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Where a world of ideas can mean hope for the future
Where we laugh in the face of adversity
Where many a true word is said in jest
Where great wisdom is framed by a smile
For example: We on planet Earth are considering all the wildest of expensive schemes to extract the CO2 from the air... something trees do for free!
JUST LISTEN TO WHAT THIS YOUNG ENLIGHTENED GENERATION HAS TO SAY!
Click link below
JUST CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL MOVIE
The World Would be a Better Place if we all just Stopped Destroying it.
We think we are doing a perfectly good job by thinking GREEN
thoughts and caring for it
(always mindful of our carbon foot print).
But we are not!
We make it worse every day because we are wasteful,
A lot of talking but no action.
We don’t want to sacrifice
We think if we recycle we are doing our bit. for it.
But we are not!
Feel good, a lot,
Piles of jars and cans save on resources…….like sand!
How do I get through to you?
The problem is CO2, it’s
in everything you do.
Did you turn the light off after you?
How many trees have you planted this week?
I hear the rainforest situation is bleak
We will all be melting if we don’t start helping.
Are you sure you can’t spare a degree
On your air conditioner for me.?
Sacrifice some comfort for me and you that’s everyone in the
shops and the supermarket too
It’s all about energy and wasting it.
Coal and oil are keeping you cool...as a fool,
But what can you do? :
Share a ride. Stem the tide.
Stop wasting food. Don’t throw it away.
It takes CO2 to make your beef, poultry too.
Then we have to send it to you, CO2, too.
Save everything and be frugal and
The world will be a better place because it isn’t just ours
And it is our only saving grace.
I thought a lot about ways of making the World a better place but, if the world becomes uninhabitable for us humans, nothing else will matter. I also noticed everyone seems to be carrying on thinking everything will be fine or thinking they are helping by recycling I hope my film will make people see what they do everyday does matter for both good and bad. Writing music is one of my favorite things so I used mine, with violin, Bass with a Korg 707, a drum program and my leg slapping. All the editing I did on Windows Movie Maker.
I am glad to talk about the
1. what grade are you in?
I am in a junior, in grade 11
2. what would you say your primary motivation was for entering this piece on reflections?
My primary motivation was to make my friends aware of Global Warming and that we all contribute to the problem without realizing it. Even when we realize it and think we are helping, we may not be.
I want to live on a planet that is habitable not one with mass extinction because it could also be ours. That is plenty of motivation.
3. have you participated in reflections before?
I try to participate in Reflections every year, usually in music composition. The last time I got this far in the competition was when I was in Middle School in 2008 and won an Outstanding Interpretation for music composition.
4. what message do you want people to receive from watching your film?
The most important message is that we do make a difference for good and for bad, Humanity is not that small any more, we have changed the whole planet physically so much so you can see that from space and the oceans are now more acidic with the extra CO2.
If all of us together each day reduced the amount of energy we wasted and food we wasted and asked ourselves "can we suffer just one degree cooler in the winter or hotter in the summer on our air conditioner" it would make a difference.
5. what are the easy changes to peoples' daily lives that can make a big difference in saving the world? How do each of these changes help?
Be aware of what you do without thinking every day:
Turn the lights off when you leave a room and computers or the internet when you are not using them
I f you don’t you are heating up the planet for nothing and costing money
Take out things from the wall when not using them they often drain electricity for nothing.
Put as much energy into conservation of energy as you do into recycling (which doesn't really help Global Warming much.).
Plant trees, they absorb CO2 for free.
Think about sharing or being more efficient when you travel.
You do not have to heat and cool EVERY room in your house!!
Become educated about the science of climate change. It will protect you against all those people who don't want to change..
Everything helps especially here because we in the US have a huge contribution to the problem. People are sacrificing in other countries. Go without. Sacrifice a degree of comfort and be proud of it!
6. in your opinion, what is the most destructive behavior of people?
The most destructive behavior is not caring or even worse thinking the situation is already hopeless and we are all doomed. I am also upset when people are anti science in favor of their own opinion. Science and knowledge and the understanding of facts is all we have to save us.
As we look back from 2015 with all those reservations, cold spells, complaints about the polar vortex, those early morning frosts, goose bumps and ice lumps, snow, sleet and hail....when you add everything up....all over the globe:
This created an International Tsunami of its own because:
IN AN ON-GOING MILITARY SITUATION WHERE BOTH SIDES COULD EASILY BE DRAWN INTO THE CONFLICT BOTH Russia and the US in May provocatively flexed their nuclear muscles in drills with ICBM launches and B52 flights within days of each other...
After a 35 year absence Cosmos has returned to share the wonders of science, history and imagination that truly belong to all of us.
PROFESSOR WILLIAM (BILL) GAMMAGE VISITS GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY BEARING A PROFOUND MESSAGE
Not only did Bill explain how Aborigines made Australia but he also challenged us in the US to look deeper into the historical North American landscape for a similar astounding revelation.
The premise is elegant, compelling and simple: Australia, in its natural and wild state is a different topographical land than European explorers and adventurers discovered and documented in the 1780s.
Using fire as a tool, the Aborigines shaped the land into a patchwork of dense forest and grassland in order to foster the success of preferred animals and to facilitate their hunting and gathering lifestyle. He showed, through botany, science and illustration, human stewardship of this massive continent.
Philosophy for the Month
Human beings are, by nature, advanced > Even if they do not have a sophisticated technology they will always always find ways to create a sophisticated culture.
Of course Man can, and has, altered the surface of the Earth: not only the topography of land but, Yes, there are even Tales of Topographic Oceans.
The acidification of the oceans, by the increase in dissolved CO2, is also altering the topography of the oceans.
Thought to Ponder
On the strength of the definitive work by Susan Soloman et al. the International Community created the Montreal Protocol to protect the Earth's fragile ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbons.
This is, in itself, a legal and scientific recognition that we are living in the Anthropocene.
THE YEAR OF THE QUANTUM UNIVERSE
Bicep2 has discovered evidence for gravity waves in our universe.
This is a memorable moment in Physics, the kind future Cosmologists will have as a trivial pursuit question! They are remnants of the early universe tearing itself apart at faster than light speed; something called "inflation".
(No, not a devaluation of your currency, or price hike but more like a rapidly expanding space-time balloon.)
Just as Einstein predicted all those years ago (along with the Cosmological Constant).
It is also what we would expect if the Big Bang was a quantum event.
Don't get too excited about this (because the data may have been scattered by dust within our galaxy) but the implication is astronomical.....
Our universe could be one of many universes, a Multiverse produced by the random fluctuations, the very nature, of quantum mechanics.
This also explains why the physical laws in our universe work to sustain and create matter and galaxies and planets ( ever so slightly different and they would not)...
there were an infinite number of attempts to get it right.
So, the good news is... if we screw up this Earth there is bound to be at least another one in the Multiverse!
A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH PROMISE AND POTENTIAL
As we venture into the depths of February "here we must ask ourselves";
are we off to a good
Has the current human discourse inspired and enlightened us?
Have we been moved to resolute action mindful of the future and caring for our children's, children's, children.?..or is this just a little too moody blue.
Maybe it is a Question of Balance?
Let us consider important recent debates and discussions:
It seems everywhere I go these days and, especially on the radio, someone is saying
"So much for your Global Warming with these cold winter temperatures. What do you have to say for yourself?"
(Just between you and me that is a little like saying the sun does not exist because
............................ it is night! )
Extreme climatic events and record-breaking temperatures are not only perfectly in keeping with Climate Change (or, as we think, the current euphemism for Global Warming for those not brave enough to say it) but also predicted by current models for Global Warming.
This Polar Vortex is caused by instability in the Jet Stream (the circular Arctic winds that travel from West to East.) Let's just hope there is not related instability in the ocean currents of the Gulf Stream.....
In other words please do not let climate change deniers dupe you into taking solace in extreme weather.
It's enough to make you watch reruns of "The Day After Tomorrow"!
Of course, this Hollywood blockbuster was made in 2004. We have contributed trillions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere and oceans since then.
OTHER FUN AND LIVELY CONVERSATIONS
Newt Gengrich, the famous amateur paleontologist and once Speaker of the House, has words of wisdom about those halcyon, benign, dinosaur era temperatures...of course Man the species didn't exist.
While John Stossel writes a magnificent piece on Climate Change that should inspire anyone into inaction called:
"Chill Out on Climate Change".
Please stay tuned for a discussion on these and other insights into humanity's future.
THOUGHT FOR DECEMBER
as we patiently watch the train circle the White House Christmas Tree, with;
an epilogue for November;
November, 2013 was the hottest recorded month on Planet Earth since records began in 1880.
The finding was based on globally averaged land and surface temperatures.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The month of November was the hottest since record-keeping began in 1880, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.
The finding was based on globally averaged land and surface temperatures last month, NOAA said in a statement.
"The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November, 2013 was record highest for the 134-year period of record," NOAA said.
The average temperature was 0.78 Celsius (1.40 Fahrenheit), above the 20th century average of 12.9 Celsius (55.2 Fahrenheit), NOAA said. It was also the 37th November in a row with worldwide temperatures above the 20th century average.
Quote for the Month
"Nothing succeeds like Patience and Persistence." your wise parents told you
Persistence, certainly, but patience in the long run (or long train running) is terminal.
P.S. ... and, by the way, December too...more record breaking temperatures:
The National Weather Service says the temperature in Central Park hit a record-setting 65 degrees Saturday. The previous record was 62, set in 2011 and 1923.
Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J., reached 67 degrees on Saturday afternoon. That broke Atlantic City's previous mark of 63 degrees, set in 2011, and bested Philadelphia's previous high of 66 degrees, set in 1895.
The temperature rose to a balmy 68 in Wilmington, Del., beating the previous mark of 65, set in 1895. And the 64 degrees recorded in Newark, N.J. broke the previous mark of 62, set in 2011.
THOUGHT FOR NOVEMBER
What would JFK do?
This philosophical thought is in keeping with the legend John F. Kennedy has become and the 50th commemoration, this month, of his assassination.
What would JFK do about climate change.?
What makes a truly great president is the ability to be able to lead and inspire. Regardless of the historical factors during and after his short life this is true of JFK for now, generations.
So, what would he do about Global Warming?
A great leader would make us do the work. "Ask not what your planet can do for you but what you can do for your planet......"
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dan Rather on the 50th commemoration (although I couldn't resist asking him how he managed to get the Zapruda film wrong...conspiracy theorists will understand the question) and I enjoyed listening to his perspectives.
The other news item is quite impossible to make light of: The most powerful typhoon ever in human history struck the Philippines:
THOUGHT FOR OCTOBER
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a fascinating lecture by Dr. Gary Wilson at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. on Climate Change data from Antarctica. His team drilled through the Ross Ice Shelf and created a nearly perfectly intact core including samples from 3 to 5 million years ago and a time in Earth geology when CO2 levels were 400 parts per Million....as they now are.
The changes to Antarctica with melting ice selves and changes in ocean and wind currents gave many in the audience pause. Dr. Wilson with his dry wit was sure Mankind would be wise enough to address rising CO2 levels.
It is with great irony we consider Government was only a mile or 2 away filling us all with confidence that any representatives of Mankind would always make the wisest decisions.....but unfortunately.... Government is shut.
THOUGHT FOR SEPTEMBER
The hottest Australian September everThat would be the warmest September since records began.
Aussies have just lived through it and that would include all those Kangaroos and even those cuddly Koalas.
That record makes the last 12 months also the warmest on record!
THOUGHT FOR AUGUST
A visit from the Long Distance, Green Voyager
A weary, migrating butterfly seeking repose?
It's... It's not a bird... It's not a plane... It's Steve Rish the famous long distance, green voyager!!!!!
Traveling thousands and thousands of miles on harmless vegetable oil.
No invasions required, no gulf spills just ..............
You may say... but surely vegetable oil still produces CO2, so how does this help????
Ahhhh, because your old vegetable oil is a waste product you were going to throw out.
We should all be mindful of the colossal amount we throw away during our consumer lives and just think how long it could have kept Steve on the road!
THOUGHT FOR THE MERRY MONTH OF JULY
In keeping with the theme of careful what you wish for
I had the pleasure of visiting New Zealand. The land where people are polite, good natured and love bright, warm, sunny days.
Oh, and did I mention those kiwis love talking about the weather. a pastime handed down from their colonial ancestors/visitors/usurpers,
but what if those delightful, sunny, cloudless, spring and summer days should just go on and on and on.......
Then something like this would happen
and sadly it did!
...causing great economic and physical destruction...to say nothing of the loss in crops and livestock
Yes, my fellow world citizens, Climate Change is expensive BUT ever so luckily; altruistic and benevolent China helped pick up the tab seeking nothing in return.
Months passed and the dry, brown colors of that green, green land became tipped with the reds and golds of autumn....then the rains came as they did a few years before;
Polite weather conversation is no longer small talk in that small pastoral country!!
but wait there is more
these extremes and freaks of weather only just happened to another country
and a large and significant one at that:
CHINA: drought followed by flood
Which leads us to our philosophical thought for the month of June:
We have only to worry "when Burnham Wood comes to Dunsindane"
in climate terms : only when the remarkable and exceptional happens and extremes and record breaking conditions become the norm.
Toil and Trouble quote of the month
Ancient Chinese Proverb
"A benevolent country has no enemies"
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
I am late, I am late, for a very important date.
A new, exciting and legally binding, international treaty to reduce harmful emissions was just adopted by more than 140 nations, capping four years of difficult negotiations !!!!
Finally a universally accepted, comprehensive intentional treaty reduction of green house gases????????????
This new treaty is to reduce mercury pollution.!
Mercury is absorbed and builds up in the tissues of fish and is passed up the food chain to us omniscient humans who are in charge of passing important laws.
Well, could be worse....and actually maybe this mercury has been the problem.
Mercury has been secretly behind mass insanity for centuries.
This poison was responsible for "the Hatter Shakes" and expressions like: "Mad as a Hatter."
Mercury was used in the manufacture of hats and mercury poisoning can result in aggressiveness, anti-social behavior and mood swings.... symptoms of madness.
Quote for the month
We have some things to be grateful for as the bright new year of 2013 begins:
the good news
The Kyoto Accord was extended at Doha, Qatar by nearly 200 countries!
the bad news
the agreement will only cover about 15 % of Global emissions!
Scientists have probably discovered the Higgs-Boson particle during brilliant innovative experimentation at the CERN Collider.
Quote for the year from me for, 2013
THOUGHT FOR THE LAST MONTH
We have a new presidential term starring the same president but will we see our Climate Change concerns raised to actionable levels?
Why should anyone listen to us, though?
Aren't we just tree dwellers/lovers hugging the arboreal forests on the fringe of civilized society??????
NooooooOOOOOOOOOoooo we are also the World Bank!
Yikes, if the World Bank is worried.....
then I am really worried and
shouldn't we actually be doing something at some point?
Quote for the day from me for December 1, 2012
"If the World is your oyster why are there only mussels on the menu"
"If the World really is run by the financiers shouldn't we be placing a put option"
THOUGHT FOR THE LAST MONTH
Let me see;
storms nearly 1000 miles in diameter on our small planet ???
...kind of reminds me of another place.
a really big-storm place that doesn't come up in conversation very often these days......
Just as well we are not messing with the atmosphere on planet Earth or anything.
Quote for the day from me for November 1, 2012
"It is only a storm in a tea cup
until you have to drink out of the cup"
THOUGHT FOR LAST MONTH
The Doors of Perception
or it is difficult being a poet many years ahead of your time
As the magnificent poet Jim Morrison said.....more than 40 years ago....while defining the dichotomy between our love and quest for discovery and greater technological achievement, while tolerating the astonishing life-threatening self-destruction of our own environment:
He said it simply
People walking on the moon...... smog will get you pretty soon.
Other quotes on the subject by Jim Morrison include:
"What have they done to the Earth?
What have the done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and thundered and plundered and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn and they tied her
with fences and dragged her down"
The news for this month of October highlights this wonderful nature of ours.
The great discovery is of another planet our own size and orbiting our nearest star system!!!. That is amazing. Our nearest neighbor has a planet the size of Earth.
It also means Lost in Space was right!. The Jupiter II was heading for the right star system all along ; Alpha Centuri
but ........... Danger Will Robinson!!!!!!!
It is soooo very hot it is probably the Lava Planet from H E double hockey sticks, (Hell).
So, no vacationing there anytime soon. Of course as we strive for the dreams of interstellar travel it underscores the need for a planet whose temperatures stay
and it would be silly to exchange our own jewel of a world while dreaming of the promise of others.
Oh Jim also mentioned;.
"The human race was dying out
No one left to scream and shout.
Ship Of Fools Ship of Fools"
Quote for the day from me for October 18, 2012
"I like to think about the notion Mars once supported water and life to be more a wake-up call than a discovery"
PHILOSOPHY FOR THIS MONTH
A Fish Story for October 2012
Fish will shrink by 2025 because of warmer waters
AHHHH NO NOT THAT MUCH
but what fisherman worth his sea salt (and bragging rights) would tolerate a warmer planet?
read the article here
Quote of the day from me for September 30, 2012
"All the fish that got away
seemed so much bigger yesterday"
THOUGHT FOR LAST MONTH
HOW TO MAXIMIZE AVAILABLE TIME
HOW TO SLEEP WELL EVEN KNOWING WE ARE DOOMED
Anytime I have a little insomnia I often gaze up into the night sky, (often more pleasant if a friend or family member has come to visit). Somewhere between Pegasus and Cassiopeia it is easy to see a light fuzzy patch in the sky.
The longer you stare the easier it is to find.
You are looking at the largest object in the universe you can see with your naked eye...M32. It is that big because it isn't a star or a nebular. It is an entire Galaxy.
That is the good news. The bad news is :
It is coming straight at us.
I seemed to have known this since a child but, you know, it is a long way off, It may miss, many a slip between the cup and the lip and all that, but now...
We know and even worse, we know the time and date.
Collision in 4 billion years. Our sun will likely be cast further into space (being on one of the outward spiral arms of our own galaxy and die but not before the view of the sky at night will be a sight to behold.
On an astronomical scale barely a Little Bang, no Big Bang but certainly a few crackles.
In the meantime we do have a few other things to worry about.
how quickly are we altering our own planet in the blink of an eye in geological ( let alone astronomical) time?
Quote of the day from me for August 30, 2012
" An ant resting on a firecracker on the 4th of July need not ponder the fate of the universe"
THOUGHT FOR LAST MONTH
HOW TO CHARACTERIZE OUR CURRENT STEWARDSHIP OF PLANET EARTH??????
hmmmmmm let me see;
THE SWEET MUSIC OF PASTORAL SONG ?
THE STRAINS OF MUSICAL EXPRESSION THEME AND HARMONY?
NOT EXACTLY ...
HERE IS A CLUE... IT IS A FIDDLE
YES, we are all Nero fiddling as Rome burns.
One would have thought, as the recent months have unveiled the mysteries of the political future to us:
the new Republican challenger is Mitt Romney for the highest, most powerful office in the most powerful country in the entire world.
The items on the World Agenda for the future of humanity include:
The turmoil in Syria
Perils from Yemen
The Credit Default Swaps of banks gambling with your money
...we have barely a mention of Global Warming or the financial opportunities of the new renewable resources technologies...
instead the hot topics are:
facebook and gay marriage.
I am glad, however, to have our social networks and social equalities in order for our climactic climate.
Both sides of the political debate would be well advised to read the breathtaking research by RFF and Stanford University..... discussing "green" issues is not a political liability but a political benefit!!!
What is more WE are actually guilty of something Emperor Nero wouldn't even do.
Nero didn't fiddle as Rome burnt!
The fiddle had not even been invented as yet and the poor emperor was a victim of political propaganda.
Quote of the day from me for June 30, 2012
"Its OK to yell fire in a theater
when it is not the fiddle that's smokin'."
THOUGHT FOR LAST MONTH
LAW LESS LUCY ARRESTED!
The Warrior Princess inspired by the Rainbow Warrior and a deep and noble conviction, that someone has to do something about our heating up the planet, sacrificed her freedom, albeit momentarily, in resisting drilling in the pristine wilds of the Artic.
Lucy Lawless was arrested on board the Noble Discoverer, a Shell oil vessel docked in New Zealand.... which just goes to show that even as we continue to heat up the planet.....
...............both sides think they are noble.
Quote of the day from me for April 30, 2012
" Noble. by any other name would smell as sweet
in victory or defeat"
THOUGHT AS THE YEAR COMES TO AN END
AND WHAT A YEAR IT WAS PPPPHHHHEEEEEWWWWWWW
thank goodness that is over
BUT Just when you thought that was a year well behind us remember we are all a year closer to death and the planet has more greenhouse gasses than EVER before!!!!
Couldn't help a cheery close sorry Melting Worlders but really....
Let's just have a look at the climax to this year:
FIIIiiiiiiinnnnallly we have even the Americans AND the Chinese on board to address carbon emissions and.......................
the Canadian Geese fly away!
Canada pulled out of the Kyoto agreement.
Even China called the decision "preposterous."
Remember when the Southern States pulled out of that agreement what was it called
The United States
and the consequences...
The American Civil War
Now, arriving into 2012, where only the surface of the planet is at stake.
Consequences................................... wait for it ?????????????????????????????????
; somebody says to the Canadians You ARE BAD!
The REASON for pulling out of the Kyoto agreement according to Canada was that it was
That is SOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo FUNNY!
Canada's announcement was during the Durban Accords where the theme was:
every dollar invested in adaptation to climate change could save $60 in damages.
THOUGHT FOR LAST MONTH
Recently there have been MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE.
7 billion in fact .
Although we do not know exactly how many of us there are on this one planet there really are about 7 billion and let me show you how many that is.
I have a quest to meet all my fellow human beings and shake their welcoming hands.
"How do you do I am Gary" *handshake and smile*
This takes about a second if I speak quickly.
I am going to live to be 220 years old to meet all 7 Billion of you if I do absolutely nothing else.
What are the repercussions with regards climate change?
Interestingly not as much as you think.
The important factor here is individual carbon footprint.
Numbers alone do not make the difference. It is lifestyle and within which industrialized nation you live, that does.
Perhaps that is why China recently declared it would never allow its individual carbon foot print to be as high as the US!.
As populous Second World nations become more and more First World then...we have a problem (as if we didn't already).
PHILOSOPHY FOR LAST WEEK
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY
Recently there have been several major developments in the climate change field:
Royal Navy Rear Adm. Neil Morisetti told students and faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology that global climate change threats to food, water, land and energy will present substantive security challenges in regions of the world where there are already stresses.
"Those climate stress multipliers are increasing the threat of armed conflict around the world," Morisetti said.
Do we not entrust our nation and the lives of our young men and women to the military and civilian leadership? Should we not listen to a rear admiral?
The DuPuy Institute for military research has been mentioning basically the same thing quietly for years
Why only just the other day a new study blamed Global Warming for shrinking new species... to say nothing of the warnings of more than 90 percent of scientists in this field so it came as quite a surprise to me recently when a friend said "the jury is still out."
Which jury would this be my dear and how long should mankind be sitting idly and awaiting?
THOUGHT FOR PREVIOUS MONTH
bubble as in credit bubble
toil and trouble as in what we are all left with.....
...and what a fine time to consider the last summer, now the awful heat has eased, and those extraordinary record breaking temperatures!.
As the hot summer of 2011 actually rewrites the history books here are some things to consider:
for those of you hardened witches and warlocks who are unimpressed with this kind of weather, a map;
NOAA the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just drawn to our attention that Texas has just experienced the hottest summer for any state in the US ever.
Oklahoma came in second with both states beating records set in the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930s!!!
How cool is that?
THOUGHT FOR SEPTEMBER
We remember 9-11. On this 10th commemorative, like so many other days since, it is hard to forget. ..to say nothing of the consequences.
Hypothetically, in a future world fraught with hostile and changing climate where civilization is less secure and less stable are acts of terrorism more or less likely to occur?
PHILOSOPHY FOR THIS WEEK
Ever wanted to read one short piece which contains all the secrets of the Universe?
...one simple straightforward document (with pictures) that clarified all those confusing thoughts you have been having?
Wait for it!!!!! Here it is....live and on location in New Zealand.
The Big Picture
There are two very important things this institution teaches you:
1, to learn how to learn.
This leads to life long discovery.
2 critical thinking.
This is so you will not go through life easily duped, swayed by every advertisement or slogan and susceptible to propaganda.
You are constantly bombarded by money and power, financial and political agenda.
Your critical thinking is your anchor in this storm and your protection..
For example: Has anyone ever asked you;
“Do you believe in Global Warming?”
There is no place for the word “belief” in Science. “Belief may belong in religion or opinion or myth but there is no place for it in Science. Global Warming is an established fact.
There was some debate in the 1960’s. Mostly disinterest but this is an unsettling thought to civilization, to say nothing of powerful energy and finance companies. As the evidence has become overwhelming “the deniers” have largely shifted their position from “Global Warming is not happening” to
“Global Warming is happening but IT IS NOT US…. It is something else… something natural.”
Of course, in a sense, everything is natural, including us.
Failing to come up with evidence and science to support this claim has lead to all sorts of their bizarre theories such as Sunspots and the like. If we travel beyond Science we are in the realms of Magic.
There is no place for personalization in Science.
This issue is not about Al Gore. I have met Al Gore I find him a very honorable man. He was Vice President and was voted President of the United States but it doesn’t matter what any individual thinks, how passionate or how convincing they speak. It doesn’t matter what I say. All that matters is the science behind the words:
Our atmosphere did not come with the planet.
It is easy to think it all came as a complete package. We look up and see the big blue sky stretching into infinity but it is an illusion created by the atmosphere scattering light in the visible spectrum.
Climb a mountain and it is colder because the air is thinner… go any higher and you are going to need oxygen. You can travel for thousands of miles around the earth but you don’t have to travel very far straight up to be in space.
The atmosphere is a thin veneer around a huge Earth and its composition has been changed by the evolution of life itself.
The Early flora created the O2 in the atmosphere and with a preponderance of flora and high O2 levels in the Carboniferous Epoch arthropods grew to be huge with some insects measuring feet across and with lightning storms that literally exploded.
Climate Change is the way in which we divide the Geological Time of the Earth into Epochs. You have probably heard of some of these:
Mesozoic, Cambrian, Cretaceous, Jurassic?
Catastrophic changes in Climate and atmospheric composition and mass extinction actually divide eras of time relatively stable over thousands and sometimes millions of years.
These catastrophic events are often linked to an extra terrestrial event (Yes, a UFO as I am sure they were not correctly identified at the time) or catastrophic volcanism.
We have one of these changes now on planet Earth: temperature change, mass extinction and a change in atmospheric composition but where is our extra terrestrial event?! Furthermore this is happening in only one human lifetime, not even a blink of the Earth’s eye.
We haven’t been hit by a comet so what can this catastrophe be?
Perhaps it is a species that has changed the topography over the entire inhabited land surface?
The Milankovitch Cycles the natural cycles that largely determine glaciation and global temperature places us 6,000 years along a cooling period which should continue for another 23,000 years and yet we are warming!
Incidentally I enjoy coming to enlightened schools like this one where I do not need to also explain evolution and that the earth is older than the biblical 4,000 years.
Here is something to ponder. Given that nearly every religion is based, in some way, on the natural world, how would religion be changed by a hostile changing climate?
Now we are living in a new era. We have global temperatures measured from space by NASA. The Earth is surrounded by a haze of satellites.
We have measured CO2 pouring into our atmosphere and it has been carbon dated. It is OLD carbon as in Fossil old, as in Fossil Fuels, as in us. We are responsible for pouring trillions of tons of CO2 into our thin veneer of an atmosphere.
Furthermore SCRIPPS Oceanic Research has measured a corresponding decrease in the amount of atmospheric O2.
It is a scientific fact that CO2 and other greenhouse gases absorb long wavelength electromagnetic radiation. They keep heat in. If we take a broader look we see the Earth in space with two neighbors orbiting the same order of distance from the Sun. Both planets are dead worlds. Venus, our sister planet, you would expect to have a climate not too different to the Earth and yet temperatures there melt lead!
Why? Because the greenhouse gases of methane and CO2 trap the Sun’s heat energy.
On the other side of us is the barren and cold Mars.
Mars did have liquid water, an atmosphere and life but the loss of its atmosphere diminished all three.
The moon, we know now, has water but among these celestial bodies we are the only beautiful, blue jewel of life. If we are changing that AT ALL we can upset the natural balance.
Here is the most absurd and difficult thing the deniers are asking us to BELIEVE and they want us to believe this without any supporting evidence to their claim that:
‘”we can pour trillions of tons of CO2 into our thin veneer of an atmosphere and it will do NOTHING WHATSOEVER.”
Changes in the atmosphere are nothing compared to changes in our mighty oceans.
We are an ocean planet our weather comes from the oceans, life came from the oceans and the surface layer is measurably warmer.
CO2, when it dissolves in water, becomes carbonic acid, H2CO3. The more CO2 the more acidic and the less alkaline the oceans become. Very low on the food chain, supporting all those above, are delicate creatures that flourish or die depending upon Ph.
For example; take any quiet stream. Just by changing Nitrogen levels a few parts per million kills many delicate organisms.
You may have heard “we don’t have to worry about ice melting in water as the water level will not change”…. but what about ice on land, like Greenland for example? Or glaciers melting all over the world, ice thousands of years old thinning. The loss of aldedo; all that white no longer bouncing the Sun’s heat back into space.
All this has a direct effect on us. E.g.; There are billions of people at risk should the Tibetan glaciers, the source of the mighty Ganges in India and the Mekong and Yellow rivers of China, continue to shrink.
You have heard Al Gore’s graph shows global temperatures preceding CO2 levels and not following them.
This can not be determined from that graph. The graph is at an angle. There is error within every date, within all experimental data. Sometimes temperature appears to precede others times to follow.
All that can be said is that the graph shows is a definite correlation between CO2 levels and temperature.
If you would like to view graphs a few seconds search will show you increases in atmospheric CO2 levels since Industrialization, but dramatically since the 1960s. CO2 levels have even increased further since Al Gore's graph.
Now back to the Big Bang
Not long ago, about 13 billion years, the Universe began. That is not a lot of time when you consider that 4 billion years ago the Earth formed and life evolved 2 billion years later. Every molecule in you and me and all around us had to come from another star that had lived and died before us.
The Sun has only Hydrogen and Helium. We are made of heavier elements, the products of a nova, a stellar explosion.
So about 13 billion years ago our universe began and had been expanding ever since so the obvious question was will this expansion continue or will the gravity of matter in the universe slow this expansion and the universe finally crush back in on itself?
Just as we discovered there was enough matter in the universe to slow down this expansion we also discovered the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate! What is this but the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.
Einstein was trying to find one equation that defined the laws of the entire Universe. It was thought that magnetism and electricity were separate forces but they are part of the same force; the Electromagnetic force. This force in turn combines with the nuclear weak force at high energy. So scientists thought there may be an equation that would unify all laws and String Theory was created to unify these laws for the very small, Quantum Mechanics, to the very large in Cosmology.
String Theory mathematically proposed new dimensions to explain why gravity is so weak. One little magnet can defy the entire gravitational pull of the Earth! This lead to an understanding that our universe is attached to a three dimensional membrane or 3brane. Gravity, the theory explains, not attached to this membrane, dissipates into the other dimensions…not only other dimensions but other universes and that we are one of a Multiverse of universes with different physical laws.
It was discovered our universe has a Cosmological Constant. It seems almost perfect and allows matter to exist but with only a little change to this constant, matter, (stars, galaxies and therefore us,) does not form at all.
But of course it is perfect. We are looking at it. We exist and are here to perceive this constant.
Here is an analogy to ponder; A golfer hits the ball onto a huge green. There is nothing special or preordained in that from the golfer’s perspective, but from the one blade of grass’s perspective, hit by the ball, it is a miracle of chance and physics.
Wait for it:
A current cosmological understanding of the universe is the Anthropic Principle. We exist and so our universe had to have the correct Cosmological Constant for us TO exist.
In a way we are the consciousness of the Universe.
Man now can be found even in the cold, dispassionate understanding of Physics just as our species has created the Anthropocene; our current era in Geological Time.
We evolved in the last moments of Geological Time and our existence is very fragile. Our present and future is determined almost solely thorough the civilization we have constructed.
Civilizations work the opposite way you would expect. We tend to personalize everything even countries and give them human characteristics but in fact an individual behaves differently to a mob, a tribe and a country.
We, as individuals, have the luxury of choosing to be happy. To be glad of what we have, appreciate it and be content. We may not but we have that option. Countries do not. They must always expand and take another’s resources. It is part of their 5,000 year design, much like a company. Countries expand and the thousands of years of wars and causes of conflict no longer seem such a mystery.
Humans have compassion. The first reaction to seeing your neighbor injured on the side of the road is compassion, to help. When a country’s neighbor falters the reaction is to “expand into the vacuum”, divide it up and take its resources.
In fact most wars throughout history are fought against neighbors and people the same. It is only relatively recently, through naval power, that we have been able to go to war with people who are different.
For your Global Perspectives question ponder: Why is New Zealand here?
Two events made the British colonization of New Zealand possible:
The loss of the Spanish Armada (mostly accomplished by the weather)
and The Battle of Trafalgar.
All empires fall. We have developed a flawed system. This should not come as a shock. Furthermore we think the leader runs the country but actually the country runs the leader.
Ponder this: take out every name in the history books so those people never existed and surprisingly history would be basically the same. Other that hearing slightly different music all the technology would be the same as would the collisions between nations simply because of these underlying principles we seem powerless to control.
I will leave you with a pressing Climate Change and energy dilemma I would like you to solve for me:
The well-meaning Green Party and the nuclear crisis in Japan have done away with Nuclear Power’s future in both Germany and Italy, with other countries likely to follow.
Nuclear Power does not create CO2 but currently we have no alternative primary, high energy fuel source. Nuclear power is far from perfect but we need a short term solution now before alternatives can be effective.
We could not run a 900 Gigawatt civilization like the US on wind and solar power. Solar power is a finite resource per square meter. Panels would be the size of cities or larger to run cities and they themselves create ecological problems to say nothing of the loss of albedo from the panels themselves.
Even the advanced solar powered Prius requires 8 hours standing in the sun to drive 30 or so miles down the road.
What are we going to do? It may well be up to you.
It has been a pleasure speaking with you on science and superstition and I will be happy to send the student concerned about the end of the world in 2012 an email after 2012.
THOUGHT FOR LAST MONTH
The August Heat in Washington, DC
No one can dispute the importance of a AAA credit rating in assisting any country combating Climate Change... or anything else for that matter.
What is wrong with this picture?
Yes, Palms and Snow!... currently typical throughout the country of New Zealand,
which is, of course, quite atypical.
Shades of Gray and Blue
150 years after the event
with a cast, literally, of thousands
and nothing like it since the Circus Maximus of Rome....
the 150th , the Sesquicentennial reenactment, of the Battle of Bull Run at Manassas.
Quite the spectacle with pageantry, the cacophony of sound and sight, the magnificent authenticity and dedication of the thousands of reenactors.
The history books are replete with the strategy and tactics of this battle: the spectators from Washington, DC awaiting the easy victory, caught in the chaos of the rout.
Stonewall Jackson standing .. well like a stone wall.
The human tragedy and misery and loss of such young life.
(It really wasn't much fun at all.)
Those wool uniforms! There is the thing. Such a lot is made of the inadequate uniforms of this battle. Not only the many colors:
the non uniform uniform
the bright red Zouaves on both sides
even the opposing flags were similar
original Confederate flag contemporary Union flag
some confederates wore blue so who was who?
...and there again there were those cosy, wool uniforms in the middle of such a sweltering day. Much is made of that.
So, just how hot was it ?
In 1861 .... battle 81 degrees F
Today .......battle 100 degrees F with a heat index of up to 110 (high humidity and moisture in the air.)
...and just when you were wondering how this was ever going to relate to climate change, but, as we all know, one point on a graph means little. Is there currently unusual weather in many places?
Funny you should ask:
Many generations of New Zealanders grew up without ever seeing or touching snow. Certainly there was snow on the mountains in winter and maybe an occasional dusting in Dunedin, or the deep south, but not every child got to travel there.
Now there is snow everywhere!
That is also more moisture in the air. There is more moisture in some places on the Earth and less in others, like Somalia where, in the civil war and famine ravaged country, rains have failed for two consecutive seasons. The effects of climate change can be even more brutal and deadly than a civil war.
PHILOSOPHY FOR PREVIOUS WEEK
A Confederate Civil War submarine
The first submarine in human history to sink an enemy ship
Discovered by marine archaeology and returned to Charleston Harbor after one and a half centuries
I am sure you are starting to wonder what this has to do with Global Warming?
The Hunley set out with its crew of eight crammed into the metal cylinder of a cold forbidding hull on a winter's night, February 14, 1864, knowing full well the disastrous fate of two previous crews.
Each man had to push a crankshaft to propel the ship forward.
I looked down 150 years later through the ridiculously small hatch realizing how difficult for me it would be to even enter the compartment let alone leave it. Yet one of the crew was tall, 6'1''. They were all incredibly brave.
There were many theories for over a century as to why the submarine did not return after sinking the Union ship Housatonic. All were thought drowned but now it seems the compartment remained intact and the crew succumbed to lack of oxygen and high levels of CO2.
The return of the ship to Charleston harbor all these years later was as if the crew had finally completed their mission by returning home.
Had they surfaced and breathed today's air they would be breathing an atmosphere of a different composition to the air of the Civil War.
Ironically they would find an atmosphere lower in O2 and higher in CO2 than they had left.
In fact the last time atmospheric CO2 levels were this high there were no humans yet evolved on the Earth.
Weather and Climate
Many people do struggle with this difference.
An early evening in delightful Charleston, South Carolina
"It used to be" said the distinguished southern gentleman as he reminisced " that this time of year our hot Charleston days would be cooled in the early evening with a gentle rain, but now, we have instead violent thunderstorms every evening at this time. I spend my evenings in the closet working on my crosswords.!"
Meanwhile thousands and thousands of miles and another hemisphere away, in New Zealand, my elderly mother told me a similar story " Violent thunderstorms with forked lightning and loud crashes I have never heard before in this country!"
No one weather event can be linked to climate change. Think of this as one point of data on a graph or one number in a statistical correlation.
One excited atom decays and an alpha partcle strikes a geiger counter but the level of radioactivity depends upon what all the other atoms are doing, over time.....
i.e. we need all the data.
This is reflected is those who would herald an ice age a winter or two ago after our northern hemisphere blizzard.
For there to be a change in climate we must consider longer time periods and consistently record breaking weather.....hmmm wait a minute that DOES sound strangely familiar.
For record breaking weather link here:
THOUGHT FOR PREVIOUS WEEKS
A way down South
Public Fountain Augusta, Georgia
Having returned from the Southern States, the land of cotton, away, away and 1,500 miles wiser, it is time to reflect upon the enchanting Spanish moss of Charleston, the green of Georgia, temperature, and the difference between weather and climate.
Ever noticed one is not only suffocatingly hot there but also frigidly cold. The cold immersion treatment comes from the overuse of air conditioning.
Luckily I always carry winter clothing on my summer trips!
Of course returning home I discovered...... it was just the same and is probably the same through out the entire country's heat wave.
I bet those wise people over at The Global Concern could calculate just how much money, resources, energy and carbon pollution just 1 degree difference would save this country! Imagine every building, every Safeway, Giant, Taco Bell, CVS, Wall Mart, Piggely Wiggely saving us 1 unnecessary degree every day. It would be a fortune.
US ubiquitous franchises could challenge each other to their savings and the wise American public could support such courtesy.
In a very real way we do belong to one planet and people in many countries poorer than us are sacrificing to save us all power... not so we can be extra cold in the summer.
THOUGHTS FOR PREVIOUS WEEKS
Mount Taranaki New Zealand
The vicissitudes of a single volcano continue to hamper air travel in Australia. The orange ash glow can be seen above Mt Taranaki in New Zealand. ...but wait a minute
...that is the wrong volcano and the wrong two countries.
The eruption was in Chile!
What is more, there is an ocean in the way.
If there was ever an example of how thin and connected our atmosphere is, this has to be it.
Be mindful we can see the ash but the trillions of tons of CO2 we pour in are invisible.
Climb a small mountain and the air is thin, any higher you need oxygen. That is our thin veneer of an atmosphere.
Enough to make you gasp ... and when you did gasp, realizing we are also all dependent upon this one atmosphere, you breathed in molecules from Julius Caesar's last breath.
THOUGHT TO PONDER
Melting World has good news and bad news, firstly:
The Bad News
With the on-going wildfires in Arizona, the largest ever recorded in that state, we are witnessing both a political and a chemical reaction.
The chemical reaction of carbon, in the form of cellulose, carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, being returned to the atmosphere forming CO2 and thereby diminishing our Carbon Sink.... and a political reaction of;
Who can we blame?
This would be a little like blaming WWI on some Serbian Nationalist assassinating Arch Duke Ferdinand and the resultant deaths of countless millions of people.
O that is the history, I forgot.
Perhaps we should pay more attention to the conditions and hundreds of years of flames of wars over who would dominate Europe and less to a particular spark and
... thereby also gain an insight into forest fires.
The Good News
This should remind us that this chemical reaction can be reversed. Yes, atmospheric CO2 can be sequestered into a carbon sink. Trees perform this task for free and planetary conditions would be improved by Reforestation.
Sunspots, Firestorm and Volcano
The Passion of the Play
THOUGHTS FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS
HOW MANY GRANDFATHERS AGO DO WE NEED TO GO
TO PREDATE THE CAR?
Uncharacteristically for those days, both my grandfather (back row, far right) and my mother
...had children late in life, so the answer for me is;
One grandfather ago is not even the blink of an eye in geological terms.
In the space of only one grandfather we can return to the horseless carriage of a childhood spent in KawaKawa, New Zealand. Predate flight, air conditioning and massive global industrialization.
He returned milk bottles to the milkman, fizzy drink bottles and beer bottles to the store and received money for them. They were recycled. Granddad mostly walked everywhere locally and effortless even through his long life into his 90s, my grandmother into her 100s.
She, like all families, dried the family washing on clothes line, an effective use of wind and solar power in action! (Contrasting the massive energy consumption of the 220 volt electric dryer running through our summer sunny days.)
They drank fresh water from the tap and did not pay for it to be flown from a stream a world away and bottled. Listened to a radio and later one small screen TV to be entertained and informed….
...and they did not even know what a carbon footprint was!
THOUGHT FOR PAST WEEK
Sunny June has come to our Northern Hemisphere so let's expand on the often heard theme "we are powerless to do anything against the powerful forces of nature."
Raft of the Medusa by Gericault, Louvre
In fact we are having a great success against nature. Why new data suggests the deforestation of the Brazillian Amazon has increased nearly 6 fold!
Those satellites are just so...revealing.
This reminds me of another recent, true story, about a boy called Felix.
Felix began his reforestation organization called Plant for the Planet in the 4th grade.
The young Felix actually addressed the United Nations General Assembly and said:
"We children understand that the adults know everything about these crises, but we childlren don't understand why there is so little action."
Smacks of the Emperor's Clothes to me, and after you adults have finished explaining this to the children perhaps you could explain it to me too please.
THOUGHT FOR LAST MONTH (Our past gems found on the Forum Page)
The World did not end on Saturday
Is this not remarkable?: with only a few facts tied together, with a few natural disasters mixed up with a great deal of superstition, viola;
Meanwhile: Scientific data, natural disasters, global warming temperatures, increased CO2, voila;
"We have nothing to worry about"
THOUGHT FROM PREVIOUS MONTHS
A visit to NASA...
to the Goddard Space Center...
to voyages beyond our Solar System...
to where no one has gone before...
...at a time where we, as a nation, are dealing with the historical Mississippi floods (unlike the Australians we do not refer to our floods as Biblical, I wonder why) and, at a time when we often hear "it is Mother Nature and there is nothing we can do about her!" I visited NASA, the home of Earth Observing Missions.
THOUGHTS FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS
Recently I had the pleasure of accompanying my son on a school field trip to a stream.
With great care and glee the children took measurements and notes of the wondrous science present in even a quiet brook.
Later on in life, as scientists and many empirical studies later, the joy of each measurement can fade but each student took in the delightful awe of discovery in each singular measurement.
What struck me was how naturally sensitive a stream can be. For example even the change of a few parts per million of Nitrogen in the water can mean life or death for many animals and microorganisms.
We have increased the CO2 in our atmosphere by nearly a hundred parts per million and there are still those amongst us that believe it will have absolutely no effect whatsoever.
Such is nature that she can even send us wisdom in a stream.
With hundreds dead and devastation through several southern states the US suffers the deadly effects of a record breaking tornado season.
Just as well we are not heating up the planet or things could get really serious.
What is remarkable is often the resistance to the costs incurred dealing preventably with climate change.
Just a cursory look will tell you costs, including irreplaceable life, we are already incurring before a 1 or 2 degree temperature increase.
The Earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, followed by the horrendous Tsunami, should underscore at least one thing to us:
We, and our civilization, are fragile. These are only the mild forces of the Earth why should we feel confident that exacerbating the force of the Sun and its effect on us will somehow turn out better?
THOUGHT (Our past gems found on the Forum Page)
Could a Nuclear War mitigate the effects of Global Warming?
This article considered the possibilites of perhaps only a small, limited Nuclear War and its potential beneficial effects on Global Warming....now, after only a taste of a far away nuclear situation.... any other bright ideas?
THOUGHTS OF JAPAN
Amid the catastrophe and tragedy in Japan extremely brave management and workers are risking their lives in a battle with nuclear forces that may well determine Mankind's future:
Despite the safety and ubiquity of nuclear plants, these colossal forces required to compromise them, the age of these plants, even the dissimilarity with Chernobyl, public opinion may well shy us away from nuclear power in the near future just when we do not have a high energy alternative to coal and oil.
We hear a great deal about the role of electronic communication, Wikileaks and social media in the widespread unrest in the Middle East but there is another very real factor. Add this ingredient to the many justified grievances and you have an explosive situation.
Global Food Prices are at Record Highs !
The last peak like this occurred in 2008 and created riots around the globe.
This is a reminder of how fragile our ecosystem and financial systems really are. We would do well to consider the effects from even minor changes.
It is important how we deal with issues collectively. If the best we can do for a man who clearly needs help is to be entertained.
Then we, as a nation, are in a great deal more trouble even than Charlie Sheen.
Never Anger An Amazon
The fascinating thing about the Amazon, a major carbon sink for the planet, is that ...
...in drought years, the Amazon region changes from being a net absorber of carbon dioxide into a net emitter.
The 2005 drought had been termed a "one in a century" event.
Researchers report in the journal Science that the 2010 drought was more widespread than in 2005 - the last big one - with more trees probably lost.
Last year's drought in the Amazon raises concerns about the region's capacity to continue absorbing carbon dioxide, scientists say.
You know it is always wise to have an Amazon on your side.
PHILOSOPHY FOR THE YEAR
If you are so sure you cannot fix the world.... then just fix what you can.
Just like an episode of Star Trek or the Outer Limits NASA scientists discover thuderstorms can blast anti-mater into space.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy"......that would also include future sources of fuel.
JUST LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN DO IF WE WORK TOGETHER AS A WORLD
A few scientists in the U.K. may have misrepresented their climate change data... so this means to you global warming is a fallacy even as the glaciers continue to melt into the oceans? Even after all the money your parents have spent on your education?
Breaking news: Piltdown Man was a fake. In 1912 someone combined the jawbone of an orangutan with modern human skull fragments and voila; a fake evolutionary missing link!.. Had everyone going for a while there, too! (more than 40 years)
So... does the Piltdown Man episode prove there is no such thing as evolution, now?
Yet that is the same logic some are applying. They might as well claim;
PILTDOWN MAN PROVES THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING
Consider the platypus while you ponder that conundrum.
Here is an example where you can even have the body and people won't believe you! Yes, the playpus not only exists it can sting you and hurt. So, too can climate change.
The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal --the platypus--baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud perpetrated by practical jokers in Australia.
Read Crisis in the Gulf of Mexico our solution for the cap happened to be the one chosen
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