Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Global Warming

A lot of conservatives deny it exists. I don't. Global warming is occurring. It's probably a part of a regular cycle, so I don't think it's cause for concern, since it will cycle back again at some point. I do think that humanity has a fractional role in global warming, but I don't know that it's the doom that so many people think it is.

Man has been effecting the planet in fantastic ways since we were created. Sometimes willingly (like the disastrous "ecological planning" of Yosemite, which almost destroyed it) but most often unwittingly, which often has positive effects.

Consider the earthworm, for example. Worms are not indigenous to the Americas. The native Americans didn't have any worms before 1750, and it was one reason the Indians didn't invent the wheel. The Americas were heavily forested, and without worms, the detritus on the forest ground was over two feet thick. Wet, dead leaves, logs and branches were piled high everywhere that wasn't cleared out for a village. Wheels were impractical.

The the Jamestown colony came and with it eventually came ships to pick up tobacco. Now, you can't bring an empty ship over and then fill it with cargo, you need ballast. So in France and Spain they filled the ships with dirt, and since they didn't bother to sift the dirt, they also shipped over earthworms. Once in America, they offloaded the dirt and reloaded with devil weed.

Within a year, the forests of New England and eventually all of America had naked floors. Earthworms processed the two to three feet drifts of detritus back into dirt, creating more usable land and the introduction of the wheel. Both Americas were transformed into a completely different environment within ten years.

All because of accidental worm distribution. And the impact of thoughtless humanity.

Further, there were less than a dozen indigenous animals in the Americas. Most of the critters Felicity so loves weren't here before Europeans came over.


Anonymous said...

I love to read your thoughts, but don't you have work to do? ;)

Rob said...

Well, yeah... but this is more fun...