As it turns out, scientists have not simply provided us five stupid ways to save the planet from climate change. Our greatest bio-engineers have been busy sniffing glue and coming up with other ways to save the earth.
We present another batch of our favorite half-dozen minus one.
1. Really, Really Big Mirrors ... in Space!
In an episode of "The Simpsons," Mr. Burns erects a huge metal saucer to cover the sun so Springfield (and then the world) must be dependent on him for power. In all seriousness, some researchers are essentially proposing the same plan, but instead of world domination, they're hoping to lower the earth's temperature.
The evil scheme, er, plan, works by launching mirrors into space, which will be strategically placed to deflect the sun's rays from the earth to lower the temperature. The only downside is the high cost ... and the fact that it might not work.
2. Jatropha Goes Bust
A few years ago, British Petroleum poured money into turning the toxic, useless jatropha seeds into biofuel. Jatropha seemed like the great green hope -- it grows on barren and marginal lands, meaning developing nations could grow it without devoting farmland to fuel production.
After the brief love affair, BP sold its venture
for a fraction of its worth. Turns out the weed is a water hog, sucking down so much water that it is neither economically nor environmentally friendly. Not to mention the toxic seeds and leaves require careful handling. Oh, and it's ugly, too.
3. Iron Dump
Dumping metal into the ocean doesn't sound like a good way to save the earth. But some researchers in Germany and India poured six tons of iron filings
in it anyway, hoping the iron would encourage phytoplankton growth. The hope was the algae army would suck up carbon from the atmosphere; then, after the algae died, it would remain entombed on the ocean floor. In the end, something else ate the algae instead -- and a group of scientists polluted the ocean.
4. Coconuts to the Rescue
The tiny Asian nation of the Maldives plans on roasting coconuts
to save the environment. Slow-cooking bio-wastes such as coconut shells produces a carbon-rich nutrient, which can be mixed into the soil as an organic fertilizer. This bio-char allegedly absorbs excess carbon. Most critics note that there is no evidence that bio-char will retain the carbon and might simply delay the gas's release ... and they'd prefer a piña colada anyhow.
5. Slime-Covered Buildings
Some researchers are taking the green movement a little too literally. The U.K.'s Institute of Mechanical Engineers wants to turn buildings green and cover them with tubes of algae
, which would absorb carbon from the atmosphere. After the algae whetted their appetite, the critters would be buried in the ground with their bellies full of carbon. And while algae is a promising way to scrub carbon from the atmosphere, burying it in the ground isn't preferable -- the carbon could still escape into the atmosphere.