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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
Global Moderation?Posted Friday, April 25, 2008, at 4:37 PM
Well, whatever it is I'm all for it! After all it's getting cold outside again and except for our whole week of spring weather, it's been a very cold and wet winter. And last winter was too.
In fact, this winter and last winter remind me a lot of the kind of winters we had when I was growing up.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to get into a big debate as to whether or not Global Warming is a true phenomenon. I'm not a scientist and I haven't viewed the movie "Inconvenient Truth".
But I have to think of my 78-year-old father's comment the other night. "How can they predict what's going to happen in 30 years, when they can't even predict correctly what the weather is going to do tommorrow?"
He has a point.
Now, I certainly think we can all do better in our own lives with pollution, and trying to be "environmentally responsible." And if the fear of Global Warming gets people to do that, then I think that is great.
But ever since I started hearing about Global Warming, I couldn't help but think about what we were taught in school, just 30 years ago.
You see, back then, our teachers told us we were about to go into the "Next Ice Age."
In fact, according to a 1974 article in Time Magazine titled "Another Ice Age," they wrote "When meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing."
The story goes on to talk about the recent rash of bad weather, tornadoes, floods, etc. all over the world. Sound familiar?
Also in the 1970's there was an energy crisis as well. I think then gas prices topped $1 and people went through the roof. Doesn't $1 gas sound good now?
At that time, the government passed all kinds of initiatives calling for new energy sources. They even said we'd have hydrogen-powered cars by 1990. Obviously that hasn't happened.
That is when foreign manufacturers started taking over from the "Big 3" automakers. Those companies offered small, fuel efficient cars and U.S. manufacturers didn't. At that time people, just like now, started talking about fuel economy. Carmakers promised - and delivered (for awhile) - smaller cars. That's when we first started hearing about ethanol. The speed limits were lowered to 55 mph to save gasoline and lives.
Water shortages were a problem then too. I had a t-shirt that said, "Save Water, Bathe with a Friend." It looked great with my bell-bottoms!
And remember, solar houses. They were going to be the house of the future. Now how many are built?
It amazes me that when I tell my kids and other young people about the energy crisis of the 1970's, they think it's a joke. They can't believe we've been through it before. They also can't believe we didn't solve the problem then.
Our attention span as a nation is very short. In the late 1970's, gas and energy prices stabilized and we went on to other problems like disco, Prince and Michael Jackson.
Yes, we forgot.
Then out came mini-vans, that wonderful invention we all had to have. When they became "too bland" we switched to SUV's and their 13 miles per gallon. Trucks and SUV's rule the road now and cars are an after-thought. And very few people have 4-cylinder cars anymore. Hydrogen cars? Well now we're talking about those again. Ethanol is back (or maybe it never left), bigger than ever, and even though old statistics are still sometimes quoted; it is energy positive at a ratio of 1.67 to 1. It is helping, even lowering local prices five cents a gallon when Missouri's 10% ethanol mandate went into place. Of course, we are 30 percent more dependent on energy than we were then. We talk about cellulosic ethanol, but like hydrogen that too is still just a concept.
Hopefully, this time we'll wise up.
Whether it is global warming or global cooling, we could all do better in saving energy, water and other natural resources.
On the farm, I think we have done better. Some by choice, some by necessity. Biotechnology and other advances have made it possible to raise more crops with less tillage, which means fewer trips across the field saving fuel. This also saves soil. Gone are the days, where farmers plow up every inch of ground. Conservation programs have meant that most farmland is terraced, and soil erosion is down considerably. So much so that the Corps of Engineers dumped 5.4 million tons of soil into the Missouri River last year. They said the Missouri wasn't muddy enough for the endangered pallid sturgeon!
On our farm we use biodiesel and 10 percent ethanol, which decrease carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases. Hey, I even bought those "curly" light bulbs! Of course we could do better. We all could.
Anyway, as far as Global Warming goes, I hope it isn't true. I also hope Global Cooling isn't true. In fact, I'm for Global Moderation!
But just in case, let's have a little bit longer attention span this time. It certainly can't hurt.
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