Give Henny Penny a Rest

Bill Neinast

Henny Penny, or Chicken Little as she is sometimes known in the U.S., is confused.  She does not know what part of the sky is falling.

For much of the past few years, there was no problem.  Al Gore was pointing the way for her.  The sky was not falling.  Actually, according to Gore, the sky was so firmly in place that it was trapping the world’s heat.  If that sky did not fall and let heat escape, human existence would be in danger.

Henny became confused, however, when she read the headline “New Ice Age may begin by 2030” in the July 17, 2015, issue of INNOVATIONS REPORT, the Forum for Science, Industry and Business.

Another ice age just around the corner was the conclusion of British and Russian paleontologists at a conference in Wales.  Their findings were based on new methods of measuring the magnetic fields and cycles of the sun.

In essence, these scientists developed a program that predicts that solar cycles will cancel each other out between 2020 and 2030.

This, they say, will lead to a phenomenon known as the “Maunder minimum,” commonly  known as the mini ice age between 1646 and 1715. 

Notwithstanding reports like these, the Al Gore propaganda machine has traumatized so many that some believe President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris  Climate Accord dooms human civilization.  Unrelenting heat will kill millions and other millions will die because food production will plummet from the resulting droughts.

There seems to be no concern, however, for the other scenario.  A mere 200 years ago, 1816 was known as the year without a summer.  In Europe, there were frosts in August and temperatures never got high enough to grow food.  Grain warehouses were looted and riots broke out throughout Europe.

Obviously, both heat and cold affect what, how, and when we eat.

Just as obvious in these debates over the climate and its effect on human existence, however, are two unassailable facts.

First, the climate is changing.  It always has and always will.  It will get warmer in the future and it will get cooler in the future.  The length of each warm or cool period will depend on factors beyond the control of man.  

Volcanic eruptions like the one that caused the year without a summer, meters like the one that caused the demise of dinosaurs, solar flare ups or burn outs like the ones some scientists are saying will cause a new ice age in only  13 years are all possible.  Any one of those and probably others not yet experienced will have more effect on the climate than anything man can or will do.

The other unassailable fact is the adaptability of man.  Just look at our history.

Learning to make and use fire for both food and comfort.  This conquered the cold.

The carbon burned in those first fires was the easily available wood.  Then came that sticky black stuff oozing out of the earth.  Next, harnessing electricity and learning how to generate it with flowing water, wind, and most recently with solar and nuclear power. 

The easy availability of electricity also permitted the development of air conditioning, which conquered the heat.  This led, in part, to the redistribution of the population of the U.S.  We now have the so called Rust Belt in the northern, colder regions of the country with declining populations. Simultaneously, the south and southwest where the blistering climate is being controlled by AC is booming.

This ability to warm and cool, however, deals only with the comfort of the human body.  What about furnishing food for that body?

Again, look at man’s adaptability.  Consider Israel.  When that country was recreated after WWII, there was concern about how the inhabitants could sustain life in a desert like environment.  

That concern is no longer mentioned, because, as noted in history, “Israel made the desert bloom.”  They developed low volume irrigation systems and other methods that  produce crops never thought possible.

So here’s the perspective.

Because of the adaptability of man, innovations like those discussed here will continue to develop with the changing climate, whether hot or cold.

So let’s give Henny Penny a rest.  Assure her that the sky might be getting hotter or cooler, but that it is not falling.  It is just being its same old self.


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