Raw Food Explained: Life Science
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3. Ecology And Climate
The earth’s remaining forest cover is being destroyed by human exploitation at an almost unbelievable rate: about 50 million acres a year, or 50 acres per minute. Trees are cut down by hungry people to get fuel or a few more crops off demineralized jungle soils, and the lumber business takes its own heavy toil. Our forests and jungles must be saved. Our rain forests have been called “the lungs of the earth”, because so much of the earth’s life-giving vegetation is contained in them. The present level of carbon dioxide over “normal” levels will increase 50% in the next decade. Many jungles are now living off the minerals in the decaying wood of dead trees, but they are usually in areas of high rainfall, and if minerals are added to the decaying organic matter, the trees will increase their growth rate and be immensely valuable in taking up and storing carbon from the atmosphere.
When water evaporates, oxygen is released into the air. Photosynthesizing plants are also a source of oxygen; leaves of the trees absorb carbon from the air and produce oxygen, releasing it into the air. We are disturbing the whole oxygen-carbon dioxide balance of our biosphere with our unwise activity.
Volkswagen Foundation has about 300,000 acres of former virgin forest land in Brazil, that is now used for an expanding cattle export operation involving deforestation at an average 13,000 acres per year (Grainger, 1980). Weyerhauser Corporation has 6,000 square kilometers of timber concession in the fragile rain forests of Indonesia (Myers, 1979).
If the jungles are not saved, John Hamaker says we have no chance at survival, and that they cannot be saved unless croplands of starving people are remineralized. Rain forests have been virtually eliminated from most parts of West Africa, Southern Asia, and the Caribbean. The world’s forests are also affected by climatic extremes, soil degeneration, insects, diseases, worsening climate, air pollution and acid rains—fires also ravage our forests, especially in dry seasons and times of drought. As more forests burn, a cycle of destruction actually takes place, because forest fires contribute to adverse conditions that, in turn, accelerate the destruction of more forests. In forest fires, not only are more precious trees lost, but destruction occurs on all these levels:
- climatic stress (including record heat and drought)
- when trees burn, carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, so pollution—and acid rain—are increased (they’re already caused by burning fossil fuels and by auto/vehicle and industrial exhausts/emissions)
- deforestation and spreading deserts
- chronic insect and/or disease epidemics
Data on tropical forest fires is scarce, but it is reported that the nutrient-poor soils and highly-carbonaceous (mineral-poor) vegetation there burns quickly when moisture is withheld for a time. Wide-scale drought and acid rains not only lead to destruction of forests; they can also lead to more tropical forest fires. At present rates of human deforestation and desertification, most researchers say these forests are scheduled for virtual extinction in 15-30 years.
The April 1961, American Forests magazine warned of the explosive fire situation building up in U.S. forest lands—this was already 23 years ago.
|Average # of fires
“War Technology Comes to the Forests”, by J. A. Savage, was printed in Friends of the Earth’s Not Man Apart (December 1980), and described how the U.S. Forest Service is adapting technologies used in Vietnam to “modern” silviculture. In addition to the arborcide Agent Orange, flame-throwers and bombs of napalm-like jelly are used to achieve a “clean burn” of all the “debris” left after clearcutting. With these methods, no “slash” (from the slash-and-burn technique) is left, only “charred dirt”. I assume their “clean” overlooks the damage to the environment and toxicity of the chemicals involved. In 1984, nationwide publicity of Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange revealed its effects in victims and their children; I hope the U.S. Forest Service isn’t making more victims.
American Forests (March 1969) said that in a few years all varieties of trees were dying in a tract of forest in the Adirondack Mountains, except for hemlock and tamarack. Insects that attacked the trees multiplied greatly in the same span of time. The same thing that happened to this forest land is happening in all of the forests and jungles. The last of the minerals have come up in the forest lands, as in the croplands. Over the last 30 to 60 years, the finer fraction of used rock has been turned into subsoil, greatly reducing the surface area, and therefore, protoplasm production. Because these compounds build health, and resistance to disease and insects, the trees become easy prey to parasites. Acid rain (heavy in the northeastern states) has wiped out the last of the carbonates, resulting in excessive acidification of the soil. The lakes of that region have also been acidified. When acidity of water and soil drops below about pH 5.5, it begins to kill off various kinds of microorganisms. Only a few acid-tolerant organisms can survive, and only a few acid-tolerant trees and plants can survive on the poor quality and quantity of protoplasm which the soil provides. No amount of pesticides can stop this dying in a forest—only immediate aerial remineralization can save what’s left of it.
In September 1961, W. Schwenke presented a paper on “Forest Fertilization and Insect Buildup”. The paper described work done in the previous nine years at the Institute of Applied Zoology at the Forest Research Center, Munich, Germany. The work was based on the observation that forest parasites had greater population density on poor forest soil than on more fertile forest soil, and on the observation that forest soils can be improved by fertilization. They used 1/2 to 1 1/2 tons per acre of limestone plus a light application of NPK. This minimal soil remineralization cut parasite population from 30 to 50%. On some of the oils the effect was still observable nine years after the application. The increase in growth rate produced a value hat far exceeded the cost of fertilizing the soil. Limestone probably has a broader range of elements to support living organisms. This was shown by the observed fact that the lasting effect of the fertilization depended on the minerals that were in the soil before fertilization.
Severe deterioration of tree foliage and declining tree growth are also being observed throughout the Ohio Valley (AP news, April 16, 1984). The damage is a result of air pollution more acidic than the acid rain believed to be destroying freshwater life in the Northeast, according to a scientist who studies the valley trees. Dr. Orie Loucks said the decline can best be explained by the cumulative impact of over 20 years of stress from a combination of air pollutants. One important pollutant was the sulfate emitted from power plant and factory smokestacks. The acidity of the sulfate particles exceeds that of battery acid, he said. The major difference between the air quality of the Ohio Valley and that in the Northeast, he said, is that the sulfate content of the air is significantly higher in the Ohio Valley region (which includes Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky). For some years forest deterioration has been reported in parts of the Northeast and other areas of the world—now Loucks has found that tree damage may be even more severe in the Ohio Valley, where there is a heavy concentration of coal-burning power plants that lack devices to clean emissions. The region is also believed to be he source of much of the acid rain now falling over the Northeast and Canada.
States in the Ohio Valley have been resisting legislation aimed at curbing acid rain through programs requiring modifications of power plant smokestacks, because such measures would mean higher costs for public utilities—but it’s now obvious that the cost to life is far greater in the long run. In August 1984, New York became the first state to pass a law to curb acid rain, with legislation designed to reduce smokestack emissions 30% in the next decade. State environmental officials said the cost of the program, including pollution control devices, would add from $2.40 to $4.80 to the monthly utility bill for the consumer by 1991. Which of us would not gladly forfeit the price of a movie or a few magazines, if it would mean better air quality for everyone?
As we said, acid rain also comes from sulfur dioxide from lignite and coal-burning power plants and nitrogen oxides from auto exhausts and factories. It changes chemically in the atmosphere before falling to earth, killing freshwater life and damaging crops and forests. Acid rain has destroyed fish populations in 200 lakes in the upstate Adirondacks (many lakes have become so acidic that no life can exist in them) and, as we said, has damaged millions of acres. Congress must adopt legislation to require a nationwide reduction of 10,000,000 tons of emissions.
Lewis and Grant (Science, 1/11/80) also present some frightening statistics. On the Colorado section of the Colorado Divide where there is very little industrial pollution in the direction of the prevailing wind, the pH of all precipitation still dropped from 5.43 to 4.63 in just three years. Neutral pH is 7.0. Hamaker says that since the CO2 curve is almost vertical at the year 1995, we can go back 20 years to 1975 for the start of the 20-year critical period (to be mentioned in a moment) and not be off by more than a couple of years. The pH then must have been about 6.
Acid rain occurs “naturally” in some places—in the Canadian arctic, natural fires in exposed lignite coal beds produce tremendous amounts of sulfur oxides. These chemicals fall to earth, rendering nearby lakes as acidic as lemon juice. Studies of the Greenland ice cap show that acidic depositions on the earth’s surface have been rising since the beginning of the industrial age, with the greatest increase occurring since the 1940s. Central Europe seems hardest hit. Forests are dying throughout Czechoslovakia, Poland, and East Germany. In West Germany, 3,700 acres of woodland died from 1978-1983, and 200,000 acres were seriously damaged, the most vulnerable being dense, pure stands of conifers between 20 and 40 years old that will probably not survive another 10 years (Bernhard Ulrich, German biochemist, 1983). Mr. Ulrich estimates that almost 5,000,000 acres of German forest soils are at the threshold where toxic aluminum will begin its lethal work. Industrial emissions drift from England to Scandinavia. The industrial Ruhr and Rhine area in Germany affect most of central Europe, and Russia (the largest burner of sulfur-bearing fuels) is also polluting Finland. America’s industrial Midwest helps render the rain acidic in virtually every state east of the Mississippi; much of the Midwest’s emissions join those from Canada, acidifying eastern Canada and threatening its fish and forests—two of its chief resources. In the U.S., only some of the Rocky Mountain states and parts of the Southwest enjoy healthy rains of pH 5.5 or more.
Crops and temperate zone vegetation cannot grow on acidic soils, so the large number of dead and dying trees in our forests is attributable both to increasing soil acidity and decreasing quantities of available elements. Dead forests burn easily with a hot fire which oxidizes large quantities of atmospheric nitrogen. Lewis and Grant found that the oxides of nitrogen were dominant in the acidic precipitation. The more trees die and burn, the more the soils become acidified and the more trees must die. There are also a number of mildly acidic gases released from burning wood. These, plus the acidic gases from volcanism (volcanic power or action), are nature’s way of bringing on glaciation. Man’s fossil fuel fires are also a big factor in the destruction.
Belgian scientist Genevieve Woillard showed that the final changeover to sub-arctic climate and vegetation (to be discussed later) took only 20 years at previous interglacial-to-glacial transitions, as recorded in the undisturbed pollen deposits of Grand Pile, France. In Woillard’s study, the change in vegetation was from hazel, oak, and alder to pine, birch, and spruce—that is, a change from warm-weather to cold-tolerant trees. But even more significant: this change is from nut-bearing trees to trees that can’t yield a proteinaceous crop. That translates to mean a decline in soil minerals to the point where there are insufficient microorganisms in the soil to grow proteinaceous trees.
It now appears that the 20 years for the change in vegetation can be shortened because of industrial
pollution; we are actually speeding up the deterioration process on all fronts, by the sum total of all our environmental errors. Hamaker said: “Judging from the CO2 curve, we are actually 5 years into such a period.”(This was at the time his book was written.)
The Amazon forest is the largest tropical rain forest left in the world, but it is paying a heavy price for “progress”. Deforestation of large tracts (such as Volkswagen’s aforementioned tract) is causing a change in the region’s climate, something climatologists have warned of for some time. A change in the region’s water balance seems to be the result of increased runoff due to deforestation. If so, the long-predicted regional climatic and hydrological changes expected as a result of Amazon deforestation may already be beginning. Increased flooding is the first sign of damage to the Amazonian ecosystem. A heavily-deforested area has developed along the edge of the mountains in upper Amazonian Ecuador and Peru during the past 10-plus years, the result of large slices of forests being cleared for roads, housing, and other development, all of which are exposing the land to increased runoff and erosion. Scientists have found that runoff is increasing in the area while rainfall patterns remain the same; this is caused by interference in the process of transpiration—trees take up moisture that falls and send it back into the air. Now that the trees have been eliminated, the recycling process has been curtailed to an extent that the report warns “might eventually convert much of now-forested Amazonia to near desert.” Note: While in most areas (such as the North American Great Plains or Western Europe) most of the rainfall represents moisture blown in from the sea, about half of the Amazonian rainfall is water that is recycled within the basin. Thus, in tampering with the balance of ecology in the Amazon rain forest, one tampers with its rainfall cycle as well.
Since population and farming are concentrated along the Amazon’s seasonally-flooded river margins, scientists warn that the magnitude of damage is potentially great, and say that the “rapidity with which relatively-limited forest destruction (which has since increased) appears to have altered the Amazonian water balance, suggests the need for planned development.” This is obviously an understatement—planned reforestation and remineralization are also needed to save the Amazon area, before going about any so-called “planned development”. When viewing the earth via satellite, you can literally see the moisture that swirls and sweeps outward from the Amazon area—it covers such a large area that it is seen as a giant moving form that takes on a life of its own—rapid development in the Amazon not only tampers with local ecology, it also affects areas farther away that would normally be affected by these huge, moving atmospheric systems of the Amazon.
Throughout the Third World, unchecked erosion is washing away valuable topsoil. Reforestation could stop the process, aid in CO2 removal, and aid rainfall cycles—it must be a top survival priority. Because it can take years for reforestation’s results to be felt, local governments and villagers have been reluctant to take on what appear to be long-term, labor-intensive projects, but they are failing to realize what failure to do so will mean to their ecosystems.
Researchers are working on what they call a “miracle tree”, the Leucanna leucocephela, which is an extraordinarily fast-growing, all-purpose, self-fertilizing tree, used for both fodder and timber. Under ideal conditions it reaches a 10-inch circumference in one year.
Arbor Day began in Nebraska in 1872, when more than one million trees were planted to help prevent erosion and moisture loss in a state with few trees. Within two decades, 100,000 acres had been turned into forested preserves. Arbor Day is now a legal holiday in four states and is celebrated in all the states, but please don’t wait for Arbor Day to plant trees—do so whenever you can. Fruit trees are especially needed everywhere.
Over 100 countries grow tobacco; flue-curing about 2,500,000 tons annually uses about one hectare of trees for every ton, amounting to about 12.5% of 18-20 million hectares of trees cut yearly, which means about 1 in 8 trees is axed just for drying tobacco! Cropland used for tobacco should be used for growing food instead.
3.2 Carbon Dioxide—Global Climate Changes—Weather Patterns
The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is our most urgent problem. John Hamaker drew a carbon dioxide curve projection in 1979 and said that unless we gained control of the curve shortly after 1985, by 1990 the rate of breakdown of the environment would be occurring much faster than we could repair the damage. However, in order to gain control by 1985, we would have had to start in 1980 to have a fully-operating program of soil remineralization, pollution reduction, and so on. As of 1985, few people took seriously what the curve was saying—nevertheless, Hamaker hasn’t given up hope for humanity’s survival, even though he’s also considered the possibility that “if we were to start to work in the next few months, we could have less than a 50% chance of success”. He’s written countless letters and says three world science organizations finally agreed to meet in 1985—he thinks action is long overdue, with “nature just beginning to show her teeth”. While we wait around for statistics and more data, the power of centralized wealth is holding us to a system of soil destruction. World leaders, concerned with what they must do to get re-elected (if they are indeed elected), merely serve the interest of a wealthy minority that controls an economic system that is ruining our lands, keeping millions of people poor and/ or in debt, keeping our countries in debt, and threatening our very survival with destructive weapons, aggressive foreign policies, and decisions that continually compromise the quality of our environment.
The Global 2000 Report to the President was commissioned in 1977 by President Carter and finally released in July 1980, as a three-volume work of over 1,000 pages. The report’s findings aren’t represented as predictions, but as depictions of conditions likely to develop if there are no changes in public policies. Some of its findings on CO2 were:
- CO2 emissions will increase to 26 to 34,000,000,000 short tons per year, roughly double the CO2 emissions of the mid-70s.
- 446,000,000 hectares (each is 2.47 acres) of CO2-absorbing forests will be lost.
- Burning of much of the wood on 446 million hectares will produce more CO2.
- Decomposition of soil humus will release more CO2.
By June 1979, the percent of increase of CO2 over an assumed “normal” level of 290 ppm was about 15%. In 1985, it could be 18%. By 1990, it could be 22% (50% more than it is now). Yet we go on bringing carbon out of the ground and putting it into the atmosphere.
John Gribbin (New Scientist, 4/9/81), noting the intensification of worldwide forest destruction and fossil fuel combustion, reports that the present annual CO2 increase has jumped to 2 to 4 ppm, and “is increasing rapidly today, in 1981”. (Hamaker’s CO2 curve projection could even prove conservative.)
“The Role of CO2 in the Process of Glaciation”, published in April 1980, was written as a concise explanation of the glacial process which could be understood by the U.S. Congress, at a time when the CO2 problem was just being recognized by some of its members. It appears in Hamaker’s book, and refers to the relationship that has been virtually never considered by the hundreds of researchers of glaciation, starting with the first “Great Ice Age” theory of Louis Agassiz in 1837 (Imbrie and Imbrie, 1979).
This excess carbon dioxide is causing what is known as “the greenhouse effect “because carbon dioxide behaves like the glass in a greenhouse, permitting the sun’s rays to reach the earth, but not allowing the heat to escape. The effect is like that of a “thermal blanket” around the globe. As a result, some scientists think that the earth will become warmer, but others, including John Hamaker, say that it is now getting colder. All scientists now agree that carbon dioxide levels are too high, and with acid rain, forest fires, deforestation, and trees dying from soil demineralization, CO2 levels continue to increase. Nature will complete her necessary cycles and go about her own self-healing processes, just as our bodies do. We’d do well to understand her cycles and healing crises better, and offer help instead of waiting for chronic illness to set in. We tend to forget that the earth is very much alive, and a living being/entity (albeit a large one!)—it regulates itself as surely as our bodies do. Because we need the earth to survive, its state of health is very fundamentally—and really—speaking, as important as our own.
I’ll present both the warm and cold predictions to show how complex climate “analysis” becomes—all environmental factors interrelate to affect it. Having considered their total impact on our ecology and weather, heard both sides (warm/cold) of the story, and watched worldwide weather trends these past years, my intuition tends to believe scientists who say the world is cooling. In any case, we can’t deny that our planet is being manipulated (and often assaulted) on all sides daily by millions of its inhabitants. Some of these assaults are very serious; we discussed long, periods of time that some radioactive waste materials remain dangerous in Lesson 53—this is only one example. Life Scientists know of chemical medicines adverse effects in the body. Can you imagine how our planet’s health is affected and weakened by millions of daily assaults on its body?
The saying “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not just a suggestion on how to be “nice”. It says, in essence, that what you do unto others you do unto yourself—more and more we see how true this is. Now we must also do unto our planet as we would have our planet do unto us, for what we do to our planet, we do to ourselves.
3.3 Warmer or Colder?
Before continuing, let’s clarify the fact that scientists who see the world as cooling do not necessary dispute the greenhouse effect’s warming potential in and of itself—some see a preliminary warming as part of an “energy booster” or catalyst in the Ice Age transition process: the tropics do become hotter/drier as precipitation increases farther north, but increased cloud cover and other factors, to be discussed later, lead to increased cooling conditions.
Let’s take a look at the two opinions … warmer or colder:
In the fall of 1983. the federal government, based on an Environmental Protection Agency report, said that a “dramatic warming of the earth’s climate could begin in the 1990s because of the greenhouse effect, with potentially-serious consequences for global food production, changes in rainfall and water availability, and a probable rise in coastal waters”. The report said that “levels of CO2 in the air created by burning of fossil fuels could result in an increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the next century and a 9-degree rise by 2100, representing an unprecedented rate of atmospheric warming”.
“It’s going to have a very profound impact on the way we live,” said John Topping, staff director for the EPA’s office of air, noise, and radiation. “Some of the effects will be beneficial; some will be detrimental. But our ability to accommodate them will depend much on our planning beforehand. Temperature rises are likely to be accompanied by dramatic changes in precipation (more rainfall in some areas, more drought in others) and storm patterns and a rise in global average sea level,” the study said. “As a result, agricultural conditions will be significantly altered, environmental and economic systems potentially disrupted, and political institutions stressed.”
Stephen Seidel, one of the authors of the report, said that milder winters and much warmer summers by the 1990s may no longer be unusual. The report said the trend will occur regardless of what steps are taken to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.
The study said a warmer climate would raise the sea level by expanding the oceans and by melting ice and snow now on land. An increase of only two feet “could flood or cause storm damage to many of the major ports of the world, disrupt transportation networks, alter aquatic ecosystems and cause major shifts in land development patterns”. The warming is expected to be greater at the North and South Poles and less at the equator, the EPA said. John Hoffman, head of strategic studies for the agency, said “New York City could have a climate like Daytona Beach (Florida) by 2100”.
A major report issued in 1983 by the National Academy of Sciences said that the approaching warming of the earth “is reason for concern, not panic”. The report warned, however, that a warming trend and decreased precipitation could “severely affect” the Texas gulf, Rio Grande, upper and lower Colorado River regions; California; and other Western regions. One projection in the report shows a possible reduction in water supply of nearly 50% when the full force of the warming phenomenon is felt after the year 2000. The tone of the academy warning was less urgent than the EPA’s, stressing the need for “more intense research”. However, the academy found that since (in their opinion) there is no politically or economically realistic way of heading off the greenhouse effect, strategies must be prepared to adapt to a “high temperature world.” The EPA report said that even a total ban on coal would only delay the process for a few years, and said that, because the CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere retains heat rather than permits it to escape into space, thus creating the greenhouse effect, the buildup of gas will be accompanied by a rise of global surface temperatures, most likely in the range of 2 to 8 degrees F. These projections are roughly similar to those in the EPA report; it is expected that this rise will be accompanied by “rapid climate change, including changes in rainfall patterns, as well as a rise in the sea level of over two feet”.
Some additional notes on the greenhouse effect are of importance:
Recent investigations have established that other man-made pollutant trace gases may increase the greenhouse effect by another 50% (Flohn, 1979; Kellogg and Schware, 1981). These gases come primarily from burning vegetation, release of industrial halocarbons (freons), and the denitrification of nitrogen fertilizers in the soil. The Greenhouse Effect by meteorologist Harold Bernard, issues a strong warning that the heating effects alone will likely be devastating to humanity due to increasing climatic stress; agriculture in particular will suffer greatly. He cites increasing storminess with tornados, hurricanes, floods, searing “dust bowl”-type droughts, water depletion, and massive forest fires if we continue on the fossil fuel route, presenting a whole bank of reasons against doing so.
The last few years have seen dramatic changes in precipitation—more rainfall in some areas, more drought in others— but these are also part of the weather forecast given by scientists who say the world is cooling. Apparent warming trends could be superceded by cooling trends in the long run, if we are due for transition into a glacial period.
Systematic measurements of atmospheric CO2 began only as late as 1958 (Calder, 1975). Most climatologists seem fond of repeating the dangerous oversimplification of CO 2’s greenhouse effect, that is, that the earth will warm up as a result.
In a 1977 paper, Hamaker asked, “How Rapidly is CO2 Increasing in our Atmosphere?” In 1977, a National Academy Sciences panel on energy and climate provided a frightening statistic (Charles Keeling, Science, 9/2/77). Keeling said there’d been a 13% rise since the Industrial Revolution began. Alarming is the fact that five of this 13% had occurred since 1962″. That same Science article discussed the oversimplified computer models of CO2’s “general warming” effect, and stated that there are some scientists who “privately suggest” that because of “complex feedback phenomena”, global cooling could result.
Hamaker says that even if the average temperature of the atmosphere is getting warmer, it is false to assume polar ice will melt and temperate zones will move toward the poles. According to Hamaker, “the experts have given us a time scale for weather changes that is longer than we have. Many things are operating at once to affect climate. They all have long overlapping time lags so that we cannot say that this happens, then this, and then this. But the first stage of glaciation, which is initiated by a change from temperate zone to northern latitude types of trees, and by dying of tropical forests, is here now.”
Hamaker says “the theory that the world will get warmer is based on the absurd idea that the earth’s average temperature depends solely on the sun’s energy and the heating effect of atmospheric CO2. On that basis these scientists have projected a rise in temperature in the next century when the CO2 has doubled, so they have drawn a line tangent to the recorded curve and ending up in the next century.” He disagrees with the projection, saying that nature is clearly drawing a curve that is constantly increasing at an accelerating rate of increase, and the scientists have merely decided that nature must change her ways to suit their predictions.
The time to stop the onset of glaciation is before it starts, because it starts with the destruction of agriculture. Hamaker says that we must act now, before our technological capacity to remineralize the soil is lost in the chaos of a world of starving and dying nations. As we said, climatic cycles and factors may overlap, but we can identify a point in the whole climate cycle at which the temperate zone climate is destroyed and we stop eating! We can chart the CO2 content of the atmosphere and know whether we have enough minerals in soil and water. The CO2 curve is showing us that the time of no temperate zone could be approaching. We must remineralize the world’s soils and put carbon back into the earth as fast as we can to reverse the CO2 curve and bring it back to a safe level.
Hamaker says that scientists predicting a warming also aren’t taking into consideration the role of life in and on the soil in demineralizing it in a period of 10,000 to 15,000 years, depending on the amount of ground rock supplied by the last glacial advance, nor do they all understand the earth’s tectonic system and its role in determining the weather. The climate cycle is a by-product of the entire life system, all of which rests on the expenditure of atomic energy in the tectonic system. There are two energy systems which are powerful in comparison to other factors (such as sun spots, Milankovitch’s theory, or the alignment of planets in space)—the effects of these other factors may be noted, but they don’t substantially alter the glacial process—both of the primary energy systems use the energy in the atom. One is the sun and the other is the tectonic system.
The earth constantly intercepts the sun’s energy. If the energy incident to the earth at the higher latitudes is deflected into space instead of being absorbed at ground level, the total amount of energy available to warm the earth is decreased by that amount. During a glacial period the total amount of sun energy reaching the earth is decreased because the CO2 (from the tectonic system) directs a heavy cloud cover to the polar latitudes. The clouds have a very high albedo, that is, ability to reflect the sun’s rays back into pace.
The tectonic system constantly removes materials from the mantle of the earth, separates the compounds containing a balance of elements useful to living organisms, and moves them into the mountains or into the atmosphere. Compounds containing elements not required for life processes are consigned to the core or are recycled to build the basic ocean floor at the ridge.
Everything on earth is totally dependent on the tectonic system; if it were to run out of fuel, the earth would be cold and lifeless like Mars. Climate is directly controlled by the discharge of carbon and sulfur oxides by the tectonic system. Now that mankind has a hand in adding CO2 to the air (and making other environmental errors), climate is also affected by the human factor. There is a scarcity of minerals on the land and in the sea, further contributing to the CO2 buildup in the atmosphere as more and more CO2 is supplied by the tectonic system and less and less is put back into the earth’s crust by the living organisms. All these factors overlap and affect climate. We can say that the minerals (those available to microorganisms) and the carbon released by the tectonic system can be monitored—and thus, theoretically, can be controlled to some extent—we still have much to learn in this area, but we can and do have an affect on climate.
The burning of temperate zone vegetation will carry huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere. In the zones of latitude where the sun’s rays are most intense (the equatorial region), CO2 holds the sun’s heat at the surface of the earth, increasing surface temperature and providing the energy to increase the evaporation and to move the massive cloud cover to the polar regions; CO2 has no heating effect at the poles in the winter when it’s dark 24 hours a day. The warm, demineralized ocean can’t take up the CO2 as fast as it is being put into the air, and decreasing plant life and less trees also mean less CO2 is being converted. We cannot allow the CO2 increase to reach the point of no return—that is, the increase in CO2 from the tectonic system and our own input must not be allowed to exceed the capacity of the remaining forests and sea life to remove the CO2. When the minerals are too few to support enough life to hold down the CO2 level, the level begins to rise and the death of the temperate and tropical zone forests swiftly initiates the air flow pattern which brings glaciation to polar latitudes and extreme, killing heat and drought in between.
When air gets hotter, its atmospheric pressure decreases. It’s then easier for the cold air moving d own over a cold land mass to displace the warm equatorial air and force it to move poleward over the warm ocean to replace the cold air moving toward the equator. This is the normal air circulation pattern impressed on the west winds. During glaciation, when there is an extensive ice field, there is no summer because the refrigerated air from the ice field maintains the temperature differential required to carry the clouds to the northern latitude. Thus there can be unusually large masses of hot air in the equatorial latitudes and unusually large masses of cold air in the polar latitudes. Glaciation, or for that matter, anything else on earth, can’t take place without an expenditure of energy. Without a buildup in CO2 and hence temperature, glaciation cannot happen.
Hamaker says that the average temperature at the start of a glacial period must be higher than the interglacial temperature, and must remain higher until the cooling effect of the ice sheets starts bringing it down, but says this won’t help agriculture: the southern temperate zone will have excessive heat/drought; northern/temperate zone: summer freezes and frosts; cloud cover lowers the temperature and increases the quantity of cold air which flows south over the land masses. With early cold snaps and longer, colder winters, the temperate zone will become a part of the subarctic zone. The summer frosts/ freezes, short-growing seasons, drought and violent storms, rapidly diminishing soil minerals, and increasing rain acidity will destroy the world’s grain crops; we can’t grow grain in the subarctic. Growing seasons have already been shortened and interrupted by freeze damage. (The local areas to survive will be the few near the equator that are blessed with a constantly renewed supply of basic minerals sufficient to maintain a neutral soil in spite of the acidic rains, says Hamaker in Survival of Civilization.) We’ve already seen indications of these patterns. He says we can stand cold winters for some time, but not if they carry over into summers to destroy crops and trees. Cold waves, just a few degrees lower in temperature, can cause major crop losses in Canadian and Eurasian grain crops that are at the latitude of Michigan or farther north. Hamaker says food production in the northern hemisphere in 1980 had lost about 20% of potential because of adverse weather (drought/ heat in the U.S.; cold, wet weather on the Eurasian continent; and, in the southern hemisphere the growing season started with drought in Australia, Africa, and South America). He fears that famine could begin soon, that it could be a few years away; 1978 and 1979 fruit and vegetable losses in California, Texas, and Florida, as well as wintercrop losses in 1983/84, show what could happen to crops in the years just ahead.
Anyone interested in studying the whole glacial process in more depth is urged to read Hamaker’s book—there is an entire section on the tectonic system, plus more details on the role of CO2 in glaciation and many other facts and figures on the glacial process, including the period of glaciation itself. Our space in this lesson requires us to focus more on the transition period from interglacial (warm) to glacial (cold) so that we may become more aware of signals observable during a change to glaciation.
Let’s take a look at what some other scientists who foresee a cooling have to say about the energy expenditure required for glaciation; we’ve seen that scientists agree, in general, on some information about past glacial periods and our present interglacial, but they don’t all agree on why glaciation happened. What force could bring such a change about? We’ve said that Hamaker saw the greenhouse effect as occurring differentially: the increasing temperature differential between warmer (hotter/drier) and colder (colder/ wetter) latitudes has taken on a life of its own and is accelerating the whole process. When the supply of minerals ground from rocks by the last glaciation is used up in the soil, this exhaustion of soil minerals by the life in and on the soil initiates a whole chain of events which results in restocking the soil with minerals and a new proliferation of life.
David P. Adam of the U.S. Geological Survey, a longtime student of glacial periods, has emphasized that to understand their causes, one must solve the “energy problem” they present. His Quaternary Research paper (1976, “Ice Ages and the Thermal Equilibrium of the Earth (II)”) shows that an essential requirement to begin and sustain a glacial period is an increased transfer of (excess) energy towards the glaciated regions, and that energy is in the form of moisture. This is of course precipitated largely as snow, thus forming the initial perennial snowfields and subsequent ice sheets. He states that some increased energy source must therefore be invoked to sustain these vast energy transfers, yet he does not consider in his paper the fact of excessive CO2’s solar heat-trapping effect as the possible “booster” for providing this increase of effective energy, which, as Adam points out, is “required to fuel a continental glaciation”.
In a personal communication to Hamaker, David Adam agreed that Hamaker’s theory (CO2) indeed fulfills the requirements of providing the glacial energy fuel. Yet, surprisingly, David knew of no one in the history of modern Quaternary research who had postulated a CO2-glaciation relationship, perhaps due to the relative state of infancy of modern CO2/climate studies, but he said there was one well-respected climatologist who had presented an explanation of the basic glacial process very similar to Hamaker’s, Sir George Simpson of Britain. He was first to point out that the glaciation that characterizes an ice age can’t come about by a general cooling of the earth’s atmosphere—because some source of increased energy is required to transport poleward the huge amounts of moisture which make up the glaciers. Most climatologists now agree, because a decrease must lower the mean temperature of the earth’s surface (especially in the tropics), decrease the equator-to-pole temperature gradient, and distinctly lower the moisture content of the atmosphere. He realized that it’s obviously paradoxical to expect fulfillment of certain fundamental requirements for glaciation (intensified equator-to-pole temperature gradients, stepped-up atmospheric circulation, and increase of poleward heat and moisture transfer) with a declining surface temperature, especially in tropical regions.
John Hamaker, while unaware of Simpson’s theory, was apparently the first to correlate the basic heating and circulation principles operating at glacial initiation with the soon-to-be-infamous” differential greenhouse effect. Other recent warnings on this differential heating effect have come from Lester Machta (head of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Air Resources Labs), saying that CO2 could indeed cause the massive cooling cloud coverage and cooling at the poles, and from Justus (1978) of the Congressional Research Service: “If the earth’s temperature rises, the water vapor content of the atmosphere is likely to rise. A rise in water vapor would quite likely increase the fraction of the globe covered by clouds. Such an increase could cause the amount of primary solar radiation absorbed by earth to fall.” In a document prepared for Congress (“Weather Modification: Programs, Problems, Policy, and Potential,” Chapter 4), Justus says: “In geological perspective, the case for cooling is strong. … If this interglacial age lasts no longer than a dozen earlier ones in the past million years, as recorded in deep-sea sediments, we may reasonably suppose that the world is about due to begin a slide into the next Ice Age.” (p. 153.)
Hamaker says that failure to remineralize the soil will cause continued mental and physical degeneration of humanity and quickly bring famine, death, and glaciation, in that order.
The majority of the world’s people fall into one of these categories: those who are aware of problems and take action; those that are angered by problems, but talk or worry about them and don’t take action; those who just give up hope; those who trust in the system, right or wrong, problems or no problems; those who are just plain indifferent to problems; and even those who are unaware that problems exist at all!
Most people probably think that the last ice age was “a million years ago”, but the fact is, it ended only about 10,000 years ago—a few seconds in geological time. Everything that we know in terms of our “civilization” has taken place in that brief span of time since the earth last warmed up. The potential global climate changes that face all of humanity could re-arrange everything on the planet, and affect every living creature on earth more than any other ecological issues in question—even beyond such crucial concerns as world peace—for the issue here is whether we want to have a world at all in which to live in peace. We must make the ecological changes necessary for survival. Because most of the subsoil and topsoil of the world have been stripped of all but a small quantity of elements (by time, water, erosion, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and so on), Hamaker says man can stay on this earth only if the glacial periods come every 100,000 years to replenish the mineral supply—or if we get smart enough to grind the rock ourselves and apply it everywhere on soil that is depleted. Glaciation is an acceleration of the normal process of using evaporated water to carry excessive heat energy from warm zones to cold zones, and the greenhouse effect (of an increase in atmospheric CO2) is to increase cloud cover over polar latitudes. The clouds have a cooling effect as well as providing the snow for glaciation. The energy is dissipated in arctic space. Glaciation occurs whenever the soil minerals left by the last glacial period are used up and the plant life (forests are the major factor in CO2 control) can no longer regulate the carbon dioxide by growing faster in response to its increase in the air.
3.4 The Glacial-Interglacial Cycle
The glacial-interglacial cycle was revealed by numerous workers in many fields of Quaternary research as of the 1970s. (The Quaternary is the present geological period including the Pleistocene epoch and the Holocene—recent—epoch, the present interglacial in which we now live). A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) publication, Understanding Climate Change (1975) says: “The present .interglacial interval—which has now lasted about 10,000 years—represents a climatic regime that is relatively rare during the past million years, most of which have been occupied by colder, glacial regimes. Only during about 8% of the past 700,000 years has the earth experienced climates as warm or warmer than the present. The penultimate interglacial age began about 125,000 years ago and lasted for approximately 10,000 years. Similar interglacial (warm) ages—each lasting 10,000 (+- 2,000) years and each followed by a glacial (cold) maximum averaging 90,000 years—have occurred on the average every 100,000 years during at least the past half-million years. During this period, fluctuation of the northern hemisphere ice sheets caused sea-level variations of about 100 meters.”
This NAS publication concludes that: “If the end of the interglacial is episodic in character, we are moving toward a rather sudden climatic change of unknown timing. … If, on the other hand, these changes are more sinusoidal in character, then the climate should decline gradually over a period of thousands of years.” All factors considered, Hamaker doesn’t think we have that long.
Paleoclimatologists agree that the major warm periods (interglacials) that followed each of the ends of the major glaciations (cold periods) have lasted from about 10,000 to 12,000 years, and that, in each case, a period of considerably colder climate has followed immediately after these intervals. About 10,000 to 10,800 years have now passed since the onset of our present period of warmth, so the question certainly arises as to whether we are really on the brink of a period of colder climate. The 100,000-year cycle of glaciation is now recognized as occurring with regularity, so, technically-speaking, we could be due for another ice age “any time during the next 1,200 years”. As we said, though, signs that signal the changeover or transition from temperate to colder climate are already in evidence, and increasing due to our environmental errors.
Most scientists are noncommital, but those who are beginning to express concern say that these signs mean that we may be much closer to the first stages of the next ice age than anybody would like to think. Let’s review some of the signs we’ve already talked about:
We have already seen that the earth’s total soil microorganism and earthworm populations have been dying back over the recent centuries and decades due to soil demineralization, and so the earth’s plant and tree life has been forced to die back—known as “retrogressive vegetational succession” in the literature of ecology. Deserts (now growing at a rate of 15 million acres per year) are generally a final stage of this retrogression process. Our abuse and neglect has reinforced this desertification, as it has deforestation. Soil demineralization (with acid rains accelerating the devastation) is causing the increasingly rapid sickening and dying of whole forests. The massive death and burning of the forests is signaling the “telocratic” or end phase of our present interglacial period. Svend Th. Andersen saw the broad picture of glacial/interglacial stages and said that the interglacials were stable intervals between the glacial stages of disturbance and chaos. The vegetation had a chance to develop until the new glacial released its destructive forces. He divided the interglacials (warm intervals) into four broad phases:
- Protocratic phase. At the start of warm intervals, open forests of pioneer species entered—these were quickly-spreading trees and shrubs with unpretentious requirements to climate and soils. Birch, pine, poplar, juniper, and willow were most important in Denmark, Andersen’s home.
- Mesocratic phase. The soil had developed a high fertility, and plants of rich soils reached maximum frequencies. Immense forests covered great portions of the earth in the last mesocratic phase (from about 6,000 to 3,000 B.C.) Some of these trees, such as oaks, were reported to be often of remarkably large size; these are found preserved in now-degenerate treeless peat soils in England and elsewhere. The phase is dominated by trees such as elm, oak, lime, hazel, ash, hornbeam, and alder, growing on stable mull soils which Dr. Johannes Iversen (State Geologist, Geological Survey of Denmark), showed to eventually begin to retrogress. Iversen tried to find out at what point in the interglacial the retrogressive vegetational succession starts, and said it is “when the yearly disintegration of the plant debris no longer keeps pace with the fresh supply from the living plants, and consequently a layer of ‘mor’ (raw humus) is accumulated on top of the mineral soil”. “Mull” humus has a richness of available minerals; “mor” is acidifying humus. He studied soil conditions and said that, from the point approximately 10,000 years ago commonly accepted as the beginning of our present (warm) interglacial, it took about 3,700 to 4,500 years for the first of the glacially-deposited raw mineral soils of basic or alkaline pH to “mature” and then go into a gradual “irreversible” degradation/depletion. Iversen says this degradation process is characterized by reduced soil organisms, earthworms dying out, and by the vegetation regression that comes when soil is depleted and lacks minerals. Andersen and’ Iversen have similar descriptions of this process. In these mull soils, of roughly 6000 to 3000 B.C., the leaching of the soil salts is to some extent counteracted by the mixing activity of the soil fauna and the ability of the prevailing trees and shrubs to extract bases from the deeper soil layers and contribute them to the upper layers during the decomposition of their litter. However, a slow removal of calcium carbonate will bring the soils into a less stable state, where the equilibrium may be more easily disturbed. This leaching of calcium carbonate (lime) is shown to be so significant to the topsoil ecology because, according to Andersen, “the leaching of soil minerals other than lime will be insignificant, until the calcium carbonate has been removed”. With this gradual leaching, the mull forest could not maintain itself, and with the lapse of time, caused itself a depauperization and acidification of the upper soil layers, which extended so far that the dense forest receded and more open vegetation types expanded. The changeover from mineral-rich mull soils to acidifying mor soil conditions begins in the mesocratic, and with the gradual demineralization of formerly-calcareous soils, growth of impenetrable hardpans and soil life die-outs follow. This creates shallow topsoils susceptible to drought or being easily swamped; and this infertile state leads to takeover by heathlands, peat bogs, and trees with ability to survive on acidic soils—spruce, pine, birch, poplar, etc.
- Oligocratic phase. This condition becomes prevalent in this phase, and is brought on as a result of degeneration of soils. The increasing podzolization, characterized by increased demineralization and acidity, continues up through the telocratic (end) phase. (Podzolization is a process of soil formation, especially in humid regions, involving principally leaching of the upper layers with accumulation of
material in lower layers and development of characteristic horizons; specifically, the development of a podzol. Podzol: any of a group of zonal soils that develop in a moist climate especially under coniferous or mixed forests and have an organic mat and a thin organic-mineral layer above a gray leached layer resting on a dark alluvial horizon enriched with amorphous clay.)
- Telocratic (end) phase. The final interglacial phase is the time when the demineralized soils begin to be removed. The rigorous conditions at the end of the interglacial are reflected by an increase in allochthonous mineral matter, no doubt due to increasing surficial erosion.
The information in virtually every textbook on soils, forestry, or ecology leaves no doubt that the present world civilization is at least deep into the oligocratic phase. Andersen’s work also shows that the Scandinavian lakes and soils reflect a close parallel development from basic to acidic conditions—again, many thousands of lakes there, as well as in other parts of the world, are now already acidified into lifelessness from acid rain. Rapidly accelerating worldwide erosion rates are evident; the figure in 1981 was already 6,400,000,000 tons of topsoil lost per year to erosion.
These facts, along with increasingly rigorous conditions imposed by the weather since at least 1972, very strongly indicate that the telocratic end phase may indeed have begun. As we said, the final changeover to sub-arctic climate and vegetation has been seen to have been made in only 20 years in other interglacial to glacial transitions.
What other changes come with the end of a period of interglacial warmth? From studies of sediments and soils, George Kukla agreed that “major changes in vegetation occurred at the end of the previous warm period. Deciduous forests that covered areas during the major glaciations were replaced by sparse shrubs, and dust blew freely. The climate was considerably more ‘continental’ than it is now, and agricultural productivity would have been marginal at best.” George Kukla and Julius Fink studied interlayered soils exposed in excavated brickyards of Czechoslovakia. Seventeen major cycles of glacial loess deposition (loess is mixed rock dust and silt ground by the glaciers and swept by the winds) and subsequent interglacial soil “decalcification” (and overall demineralization) over the last 1.7 million years were revealed. The interglacial soils are shown to have supported the deciduous forests native to northwest and central Europe until in some way they died off and gave way to the steppe vegetation of a chilled, wind-torn glacial desert with blowing dust. Loess always returns to cover the demineralized soils. Then, again, over the centuries, the loess becomes mostly consumed by the soil formation and development process.
The cycle of glaciation is complete when the supply of minerals ground from rocks by the last glaciation is used up and glaciation occurs again. Whereas plant life normally removes all excess CO2 from the atmosphere by growing faster as CO2 increases, it can no longer do so, since it gets its cell protoplasm from the soil microorganisms and, as we know, the microorganisms start dying too when insufficient elements are available to them.
A conference was held at Brown University in 1972 with paleontologists, sedimentologists, stratigraphers, paleoclimatologists, and others, entitled The Present Interglacial, How and When Will It End? They strongly confirmed the 100,000-year average glacial-interglacial cycle, and many
stressed the fact that we should be at or close to the end of the present interglacial.
The search for causes of the Ice Age began over a century ago, and Hamaker says the answer literally lies beneath our feet: progressive soil demineralization of the earth’s soil mantle causes an eventual collapse of the global carbon cycle. The cycle is:
soil remineralization ->
interglacial soil demineralization ->
vegetational succession and collapse ->
the glacial process -> soil remineralization
Hamaker also believes the large increase in earthquakes can be attributed to the steadily-increasing weight of snow and ice cover pressing on the molten layers just underneath the earth’s crust, causing shifting and slippages. He notes that the sharp rise in major earthquakes began about 10 years after the climate began to get noticeably colder beginning in 1940. He also predicts a steadily-increasing incidence of volcanic eruptions, for the same reason, and suggests this has already begun in the last few years.
Glaciation usually comes at a time when the earth’s tectonic system has fired up volcanic activity by feeding ocean floor into the continental heaters, mostly located in the Pacific “ring of fire”. Volcanic action releases larger amounts of liquified gases trapped in the molten rock. Carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide are the main gases released, and both cause the greenhouse effect, resulting in our present “100-year cold cycle”. These cycles vary in their time interval, intervals being determined by the pressure in the tectonic system. Carbon dioxide from decaying and burning mineral-starved vegetation is then added to these volcanic gases—together, they initiate the change from interglacial to glacial climate. Acidic gases from volcanism and burning forests can then stifle life on earth by leaching the few remaining basic elements into the subsoil. In this way the change from interglacial to glacial conditions can be made in 20 years (Nature, G. Woillard, 1979). Hamaker says that man may have moved the present glacial process! forward in time by 500 years by the continued pouring of CO2 into the air, by acidic gases and acid rain, and by forest; and jungle destruction by people seeking lumber and fuel or farmland … the 20-year change period can also be shortened. Hamaker estimates that the beginning of a 20-year changeover period from interglacial to glacial conditions was about 1975. If this estimate is accurate, then tremendous weather changes should have begun by that time, signified by growing intensification of all storm effects, including unusually heavy rains and snows, record cold and heat, drought, hail, tornados, etc., all symptomatic of increasing temperature and pressure differentials, greater evaporation of moisture, and an overall speeding up of global atmospheric circulation.
Iversen warns us that in former interglacial epochs, the anthropogenic factor was negligible; i.e., man‘s impact on nature was less dramatic than it is today.
According to Hamaker, all the requirements for glaciation are now in place and accelerating in intensity at a very fast pace: CO2 increases; precipitation pH moves toward intolerable acidity; earth’s soils (demineralized) can’t support a strong, healthy plant/forest cover; the carbon of the soils and trees is being transferred back to the atmosphere in huge amounts as carbon dioxide gases. As the primary infrared heat-trapping “greenhouse effect” gas, CO2 excess causes the sustained overheating of the vast oceans (especially tropical oceans), thus causing the sustained evaporation increase required to nourish the polar regions with the “food” of glaciers: water, snow—and keep them shaded from melting with clouds. This increase of glaciation is now occurring and has been since about 1950, so, although some scientists expect a warming from the greenhouse effect, the rise isn’t being found over the last century—on the contrary, the earth seems to have been cooling in recent decades. The polar ice field is expanding and growing in northeast Canada (more on this in weather section), and pressure is rising in the tectonic system, indicated by the accumulation of lava flows along the ridges, and by increased volcanic activity. We’re in the high-pressure part of the “ocean floor feeding cycle”, which has occurred about every 100 years, at least for a few centuries.
It’s certainly not a good time for CO2 to rise!
3.5 “Hope Springs Eternal”
Scientists tell us of a glacial/interglacial cycle of 100,000 years, and say we are now about 10,000 to 10,800 years into a warm interval that can last from 10,000 to 12,000 years. Some scientists also say there is a “magnetic pole reversal cycle” of 200,000 to 1,000,000 years and that, since the last one took place about 710,000 years ago, we could be “due” for one “some time in the future”. As of 1984, there hasn’t been much talk among the general public about Ice Ages or magnetic pole reversals; if either of these possibilities do exist, even remotely, as calculated by scientists, one would expect at least some debate on these issues to have hit the national/international media by now.
There are several explanations for the apparent lack of awareness. For one thing, countless brilliant minds go into fields totally unrelated to science, so Ice Ages and pole reversals aren’t necessarily familiar to them. Then, within the field of science, scientists specialize, usually in one specific area of research, often depending on the project(s) they’ve received funds and grants for. They may be experts on one particular subject, but unfamiliar with either fields of science (even related fields) or even with other areas of study within their own fields. They may have spent years refining a certain body of knowledge and focusing on one aspect of one branch of science. This narrows down the number of experts available on any given subject, let alone that of glaciation or magnetic pole reversal. Most scientists accept as fact many things they don’t have the time, knowledge or money to prove for themselves, relying on research done by other scientists to fill in the gaps. This means the number of informed people who could “accurately” predict art onset of another Ice Age is quite limited anyway. Within this number of informed people there are: scientists too busy working on something else to become involved in speculation about an Ice Age; others uninterested one way or the other; some who have considered it, then given it no further thought; others who may have speculated on when it could come, but don’t want to give their opinion because they don’t want to make a mistake or prefer not to contradict scientists who think the world will warm up; others who don’t want to alarm the general public (or perhaps fear causing “mass panic” or migration?); and finally, there might be a few who are willing to make a statement. As we said, this will be a rare person, one with courage of convictions, faith in his/her calculations, enough concern about humanity to bring something of such epic proportions out into the open, and nerve to contradict other scientists’ theories, such as theories of scientists who initiated the Environmental Protection Agency report and the National Academy of Sciences report. Anyone who disagrees with them has to prove his own theory and discredit theirs—somewhat comparable to a single doctor challenging the entire American Medical Association—it happens, but this is probably considered an awesome task, one many professionals would undoubtedly prefer to avoid if at all possible, having their “careers” and reputations” to think about.
Scientists and experts need more than knowledge and facts—they also need intuition, the ability to synthesize what they know into an overall picture from all the little random bits and pieces of information. Beyond book learning, they need sensitivity and awareness, consciousness and creativity. Educated experts often lack some of these qualities needed to make good judgment and a proper diagnosis. We can see, in light of the above “analysis”, that it could indeed be possible for the general public to miss something of such magnitude, even if it were true.
John Hamaker puts it this way: “It may seem incredible that up to now this work could have escaped becoming common knowledge, at least to workers in agriculture, forestry, geology, climatology, and other such immediately-related fields. Apparently the many diverse pieces of the glacial/ interglacial climate cycle ‘puzzle’ had to be gradually discovered through various disciplines over decades, before at least enough pieces were evident to be joined in a coherent picture by a trained ecological thinker.”(John Hamaker in this case.) Yet now everyone may see for themselves the truth in his synthesis.
He continues: “Congress has evaluated the CO2 problem on the basis of a consensus reached by ‘specialists’. They freely admit that they do not know what causes glaciation, yet say the average temperature must drop several degrees C before we can have glaciation simply because they have evidence that it does get much colder during glacial periods. They ignore the fact that, historically, glaciation has alternated with interglacial periods on a roughly 100,000-year cycle and the fact that glaciation is due. Do they think that crop soils turning to deserts (due to erosion and soil demineralization, etc.), and weather catastrophies we’ve observed, are all just coincidence? They haven’t thought about soil and its relation to glaciation, nor the role of the tectonic system in the glacial process.
“The people charged with the responsibility for the CO2 problem are simply not trained to solve problems. They are trained to be observers and have done a creditable job of that. But the job of making a rational synthesis of the facts as a basis for Congressional action ought to have been assigned to engineers and physicists, both of whom have been trained to work with the facts and laws of Nature. The fault lies at the higher levels of education, which have neglected the necessity for interdisciplinary education and action in favor of specialization.”
The meteorologist Harold Bernard, who also warned of CO2 increases and effects on climate, wrote a chapter “We Can’t Put Weather in a Test Tube,” which criticizes scientists’ incorrect assumptions, inaccurate modeling techniques, and ignorance of important processes through lack of knowledge. It is clear that the interglacial soil demineralization is one such process they have ignored. The knowledge is .now freely available.
Let’s consider a parallel that Life Scientists are very familiar with by now. The concept of the body as self-healing and the body of knowledge found in the Life Science philosophy both follow the laws of common sense, of Nature, and of logic. We need only try it for ourselves if we want “proof”, since Truth is self-evident. We have come to accept as obvious the fact that live food (uncooked fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds) imparts the most perfect state of health possible. We have experienced our bodies’ self-healing powers and learned about fasting as a means of allowing our bodies the chance to rest and divert all their energy into healing. We have decided that medicine and herbs interfere with the body’s self-directed healing actions, and that suppression of symptoms (which are manifestations of the healing process going on) likewise interferes with the body’s innate wisdom. We have found that health is produced only by healthful living and that sickness will vanish only when cause is removed (not when symptoms are suppressed). That about sums it up in a nutshell.
What I’m getting at is this: if all the above is so obvious to us, why isn’t it obvious to the countless doctors and “health” professionals all over the world? Why is it obvious only to a few people? How can something be true and not be recognized by more people? All we can say is, truth is still truth, in and of itself, even if not one single person sees it. Truth doesn’t need believers in order to be true; it doesn’t need followers or majority acceptance in order to be valid. Truth doesn’t have to wait for everyone to catch up. The earth was still round when everyone believed it was flat, despite what “everyone” thought. Microscopic life existed long before we saw it in microscopes; it didn’t have to wait for us to see it in order to exist. If we are sliding into another Ice Age, and the scientists who foresee its arrival are correct, an Ice Age won’t need our approval or belief in order to be a reality, that much we can be sure of.
Of course it would be easier for our own “practical purposes if some of their calculations we are “off .” After all, many so-called scientific theories have fallen by the wayside throughout the years, as new knowledge superceded old knowledge. Even the “world is flat” theory fell prey to the test of time. Whereas truth is truth despite what people believe, knowledge may or may not be true despite what people believe. Even if it isn’t true, it may be paraded around as fact for years, centuries, or even indefinitely.
In the meantime, many people continue to believe what they’re told, looking to “experts” for answers and depending on them for knowledge; it’s not a foolproof learning technique, but it’s often the best they can do. So, when the experts themselves make mistakes, it doesn’t matter how big their herd of followers is—but, of course, many people are influenced by the size of the herd when choosing their beliefs. They feel safety in numbers, and prefer the comfort and “security” of a large herd. If “everyone else” believes something, it must be true, says their inner logic, or if nothing else, they’d still rather be with the majority. There is an alternative to joining herds and following experts: intuition. If you can trust your intuition, you are fortunate. As a free thinker, you can ask yourself what your intuition tells you about the world’s current situation, the state of our environment, weather patterns, and Ice Ages. I’ve tried to present various opinions on these subjects, but I don’t presume to have all the answers.
My intuition tells me to keep an open mind, and not to give up hope. If the observations and premonitions of the scientists who see the world as cooling are correct, I for one would rather have had a hint ahead of time than be surprised at the last minute! At least this leaves us with the option to take action, and to try to survive on this planet. It’s been said that we don’t fail until we give up trying. Hope is our strongest ally—it reinforces our will to live. Without it, we are lost, for without hope, nothing matters anymore.
So, even if an Ice Age were approaching during our lifetime, we would still have hope as our “open door”. For one thing, we have the potential for change. Some people believe that there is a future that can be known in the present (often called destiny), but that, at the same time, there is still our free will—a powerful force that can change or alter “what is meant to be”. This gives us control over our “destinies” and the ability to create the lives we choose. As we said in an earlier lesson, we ourselves are responsible for our states of being; we underestimate our power as individuals when we believe that random outside influences alone shape our lives. Ironically, though, there is also some element of “chance “in life that can weave its influence into what we are busily creating; while we often tend to define things in simple dualities of yes and no we actually have yes, maybe, maybe not, and no. We can predict that something will or will not happen, and we can be very sure that it will or will not happen, if we are accurate. Even so, the fact still remains that, beyond our free will or any so-called destiny, there are also other powers and forces of life in the universe that can enter into every situation and coincide with any variables involved, and these sometimes alter the outcome or cause slight variations between what we expect and what actually happens. For this reason, when considering the return of an Ice Age, we can still allow for the possibility, however small, that something completely unpredictable at this present time—some unforeseeable factor—could still come to pass, something we cannot even conceive of or envision with our present knowledge or awareness. This is not to say that we should resort to an escapist mentality or rationalize our way out of solving our serious environmental problems by using the excuse that “a miracle could happen” as a justification for inertia—this would be wishful thinking and sheer delusion! We’re merely trying to show that everything that happens in life is affected by the intricate interworkings of many multi-faceted forces, and that this includes our attempts to predict specific global climate changes. We’ve attempted to speculate on the past and present factors pertaining to Ice Ages, so now we’re considering future factors, which, of course, also lead us to the unknown. Technology and scientific knowledge that we use daily and now take for granted were unimaginable to people a century ago, so it is conceivable that someone could still discover an energy force/source that is presently unknown to humanity, or find a new technique for cleaning and restoring the environment, or invent something that we can’t even imagine that would change our world or its course of events. We can hope that our ingenuity will prove itself once more; we’ve gotten ourselves into our present world state—maybe we can get ourselves out of our problems, as well. There is a tremendous growth in spirit evident all over the planet—we ourselves can perform the miracle of increased awareness—with a quantum leap in consciousness, we could save ourselves by realizing what must be done before it is too late.
It has been said that our strongest instinct is to survive. When I finished reading Hamaker’s book, I began to see our world ecology as a whole, and realized the importance of seeing our environmental problems collectively, as they interrelate, rather than individually. There’s an old expression that comes to mind: “Couldn’t see the forest for the trees.” We’ve been looking at the trees so long that we’ve forgotten what the whole forest looks like. Few things can make us appreciate life more than the realization that it can end. The suggestion that time could run out for our planet forces us to reassess our values as human beings. Where are we going? What are we doing to our environment, our source of life? What are our real priorities? Ask anyone who’s ever been told s/ he would have “only 3 months to live”. The first thing that happens is a total overhaul of priorities, a total rethinking of what the person can still do. Time becomes more precious than ever before. Energy becomes focused as never before. Life is no longer taken for granted. I guess we never wake up until after we’ve been asleep. Let’s hope we wake up in time—it seems we’ve ignored the alarm clock already.
Even if we are “let off the hook” somehow and an Ice Age is averted or postponed, or its timing was miscalculated to some extent, we still have some very important moral decisions to make regarding our ability—and, moreover, our will—to revitalize the world for our continued survival on this planet, because we are still left with our CO2, soil, water, and other pollution problems, and as long as we continue to put money and technological “advances” before the welfare of humanity and our ecosystem, we still have our greed to deal with. And we still have to figure out a way to keep from destroying ourselves in nuclear war.
One way or the other, we have to get together worldwide and face the problems that we ourselves have created. We call ourselves civilized, and we want to believe that we have advanced and evolved, but an honest appraisal of our collective self-portrait reveals that we are painting ourselves into a corner every time we compromise our ethics and assault Nature’s principles. We cannot hope to survive if we destroy our planet, because it is our source of life, but we must also understand that our survival is just as surely threatened by the destruction of our basic human values— love for humanity—and that we now have a profound need to revive and restore these basic values. Only by realizing that we co-exist—what we do to others (both psychologically and environmentally) we do to ourselves—can we expect to rally on the large scale necessary at this point for our survival on this planet.
It’s obvious that we’ve been born into a time of incredible challenge, so let’s meet this challenge with all our strength—and with a smile—for as always, life continues amidst the chaos. We must see the world as we want to be, as it must be for our survival, and use this positive image to create this world. The key to our survival lies in visualizing and acting for our survival over and over again until it becomes a reality. Every time another individual loses hope and gives up, our survival as a group is also threatened, because the force of our collective will to live is diminished once again. Every time our basic values of faith, hope, and charity are abandoned, the quality of life on earth is tarnished for everyone, and if we continue on a collision course with Nature, life on earth will only become more miserable. Without love, food, natural resources, and an environment clean enough to support life, people everywhere would have little to live for or to look forward to. We create our reality, and if this is the reality we choose to create, humanity as a whole will despair, and it doesn’t take a genius to imagine what will happen if no one cares. As surely as we need faith, love, and action, we need hope.
Fear is the lock and laughter the key to your heart.
Raw Food Explained: Life Science
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