In the 1960s, scientists debated whether the Earth---our home, in orbit around a run-of-the mill star we call the Sun---would cool down or heat up as a result of pollution.
Each side had facts in common upon which they relied. "Greenhouse gases"---primarily gases that resulted from human-made pollution---act to reflect light and heat. The scientists on the "cool" side theorized pollution would prevent penetration of sunlight and heat through the atmosphere and we would end up cold. Scientists on the "hot" side theorized light and heat would penetrate atmosphere, then fail to rebound out. We would end up hot.
As is so often the case, the problem is more complex. There are life forms and areas on the planet that act to absorb these gases. Oceans and plant life absorb the main culprit---carbon. Paradoxically, carbon is both the chief element that provides the basis for life (as we know it) and the principal "bad" element in those greenhouse gases. Too much carbon is bad.
People breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. I once gained insight to this symbiosis (gratis to Leary and Owsley) and understood plants are an extension of us as we are extensions of plants. One would think we could balance things and all would be happy.
Unfortunately, people have procreated at a rate, and with a disregard for the environment around us, in such a fashion that we have eliminated a lot of trees. Land is cleared in the United States for shopping malls and subdivisions. In South America, rain forests are cleared for cheap wood to crush into pulp to manufacture wrappers for hamburgers purchased in places like the United States. On the Ocean---we divide it into several, but really it is one, connected body of water---we have dumped crap to such an extent that square miles of water surface are covered by floating, plastic trash. There are "dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico where fish no longer dwell.
We have destroyed natural "scrubbers" of carbon. Simultaneously we have continued to burn fossil fuels---those dinosaurs died for us---and thereby have released more crap, particularly carbon, into the air.
We used to have real autumns, periods before winter, of several weeks, during which deciduous trees turned spectacular colors. Now we seem to go straight from summer to winter. Summers used to get hot around mid-July. The hottest time was in mid-August. Now we heat up in May.
The temperatures of the planet have increased more rapidly than at any time during human existence. Things become even more complex. With massive changes in temperatures have come chaotic changes in storms.
Yes---the huge tornado that hit Oklahoma last evening is an example of the effects of global climate change. The droughts and heat waves of the past ten years are part of the ecological shift caused y humans' efforts to spew crap out into the environment.
I hope we still have time to correct matters. People read more e-books---you can buy my e-novel "Billion Dollar Ball$" on Amazon dot com for $2.99---and save trees that way. Of course, more computers are discarded each day as new and faster models are developed.
Saturday we will discuss the effects of development in Broad Ripple, particularly the structure planned for the sace now occupied by a vacant Shell gas station. We also shall discuss global climate change.