Monday, September 20, 2010

Global Foolishness

February 21, 2010
Once again, I have been assailed verbally by a well-meaning but not overly bright young woman telling me that we must seriously alter our lifestyle in order to "Save The Planet".  This of course is due to our causing of Global Warming, and the danger that it entails.  Of course, I am old enough to remember that in the 1960s and early 1970s, the big scare was an oncoming Ice Age, with all the misplaced enthusiasm and insane demands for action that now come with Global Warming.
Here is the real skinny - global warming is happening to a point, but humans have no control over it.  From the real evidence we have, we know that over the past million years, this old rock has experienced an ice age about every 100,000 years.  These have corrected themselves, by means of global warming, without the presence of SUVs, coal power plants, or any of the other human-made things largely blamed for our present relatively mild warming.  It has, in fact, been warmer than now in only the last 1000 years.  The Medieval Warm Period, which ran from about 900 to the late 1300s, was apparently a very nice period for humans.  The south end of Greenland was populated by Nordic farmers and sheepherders, wine grapes grew and prospered as far as northern Britain, and even most of Russia was an agricultural breadbasket.  All this began to fall apart in the late 1300s, when the climate turned around, and the Mini Ice Age set in.  The peaceful Nordic farmers and sheepherders in the  Greenland/Norway/Sweden corridor became the Vikings, and went exploring and conquering to find a warmer place to live.  In England there began a winter festival each winter when the Thames river froze over.  By the late 1700s, this also was turning around, as we began to enter our present little cycle of warming.  In the new world, the United States was getting more liveable (the river at Valley Forge was not freezing over any more, among other things) as was Europe (the annual winter festival in London was canceled in 1812, as the Thames wasn’t freezing over anymore).  And by the way, Mars is also getting a bit warmer over the last 30 or so years, and there are not any humans there to influence it.
Now CO2 - that is right, Carbon Dioxide - greenhouse gas, evil stuff, them damm humans again.  Real science, as opposed to the wild-eyed junk science floating around today, shows us that human activity of all kinds to include agriculture and industry contributes about 3% of total CO2 to the environment, which is less than negligible.  The most common greenhouse gas around is atmospheric water vapor, over which we have no control.
Here is the real unvarnished skinny for the young woman mentioned above and her like - we can not Save The Planet, nor can we destroy it.  We don’t have the power. The influence. The control of The Force.  We are another form of life here on the ol’ rock, and when Mother Nature tires of us, she will be rid of us, and our passing will be unnoticed by the other life forms here.  This old ball has been here a whole lot longer than we, and will continue just fine without us when we are gone.
In the meantime, be nice to each other. Do not let wild-eyed do-gooders dominate you.  Live your life, and let other people live theirs.  We are here for a limited time - make the best of it.

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