Friday, September 08, 2006


Perhaps because I am growing old, perhaps because of casual chats with my grandson who is into Physics, my mind has frequently left Earth behind and soared into the vastness of space. I am literally ignorant of most of it, but it still can enthrall me to consider that we depend upon the slowly, slowly diminishing sun, Our Star, as our source of life. In today's world, in articles and books, it is not the fading sun that worries the scientific community. It is the health of the planet Earth itself!

Look up into the sky and consider the fact that galaxy after galaxy of stars and undiscovered planets exist, traveling into infinity. Now my mind has trouble comprehending infinity. Everything in my world has a start and a finish. There is day, there is night. There is life, there is death. There is joy, there is sorrow. How can there be an infinity?

As my sister-in-law, Connie, used to say, "I can accept the existence of God. But, if I start wondering where God came from, I could go insane!"

It's the same with infinity. The idea of endless space, without a beginning or an end, is impossible for the human mind to picture. And, if infinity is a space filled with the stars and planets that we see in our various methods of observation, then Earth is simply a dot in the mammoth extension of space, a flyspeck in the realm of this infinity.

Here we consider ourselves important but, in fact, there could be many Earths, many planets sustaining some form of life. Will we ever know the answer to this? I don't know, but the search for extraterrestial life has given us plots for thousands of books and movies, if nothing else.

Now Scientists are warning that our planet is suffering from the effects of auto emissions and other, more minor, sources of chemicals being released into the atmosphere. Also, it has recently been discovered that methane gases are oozing from an earth once frozen, now warming at an alarming rate. Our climate has warmed to a point where glaciers are melting and certain creatures are losing their habitat.

I saw a clip of a band of polar bears, frantically swimming toward shore, their huge bodies submerged in the icy water. It is said that most of them drown, since they cannot reach the shore and the ice floes that formerly supported them are now gone. This has, of course, deprived them of a food source and it may be that polar bears will become extinct, creatures of the past like the mammoth and the dinosaur.

Of course, as with any Scientific Theory, there are those who scoff and cry foul! Our current government administration seems to ridicule the theory of Global Warming and some claims have been made that they have actually forbidden it to be included in any governmental document.

One would hate to think that their interest in oil had anything to do with this ridicule, but the truth is, almost every one of our top leaders have a hefty interest in the health of the oil industry. I don't suppose polar bears are very important when it comes to profits.

The warnings the scientists have voiced are dire. They believe that Global Warming could lead to the eventual destruction of human life on Earth, and they describe the future with chilling exactness. As the Earth warms and the icefields melt, the coastlines of our continents will start eroding and falling into the seas. Eventually, some peninsulas like Florida, could virtually disappear, causing millions of homeless refugees to wander in search of new lives....somewhat like our Katrina refugees scattered across the country, and that was only about a million people!

Climate change, too, will encompass many strange phenonema. More inclement weather, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, droughts. Mid-USA could become the Dust Bowl, worse than the one encountered several years ago. Crops would fail to grow. Starvation could await all humanity. And the oceans would continue to rise.

In a movie, Bruce Willis would figure out a way to save Earth, a stalwart hero performing a miraculous feat. But, holding back oceans is not an easy task nor is cooling an overheated Earth. The scientists say it is too late now to halt Global Warming, but then again, they say it might be slowed down. But how could this be accomplished?

The answer is simple....alternative fuel! This is the substance that President Bush said in his State of the Union message was essential. He even visited a company in Detroit working on this problem. However, he has forgotten to heavily fund this endeavor. It should be a first priority. It should be on the first line of the national budget. It should be of far more importance than wars and oil. But it is not.

Whether it is with corn, electricity or some other substance not tried before, finding an alternative source of fuel is a necessity. Even if you do not believe in Global Warming, an alternative fuel would be advantageous in many ways. It would relieve our dependency on those culturally different Middle Eastern countries. It would create a new industry, new jobs, new horizons. And it just might reduce the carbons in the atmosphere and halt the destruction of that ozone layer. It's worth a try!

A friend of mine, whose name is Lucy and who grows organic vegetables on her farm in Ohio, Boulder Belt Farm, pointed out that using Ethanol as an alternative fuel would simply create another series of moguls. Instead of Oil Barons, we would have Corn Kings. Things would be fine at first, but then they would raise their prices and raise their profits, as the oil companies have been doing.

This may be true, but the beautiful possibility of those endless rows of crops in our Corn Belt fueling our cars and heating our homes could be a great solution to our current problems. Our mobility would no longer depend upon the Middle Eastern sheiks, who seem to tuck their profits in their pockets, if those robes have pockets, and allow their people to live in poverty. To cut off our purchase of oil from them is not going to ruin their economies too heavily, since the profits do not seem to reach the populace. If it deprived a rich Arab of a new gold faucet, oh, well....

And that great American staple, Corn on the Cob, could attain an even greater place in American history!