.

The blue-green phytoplankton.

“-trophy” is a Greek suffix meaning food, nourishment. We all know what “auto” means, so an autotroph drives to the supermarket for food and nourishment.

Ok, I’m pulling your pseudopodium. An autotroph is anything that makes its own food supply. Thus plankton survive near the top of the ocean where the sun provides the energy for them to create their sustenance, and expel lots of oxygen as a byproduct.

And the reason they are called phytoplankton is to separate them from zooplankton, and since we’ve just been hit by a zoonotic virus, COVID-19, everyone should know that the prefix zoo means “animal.”

Zooplankton aren’t great swimmers and just flow with the currents, earning them too the name plankton.

And Now For the Bad News

Life came from the ocean and the oceans provide the planet with life giving oxygen.

We are killing off our oceans.

Let me show you a bit of Western hypocrisy.

If Westerners truly valued life, we would be protecting all life on the planet.

I don’t remember who said it first, but “greed (love of money) is the root of all evil,” and there is nothing more evil on this planet than the humans who inhabit it. We’re not all evil. Most of us are just slow. True evil resides in those with the power to save the planet, but who choose not to, because that’s not profitable.

We are killing our oceans, which will kill our plankton, which will, in turn, kill all life on the planet.

We’ve known this for half a century (again, nobody predicted that Texas sized island of plastic), and we’ve known what would happen if we continued on our course to self-destruction.

Global climate change and pollution will kill off the life-giving oceans.

Further Reading

Plastic eaten by plankton may impair oceans’ ability to trap CO2


How much oxygen comes from the ocean?

The Food Chain’s Weak Link: Tiny Ocean Plants Dying

Why the Amazon doesn’t really produce 20% of the world’s oxygen