RanTom Thoughts/20070411 Global Warming
Spring, frozen in its tracks
Winter has decided that Spring was being presumptuous.
There are some days when you step out your door and the wind striking ice crystals against your jacket sounds like Rice Crispies on speed. On days like that you really want to forgo the rest of the day and just turn around, go back inside, curl up next to the <insert heat source here> and just read a book. Today is one of those days.
Since moving to the Chicago area, I have come to learn that my two least favorite phrases in the English language are the following:
- Freezing Rain
- Wet Snow
Snow is supposed to be "freezing" and rain is supposed to be "wet", not the other way around! Alas, today was of the 'wet snow' variety.
- In todays news: Illinois has decided it wants nothing to do with this "Global Warming" business and has become a Red State. In a show of solidarity with their new Conservative Overlords, lawmakers have repealed spring and sent IL straight back into winter in hopes that this will balance out the warming elsewhere.
Whoever is holding Spring hostage, we'll pay the full ransom! Just return it to us safely is all we ask!
Now for the rant part. (And so it begins)
I'm really tired of Hollywood over-pimping the whole Green Agenda. [edit: I'm specifically addressing Global Warming in this article, not the whole "Green Agenda". Perhaps some day in the future I'll comment on a couple of other issues.] The Oscars this year were just a sickeningly sweet love-fest for An Unpleasant Truth. Only in Southern California can anyone have the audacity to think weathermen can actually predict the weather past a couple of days :D. Didn't we learn anything from Chaos Theory? Whenever I hear politicians and actors spouting something about science that they've been told to spout by other actors and politicians, it just reminds me how much I'm surrounded by Sheeple.
That said, I do believe in Global Warming. At least I hope we have global warming, because our planet is doomed to iceball status eventually, as our internal heat source decays. (Then Sol will go Red Giant on us and we will get really toasty.) However, we are still at the end of an ice age here people. The planet is scheduled for a warm-up! Just look at the history of the planet and you'll see that it's been much warmer in the past. It's only human hubris that makes us think that the weather should be what it currently is. Mama Dirt is going to have her way eventually.
Now, I believe we should reduce emissions for the sake of not "fouling the nest". But this whole insane Green Panic because the Earth's temperature seems to be going up is ridiculous. As Ian Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, Life will find a way. Life survived much hotter temperatures before we were here. It has survived much colder. Planetary temperatures aren't that big of a deal for Life. (Within a certain range of course, but that range is much broader than the Green Police would like us to believe.) However, if we aren't going to control our population growth, we'd better start controlling our emissions now before we poison ourselves out of existence.
Discuss: tell me how wrong I am, how I should learn about climatology, etc.
I want to reiterate something here.
- Pollution: bad
- Warming: not so bad
Think about it a moment.
There is a large portion of Earth's life that hibernate during the winter because it is too cold. Those animals that hibernate in the summer do so solely because their water dries up. What's the biggest problem expressed about Global Warming? Melting the world's ice and raising sea levels. That means there will be more water unlocked and available to Life.
Now let's talk about a majority of the species on the planet. Insects, cold-blooded animals, etc. Heating the environment will make these species thrive in the so-called "temperate" zones outside of the tropics. Think about rain forests spreading beyond the tropics. The planet in general would love the environment to get warmer.
It is only our mammal-centric view that makes us think that global warming would destroy life on earth.
Pollution, over-hunting, deforestation, &etc., on the other hand, will destroy life. However, with all of the attention of the public eye being focused on this "warming" issue, the real problems are being put on the back-burner. When was the last time you heard an actor or politician making a big fuss about deforestation? The past decade, it's all been about "warming", and I believe that's wrong. Sure, atmospheric pollution is being addressed with the "warming" issue, but groundwater, bulk waste, etc are just accepted as a necessary evil we'll have to live with because we "have" to deal with "warming" first. So as our frogs and turtles die off -- species that have come to us from the warmer periods of Earth's climate -- we're told it's a result of "global warming wrecking the ecosystem" and the real causes are virtually ignored.
If you don't think deforestation is a big issue, I dare you to take a flight across the Midwest. Get a window seat. Now, as you fly across the country, look out the window. Pay attention to how much of the land is devoted to farmland, urban sprawl, etc. Now look at the small areas that are still pristine. They're easy to spot, look for the clumps of trees. Now, think about those trees spread out over the whole area as they used to be. You may at first think farms aren't so bad because they're plants as well, but think about how much green surface area is available for a 3D, volumetric, tree vs an essentially 2D plot of corn using the same area of land. Also think of how much longer the tree has leaves as opposed to the relatively few months that corn plants are actually contributing to the environment. Most of the year, farmlands are dirt and dead plants. Finally, think about how many animals, birds, insects are hosted by a single tree vs the ideal in farmland (i.e. 0). Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about farmers. I like to eat too. However, when a majority of the produce from these farms goes into raising cattle and chickens just to feed our fast food lifestyle -- well, I'll let you work out the repercussions for yourself. I don't see Al Gore or the majority of his "warm" crowd becoming vegetarians anytime soon.
Now think about how many creatures feeding a single cow eliminates from the ecosystem and compare it to how many creatures an aerosol can kills. (OK, ignoring cans of poison of course ;) ) They're trying to tell me that "warming" is the biggest issue we should be concerned about????