Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Facing Reality—Climate Change

Birder Laura Erickson has some powerful things to say about what science is and what is wrong with the current administration's willful mishandling of science in her post "Facing Reality—Climate Change."

1 comment:

mrjumbo said...

When I was in grade school, more than once on a slow day the teacher put in the old movie "Hemo the Magnificent," about the wonders of blood and the circulatory system. Terrific film, mixing live characters and animated ones, and I know others who still remember the lessons in it to this day.

Many years later I learned some of the reasons the movie came off so well. Bell Telephone sponsored it (you remember, the guys who invented the transistor?), and a host of cartoon talents, from Disney and elsewhere, added their mojo. More to my adult surprise, it was written and directed by Frank Capra, a guy known for a few other successful flicks. No wonder it stuck in the memory.

"Hemo" was made in 1957. It belonged to a series of science films produced by Capra, though not all directed by him. I don't know why it's the only one from the series that I remember seeing in school.

I got the DVD of "Hemo" several months ago, for $14 on Amazon. On the same DVD was "The Unchained Goddess," about Meteora, the goddess of weather, and what scientists have learned to debunk her out of existence. "Goddess" came out in 1958. Counting on my fingers, that was . . . um, I didn't have any fingers yet. Al Gore would have been in sixth grade. George W. Bush would have been in seventh. A long time ago.

So here's what science said back then about the world we live in--that is to say, this was a scientific idea prominent enough and reliable enough and interesting enough in 1958 to find its way into an hourlong movie designed to give a brief understanding of general weather science to schoolkids and the general public:

"Even now, man may be unwittingly changing the world's climate through the waste products of his civilization. Due to our release through factories and automobiles every year of more than six billion tons of carbon dioxide (which helps air absorb heat from the sun), our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer!"