Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Save The Planet, Win $25 Million

It is hard to imagine what one could do with $25 million. It is hard to even imagine what $25 million looks like. Such a vast sum of money would be hard to come by for most people over a number of lifetimes. However, in the next five years, one lucky person could receive this fortune. The only catch is that the person must, literally, save the planet.
It sounds too good to be true, but it is reality. To try and inspire the brilliant minds of Earth, the owner of Virgin Airlines, Richard Branson, has offered a $25 million prize to the person who can come up with a way to scrub greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. This is a serious issue. If something could be developed to remove a good portion of these gases (especially carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere, we could fight global warming. That is the goal of this massive undertaking. Branson said, "Man created the problem and therefore man should solve the problem." The predictions for Earth are grim if global warming is not slowed. In an interview, Branson bluntly stated the scenario that could be Earth's future. He stated, "Unless we can devise a way of removing CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the earth's atmosphere we will lose half of all species on earth, all the coral reefs, 100 million people will be displaced, farmlands will become deserts and rain forests wastelands."
So all the people of Earth are invited to brainstorm this idea. The "contest" with work as such: The prize will initially only be open for five years, with ideas assessed by a panel of judges including Branson, Al Gore and British ex-diplomat Crispin Tickell as well as U.S. climate scientist James Hansen, Briton James Lovelock and Australian environmentalist Tim Flannery. The goal of the winner is to come up with an idea that will remove one billion metric tons of carbon gases a year from the atmosphere for 10 years. Once the winner is announced, he or she will be given $5 million. Upon the completion of the winning plan, the winner will receive the other $20 million.
I do not believe this is an impossible feat. Some may call this a science-fiction dream, but I think it can be done. All that is needed is a great plan and a great mind to think it up. There is no way to convince me that in all this wide world, there is not a single person who could figure this out. There are over 6 billion people on this planet. One of them can surely save it. Branson said of the project, "This is the world's first deliberate attempt at planetary engineering." If we, as a species, can complete this task, we can move on to greater things. The universe is a big place. If we intend to explore it, we have to fix our problems at home first. Start thinking, I know I will, and maybe you could be $25 million richer.

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