Climate Arrangement
By R. D. Flavin

11-28-2014


Ice Age Cycles

     Yeah, it's getting warmer, but the actual reasons are not commonly known (with some still unknown). Man-made? Cow farts? Cutting down the rain forests? Sure, but the climate arrangement we have with Mom Terra is both complex and ...sort of one-sided. It's a provision we have which sort of works, most of the time, though OUR contribution/culpability extends just a questionable tad more than it should. We're a carbon-based by-product of Earth. Of course, so are worms, but we have better taste in shoes...


Carbon in all its geeky glory.

     We drink water, eat food, and breathe Earth's atmosphere, commonly referred to as 'air' (Anglo-Norman and Old French aire < Latin āēr < Greek ἀέρα), a combination of gases generally consisting of about 80% nitrogen, around 21% oxygen, a smidgen below 1% argon, some .039% carbon dioxide, with trace amounts of other odd and nearly negligible gases. Sure, most of us believe in the forced priority of oxygen, though it's essential, ol' nitrogen seems to be the high roller at the table. Yet, carbon seems to hold the keys to life in the past, present, and our future.

     Among the prime chemicals which constitute carbon-based molecules are nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Some speculate such arrived on Earth from meteorites, though the debate is only now just beginning in earnest. At roughly four and a half billion years old, Mom Terra has undergone many changes and by all accounts and predictions she's far from through with playing global feng shui. Climatologists put us presently in the Holocene interglacial (we shan't mention the “Little Ice Age” ca. 1250-1850 CE) and our fears of 'global warming' appear correct, though the exact mechanisms escape us. Basically, it's all rather complicated.


The 1791 burning of the Albion Flour Mill (Blake's "dark Satanic Mills").

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land

     Many still hold that it was the start of the so-called Industrial Revolution, though recently a quasi-consensus lays the blame at the feet of burning fossil fuels. Well, most certainly, such activity hasn't helped our planet, but water pollution, deforestation, and company farming must also share in the blame. I'll admit that bovine flatulence grabbed my attention for a bit, though my concerns now include nitrogen levels being increased for greater crop yields ...and then diffusing into the air and water at alarming rates. We need new ideas and soon...

     Recently NASA launched a satellite (observatory) to study Earth's carbon, the collective carbon basins known as “sinks” located around the world and perhaps understand the what, where, and why so perhaps something may be done to help us out of our polluted predicament. Large, really large deposits of carbon dioxide from a variety of sources are stored by a process known as carbon sequestration and may be Mom Terra's way of combating global warming and the accumulation of 'greenhouse gases'. As they say, the more you know...


NASA's OCO-2 carbon tracking satellite.

     We should do what we can and not what we can get away with. However, in this mysterious universe it's pure guesswork distinguishing between the possible, the probable, the impossible, and what is avoidable and ...what's inevitable. All we can do is our best ...and try and not watch too many reruns of Law and Order. We probably won't have the tech to go off-world (other than a colony on Luna and/Mars) for a couple of centuries, so we should do our damnedest to preserve this water-world home of ours. We should all agree on that...

SMILE!

Space Migration plus Increased Intelligence equals Life Extension (T. Leary, 1977).

I'll take my charcoal medium-rare, thank you,
Rick

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