Making People Green: A High School Student's Solution to Global Warming

During my high school years, I stumbled upon the concept of global warming after watching movies like 2012 and Day after Tomorrow I remember thinking why this a problem is. So off course using my very limited high school biology knowledge I thought I found a solution: green people.

Adding Chloroplast to our skin cells would allow us to do photosynthesis like plants. Therefore we could use the energy from the sun and the extra carbon dioxide produces from the burning of fossil fuels to produce glucose that we could use for food. In theory, one would not have to eat if they received enough sunlight. The products of this would be the release of oxygen into the atmosphere which we would breathe.

To make green people we would have to introduce chloroplast into the somatic cells within our body. The way we do that requires many different mechanisms like retrovirus infection and gene editing techniques. We currently have this technology, however; the side effects of such tools are not yet well understood. Another way to introduce these chloroplasts would be to silence to the genes that would attack the newly introduced organelles.

One Important factor of the chloroplast in plants comes from the idea of the endosymbiotic theory. Meaning a chloroplast has its own DNA and replicates itself. This provides an evolutionary challenge, in contrast to humans, plant's chloroplast-derived from a long evolutionary process where through millions of years these green solar plants became incorporated into the cells. Sadly, we do not have 2 million years, the best alternative to the natural selection induce symbiosis is a genetically boosted artificial selection.

In order to produce green people, there are many obstacles we would have to go overcome. A big challenge is the human immune system. Introducing a new organelle to the somatic of the body would lead to an inflammatory response, where the white blood cells would attack the cell would attack the chloroplast. This paradigm also presents the challenge of cancer. As we introduce new DNA into our cells, we have a greater potential for things going wrong I.e. harmful mutation. These mutations can lead to uncontrolled systems within our cells which leads to tumors.

Green people would bring about numerous social conflicts. Having people of unseen skin color would lead to discrimination and seclusion. We would see a clash between the green and "normal". A potential solution to this problem would be to have patches of green skin instead of the body. A path on the back and stomach would suffice, one might not even be able to perceive who is green or not.

Off course these ideas are not perfect as they were written by a teenage high school student. However, I think it's an interesting thought experiment. The current world today has many problems most not fixable by a single entity. Yet it is important to keep them in mind and use the knowledge that we acquire along the journey of life, whether it be science, math, history, the liberal arts. The goal of this mindset is not to fix the world, but rather to incorporate accrued knowledge into our daily life.

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