The Fire of Life
Oxidation is a process which uses oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide. Anything that burns is oxidizing. Our body heat is slow oxidation - we burn our food to keep warm. And oxidation also occurs in soil and compost as dead plants and animals rot, giving off heat just as in fire only slower. That's why "fast" or "hot" composting can reach boiling point or even (in dry conditions such as large piles of dry leaves or wood chips on a hot summer day) start afire ("spontaneous combustion"). The combined body heat of trillions of microbes (molds, bacteria, viruses) and tiny critters such as worms and insects builds up heat sufficient to blow off steam when the pile is opened. Similarly you can exhale steam on a cold winter day And when an animal is butchered outdoors in the winter steam rises from the carcass).
Biological heat (bioheat) is amazing. In early Spring the stinkweed plant generates enough of it (up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit above the surrounding temperature) to melt right through the snow, allowing it to be one of the season's first plants to sprout up. The heat in a well-functioning fast-type composting pile or enclosed compost reactor can reach temps sufficient to kill off some diseases - a little similar to the fever with which humans and some other animals get rid of some diseases.
The amount of chemical and biological oxidation (oxygen being destroyed and carbon dioxide being created) that's going on now on the planet (forest fires and other wood burning, coal burning, oil burning, gasoline burning, natural gas burning, etc.) is not being anywhere near balanced off by the amount of oxygen-creation carbon dioxide-using processes such as photosynthesis. Since we're not only not decreasing but are in fact still INCREASING the amount of oxidation processes, we humans (for all our talk of going green) are actually speeding up the catastrophic weather changes already evident. It is abundantly clear (to those of us unafraid to open our eyes and honestly look at the facts) that we on Earth have no choice whatsoever other than go through some extremely radical changes in our lifestyles. For the most part, these changes are now being forced upon us, such as in the reduced capacity to build in the face of weather events that lay more and more of Earth's citizens low. We are to some extent being forced to hunker down and cooperatively endure more frequent losses of infrastructure such as occurred on the east coast with Hurricane Sandy.
There are reputable and thoughtful researchers who don't think humanity has a chance any more, that we human beings bound for extinction like the couple of hundred per day of other species dying out. The interaction of: human population growth; loss of soil due to erosion; ocean acidification and pollution from e.g. oil and radioactivity leaks; and international competition for limited resources make it clear the Earth ecosystem we knew is ending and we don't know what the new age coming is going to look like. But they, I think, are wrong to give up. Some of our wisest scientific thinkers are confirming the absolute power over the material world that the spiritual world has - that miracles are in fact possible and happening every day. The technological miracles of the past century alone are mushrooming in number and scale equally as fast as the problems developing. With a profound increase in loving, cooperative action we can continue to summon the miracles that God or Science or whatever you want to call the Power behind our amazing (and ultimately harmonious) Universe has been bestowing.