I realize that there have to be rules about what we do with trash. Decades ago, I read that paleontologists and archeologists use trash heaps and garbage dumps to learn about how people live: and that just about everybody has had a place where junk is put. So, environmental regulations of some kind are thousands of years old.
I remember the first Earth Day, back in 1970. A green flag flew over the campus, and there was a groovy vibe to saving Earth from The Man.
I didn't change my lifestyle all that much, though. My parents had grown up in the Great Depression, so recycling and avoiding waste were habits I wasn't even aware I had: until I saw how much my contemporaries threw away.
Earth's a Tough Old Mother"Mother Nature" has been portrayed many ways. One of my favorites is the version played by Dena Dietrich in the 1970s Chiffon margarine commercials: "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
I get the impression that some of the more enthusiastic environmentalists see her as a sort of ancient 1920s flapper: all big eyes and scrawny legs. A helpless damsel who needs constant rescuing.
If life on Earth were like that frail waif, we wouldn't be here now.
We still, as far as I know, don't know why the Maunder Minimum happened - so it's possible that there's still more to learn about the sun and its cycles.
Occasional Ice AgesFor whatever reason, Earth goes through ice ages at not-exactly-regular intervals. Six of them were big ones. We may be in the 6th now: It was a 'known fact' that we were headed for another glacial period when I was growing up, but fashions have changed.
Whatever point we're at in Earth's big freezes now, it's not as bad as the cold period that started around 800,000,000 years ago. Glaciers got to within 15 degrees of Earth's equator that time.
Asteroid Impacts Now and AgainThen there are the occasional asteroid and comet hits: the last big one may have wiped out the dinosaurs and made room for us.
And Yet, Life is Still HereFrom my point of view, Mother Nature seems to have more in common with Queen Boudicca than a 1920s flapper: all big eyes and narrow legs, like Clara Bow. This isn't a value judgement: Clara Bow had a successful film career. On the other hand, Queen Boudicca left a deep impression on the Romans of her day. Figuratively and literally.
I'm Not Worried About Earth and Nature: But I Live SensiblyI don't have quite the faith in Man And His Technology that many people do. The idea that "now we are in control of the forces of nature" wears a little thin when set up against something like the Mt. St. Hellens eruption. And that was a hiccup compared to Earth's more noticeable volcanic events: like the last eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, that covered about 2/3 of today's 48 contiguous states with ash. Then there was the Mount Toba event that may have come close to wiping out humanity.
I think that getting lead out of gasoline is a good idea, and that it makes good sense on several levels to buy what you need, and recognize everything beyond that as luxury. My household uses water and power in moderation - for financial reasons if nothing else - and we recycle.
But that doesn't mean that I'm going to go crazy over whatever today's intellectual fashion dictates.
- "Ancient Antarctic Ecosystem: Isolated for Millions of Years"
(April 16, 2009)
- "Life is Left-Handed on Earth (Caution: Geeky Content)"
(March 23, 2009)
- "The Purple Hills of Earth?"
(September 6, 2008)
- "How to Destroy Earth (It Ain't Gonna be Easy)"
(July 9, 2008)
- "Old Articles About Old Stuff: History of Earth's Continents"
(May 18, 2008)
- "The Sun as a Swinger? Cardiff U's Title is Better for Mass Extinction Article"
(May 12, 2008)
- "Sunspots? What Sunspots?"
(April 25, 2008)
- "And Now, for Something Completely Different: The Medieval Climatic Optimum, The Little Ice Age, and Other Changes"
(April 20, 2008)
- " 'My Mind's Made Up: Don't Confuse Me With the Facts' "
(March 3, 2008)
- "Climates in the Inner Solar System"
(February 28, 2008)
- ""Journey of Mankind:" 160,000 Years of Ups and Downs"
(November 1, 2007)
- "A Blogging Blog for Bloggers"
(September 13, 2007)