Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Science is Settled

No, the title of this blog is not intended as "click bait". In January of 2014, our own President Obama declared that the debate over climate change was settled: "Climate change is a fact."

The purpose of this particular post is not to argue for or against man-made climate change. I've done that before. What I'm hoping to convey is how important mankind may or may not be, and the impact - or lack thereof - mankind has upon the world around him.

(I follow the old-school grammar of using "he" and "him" when referencing humankind in general. I don't mean to come off as sexist. Women fit in the generalizations I will be addressing just as much.)

I was reading an article recently that was discussing man-made earthquakes. What? Really? Yes. Really. The article referenced such things as the Hoover Dam (the water pressure), years of oil and natural gas extraction, and the recent hot topic of fracking, as being influential if not directly the cause of earthquakes. Various studies have taken place over decades, with mounds and mounds of data collected concerning seismic activity. And you know what? With all of the data, with all of the experts, the decision was made: Actually, there has been no decision. There are those on both sides using the same data to make their argument. The science is NOT settled.

Of course, with climate change, with much more data from many more sources, the science is settled. At least that is what Climatologist Barack Obama said. And he's not alone. In the recent Paris Climate Summit, a bunch of climatologists (a.k.a. "politicians") got together and said that man-made climate change was settled science, and made an agreement that hopes to aggressively curb the hotbed that the earth has become (sarcasm font).

What do earthquakes and climate have in common? Man's impact - or lack thereof.

On one hand Friedrich Nietzsche stated that "God is Dead". On the other Shirley MacLaine stated that "I am God." Right there is the rub: we want a world without God, so we can sit on the throne AS God. But is that possible?

My fear is not necessarily that we create earthquakes or climate change by our actions. My fear is that our actions to fix things cause more harm because unlike God, our vision is very short-sighted and we miss the long-term impact of the things we do.

I could talk about windmills and their impact upon birds, or solar panels and the amount of reflected light/heat that may be warming the atmosphere, but I'm not. I'm going to give you a little story from my home state of Ohio:

We have a lot of deer here. A lot. I've heard that it is because of all the housing and business development that the deer have been driven from their areas and now are all over the place. That may have something to do with it, but not entirely. The other reason for the deer population growth is deer population growth. For example: for two years in a row we had two fawns in either our yard or our next-door neighbor's yard. Below are pictures of three of them:

That's four additional deer in two years. My neighbor, who (along with one of his kids) is a hunter, has bagged around one a year. That means there are two more deer running around here than originally (not including the parents still running around). I know there are other hunters, but with the limits on where you can hunt (my neighborhood is off-limits, and the deer apparently KNOW that!) and the number you can actually kill, the population is exploding.

So what did the wise leaders in Ohio do? They changed the hunting laws? Nope! Not humane enough. They brought in a natural predator: coyotes.

Let's see how well that worked out.

The coyotes have NO natural predator in Ohio thinning them out. So, we are now overrun with coyotes (see my blog). But at least the deer have been thinned out, right? Nope! The coyotes would rather go after cats and small dogs than after big deer that run too fast. So now we have both: deer AND coyotes.

When it comes to man-made climate change, the thing that scares me more than the loss of oceanfront property is the damage that man MAY do by trying to fix it.

Well, at least one thing removes my fear: the science is settled.

© Emittravel 2015

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