And Global Warming Alternatives
By Adolph Caso
The President has gained support from the Pope on how to deal with and resolve the threats posed by Global Warming.
As people--world-wide (meaning, those managing pollution, according to the two leaders), we need to reduce reliance on the present energy resources and replace them with alternatives ones such as wind and solar, because the latter have no contaminants, and are pollution-free. In addition, they do not impact on the climate as to affect it negatively.
Solar panels and wind turbines, therefore, are championed by the President and the Pope. For this reason, the panels and turbines are being foisted on the market as alternative solutions to avoid the predicted impending crisis produced by world-wide, man-made, energy-craze industrial, agricultural, and social complexes which, abusively, use coal (fossil fuels), oil, methane, and nuclear. They produce energy, but at the expense of clean air.
The dire assumption is that, if not checked, Global Warming will bring death to large segments of the world’s population. More specifically, it will reduce if not eliminate the people living in third world countries, with a vehemence never seen before in the history of mankind. In addition, when Florida becomes flooded, even the wealthy will suffer the consequences. Global Warming spares no one, much as volcanoes or hurricanes.
In the eyes of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) the villains behind this nightmarish scenario are not necessarily earthquakes, tectonic plates shifting, meteorites, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, arid deserts, forest fires, unwitting management of sequoia underbrush, or advancing or receding glaciers--these, supposedly, will not bring an end to the earth, and will have limited impacts on the climate. But, though these activities are all beyond the reach or control of human beings, un-abated, man-made pollutions wantonly injected into the earth’s atmosphere will insure a most reprehensible end to all living things.
- Will solar and wind, as recommended by the two leaders, allow us to reverse the trend and save us and world around us?
- Or, will the two resources place our world on a faster track to dooms day?
How did we get to this precipice in the first place? No one seems to know for sure.
Making choices based on available resources
Wood: My family grew up in a rural small town where food came from small, privately-owned, under-producing farms. We used discarded wood very sparingly in the coldest of winter nights: Not because we had any idea about Global Warming; but, because, whatever wood we could scrounge, we used it for very basic cooking. We did not have alternative energy sources, such as petroleum, natural gas, kerosene, or electricity, and never even thought about the issue because we didn’t even know it existed. This all changed in 1947, when my mother and I joined my siblings, who were living in a Boston suburb.
In the basement of my sister’s house were two bins full of coal. As soon as one became empty, Joe, our cousin—first generation American, the coal man, would bring his truck to re-fill the bin. The soot on his face made him un-recognizable, except for evening time. He would come to play cards with my father and uncle--his face as clean as the top of his bald head was shiny.
“How can you stand it?” my uncle asked. He had seen the soot on his nephew’s face on a regular basis.
“Not for much longer,” Joe answered in a voice full of pessimism. He had already heard about the health hazards associated with coal, and the availability of heating oil. On the other hand, he knew he’d be losing his job.
My sisters, though, were concerned about the soot in the basement, which crept into the house. No matter how hard they tried to remove it, the soot kept on being present.
“We have to change to oil,” my sister demanded; and, typically, my brother-in-law quickly obeyed.
Oil: The following year, the bins disappeared and were replaced with a five-hundred gallon oil tank. Before I knew it, the boiler was replaced and the house was heated with an abundant supply of heating oil. No more soot: but, no more Joe delivering coal.
Unknowingly, I became a direct beneficiary from the change. I used the space for body-building (lifting bundled bricks and stones), and honed in on wood-working skills.
We continued using oil for many years, my sisters, especially, happy with the results relating to housekeeping and health. Our only regret, however, was that Joe died, most likely from pneumoconiosis.
Methane Gas: Our third decision to change energy source came many years later. With methane gas in abundance, and with competitive prices, we decided to get rid of the oil tank, and replace it with a single gas line into the house. In its place, we built an office with appropriate shelves (but without books). On the single desk, we placed a desktop computer—the world of free and immediate information was at our finger tips. Books were no more our main source of information, and the house was completely free of residues. To be sure, we kept the chimney clear so the fumes from the gas expelled without obstruction into the atmosphere.
During this time, the abundance of these three sources of energy—coal, oil, and methane—brought about a second revolution in the industrial world. Processing coal from mines became more profitable than ever; and, with the advent of drilling-machines, oil also became available throughout the world. Combined with new methods of mass production, food came into the market in abundance. People, who had never afforded pasta or rice, let alone fresh food sources from other nations, were now able to offset starvation. Many, in fact many who, a generation earlier struggled to stay alive, were now enjoying regenerative ways of living. However, this amelioration did not come without cost both to our earth and its world.
Earth’s volcanoes: The earth itself is not cooperating in maintaining a world environment in keeping with the evolving needs of its human race. Consider volcanic actions alone (notwithstanding hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, forest fires, etc.):
In one eruption, Mt. St. Helens more than infused the environment world-wide with toxicity; it also devastated the landscape for miles and miles, having destroyed trees, animals, and dwellings. While the forest has crept back, human activity is not responding as well.
In the Philippines, Mt. Pinatubo emitted un-measurable amounts of toxicity into the atmosphere, as well as having destroyed surrounding natural and man-made habitats. The large American military base is still closed while the ozone layer is alive and well.
Mauna Hualalai, together with related volcanoes, continues to threaten the very existence of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Continuously spilling toxicity, there is a chance that either the Hawaiian Islands will disappear, or that larger ones will arise.
Avachinsky-Koryaksky, in Russia, though seemingly silent now, examples of its destruction onto the landscape can still be seen today. No one knows its impact to the Ozone layer.
Although the resilient yellow broom flower seems to be challenging the very core of Mt. Vesuvius, in Italy, the casualties it produced in Pompeii in 79 AD will be insignificant compared to the number of residents that might be killed in the surrounding areas should Vesuvius erupt again.
Earth’s Hurricanes: Hurricanes have been around long before humans began to populate the earth. They are responsible overall for more death and destruction than any other natural disaster, their impact being so immense. Though the new European inhabitants saw their first hurricane around 1625, these weather realities have not subsided in time. They simply come and go. And only their devastations remain the memories of the survivors. Talk to any survivor of Katrina with its double whammies: first its waters ran over the entire region; secondly its waters reverted back in the form of a tsunami. What was left standing with the first advance was completely destroyed with the second wave. This was a phenomenon never seen before. It transcended any human action, be of the EPA, the President, the Governor or petty local politicians. Many of those that survived were left standing—still praying.
Scarring the earth: Mining destroys the environment. Mining for coal and drilling for oil, likewise, bring about other kinds of disasters. However, the use of energy (to meet the needs of additional millions of mouths to feed and bodies to keep warm) also contributes to the deterioration of the climate. The claim is not that it doesn’t; the answer is that it does!
The challenge, therefore, rests in the need to keep millions of people from starving to death, and not, at the same time, to restrict the number of births as is presently taking place.
Population control: Communist China limited women to bear one child, and accorded to them any method or means to abort additional children. In view that China’s population has increased beyond a billion people is proof that Mao’s restrictions have not worked out.
In the Western countries, like Europe and America--thanks to all kinds of contraception, including harvesting abortion with federal and state financial support, population growth diminished, due mainly to programs as euthanasia, abortion-on-demand, sterilization, and others. Indeed, the specific population levels of those nations have decreased. Yet, the overall populations of each of those nations have increased by large percentages, thanks to the influx of millions and millions of refugees, complemented by the largest numbers of legal and illegal immigrants. The result is that for too many people, the world has neither ameliorated their daily lives, nor improved their peaceful existence. In 2015, refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Central America, are pouring into Europe and America like never before. These movements are the results of man-made activities, especially political. At the same time, genocides of Christians go unabated and unchallenged.
Have industrial human activities brought about a point of no return? Man-made emissions into the environment are real, and not just because the weather is always unstable.
President Obama in Alaska: While in Alaska to un-name McKinley, President Obama stated that, “Climate change is no longer some far-off problem; it is happening here; it is happening now.” These are the words of Mr. Obama confirming the apocalypse. What are his solutions or alternatives--in view of the fact that life has to go on despite the onslaught of killings by terrorists, by soldiers, or by civilian murderers, or because of the onslaught by drainage into healthy river waters of all kinds of toxic waste?
Nuclear energy: The fourth source of energy, of course, is nuclear. The country (that has excelled in harnessing it) is France, albeit she being the only industrial nation whose economy is well and successfully entrenched on the nuclear source. The problem is that France also has a nuclear arsenal with many warheads; if deployed, France (or any other more or less powerful nation) can completely destroy our world. Because of these fatal potentials, many nations have been loath to also harness nuclear sources for peaceful use. And it is doubtful that America would pursue this route, or that the Vatican itself would be supportive—human life being so precious!
Wind and solar energy: The fifth and sixth sources are wind and solar energy--the two sources with which President Obama and the Pope hope to replace the traditional source of coal, oil, methane, and nuclear, in order to reclaim proper and viable climate controls on behalf of the world so that the human race and other species may continue to prosper.
Can either solar or wind power the blast furnaces that make steel possible? The irony is that mankind has made great strides in its civilization when the above sources were available in abundance. The same civilization fared badly when it depended on wind; and, solar is too new to predict. In view of the physical space it requires—whether on roofs with their impermanent layers of shingles or wood, or on vast landscapes subjugated to soil-water covering panels, solar may not necessarily be the answer to our dilemma.
Holland’s windmills: Wind energy is perhaps the oldest source next to wood. Holland, among other nations, made great use of wind through its effective windmills, used mainly to draw water for irrigation and to power millstones to process all types of grain. In America, these mills were powered by running water. In Holland--necessarily because of its flat terrain, the mills were powered by the wind. As of the beginning of the 20th century, those windmills have all but disappeared. One or two remain as tourist attraction.
Ironically, those windmills have been replaced by gigantic mechanical wind-driven turbines to generate electricity, which continues to be available from coal, oil, methane, and water dams.
Wind-driven turbines: In my mother’s village, electricity was introduced in 1946. Around 1990, three turbines were erected on one of the nearby hills. On being asked on the efficacy, efficiency, productivity, and profitability of the towers--in other words: have the towers earned the costs of purchase and installations? As of that day, the answer was, no—neither then, nor in the foreseeable future.
There was a move to install similar towers in the Cape Cod Bay. Aesthetics was one of the reasons the idea was rejected. People were also concerned with the traffic of birds. But, think of it: how to build something as massive as that, with big units whirring noisy propellers, and with all kinds of connecting cables abounding on a moving landscape fraught with unpredictable waves, snow, and hurricanes? While supporters who wanted to implement the plan had no problems in wanting to create a landscape of anti-nature proportions, those same individuals badgered various land-mining and de-foresting activities in which, thankfully, the environment has and is properly re-claiming itself in due time.
Fields upon fields of solar panels: As for the ubiquitous solar panels--either on walls or on roofs of houses and buildings, or on fields packed with reflecting light (as far and wide as the eye can see), little can be said on their investment returns to the investors. But, it seems, there are many benefits accruing to politicians and to manufactures.
As for the home owners receiving all kinds of sales pitches from the government and industry, they have to consider the meager benefits in rendering cold water into semi-hot water for either personal use or for heating houses. Nevertheless, because of the awareness to reduce the emissions into the environment, private individuals seem to be exploring ways to harness the potentials of solar heat.
Their main challenge, however, is twofold:
1. How to handle the amount of storage space needed for large amounts of water to be stored for general use such as irrigation.
2. How to preserve water to be heated and kept hot over extended periods of time for personal use.
The cistern—potentials: Re-discovering and implementing the Roman system of the cistern through which rain water is collected and directed from high to low ground may not be a bad idea considering the extensive road networks with their unconnected drain systems. Rather than just collect rain water in separate independent mosquito generating, high maintenance drains, whose rain water seeps into the ground—it would make more sense to connect them to a lower ground man-made reservoir for all kinds of usage, at various levels. Consider the useless, mosquito-infested drains on residential streets alone. They store rain water for no good reason other than to create its own pollution: if they were replaced by open or closed viaducts, a more stable and bountiful supply of water could be used to enhance agriculture and to combat those devastating forest fires.
1. In view of the fact that summer and winter weather conditions are determined by the climate, would my sister change to solar energy?
2. Erecting wind turbines in one’s back yard seem to meet EPA standards under most situations: Look around our neighborhoods: they are all over the place! We can even hear them. Would my sister change to wind energy?
Final question: How and where can we replace the water tank--just in case the industry reveals a practical and feasible alternative? First solution: turn the coal bin space (the office with the desktop computer) into an appropriate water tank storage area—a commodity of great value at all times. Thanks to Internet Cloud-like applications, replacing the desktop computer with laptops or pads poses no problem. As it stands, replacing coal, oil, methane, and nuclear energies with wind and solar, on the other hand, will most likely doom the world, and not necessarily its earth.
If scientists cannot agree on the premises of Global Warming, every responsible human being (inclusive of politicians and other zealots) needs to act on one’s preservation, survival, and well-being, by reducing excessive use of any energy source that negatively impacts on the environment.
Conclusion: There is no doubt that the traditional energy sources have led to an increase in population growth in the last 70 years; there is also no doubt that the proposed alternatives will lead to drastic decreases in population growth.
Many scientists believe Global Warming is a threat to all living things on earth. Data bolstering their scientific method which allowed them to draw that conclusion, however, in many cases has been reported as fraudulent in some cases. For the scientists holding the opposite view, their data has not yet been seriously challenged.
There seems to be little doubt that in the future, the earth will become part of our sun, or cast off somewhere in the universe to become part of who knows what other heavenly body.
Presently, our hope is that the prayers of the Pope will enhance the wisdom of our President in resolving the issues surrounding Global Warming.
Adolph Caso is a Regular Contributor to
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