Thinking: About the Earth

I started reading about astromy in my early teens. It was the first elective I took in college.
When I was hit by the idea of global warming in my mind was a picture of a glowing sphere a little like the sun, but not nearly as bright and much more beautiful.
I knew where the earth came from because I knew where the universe came from and so I knew how horrendous, how criminal, how cruel was what we were doing to the earth. And how negligent. How unaware. How preoccupied with trivia compared to the fate of the earth.
I knew the solar system was in a spiral galaxy something like the one below and that the galaxy was much bigger and that the universe was collosal. Well, have a look at this little video and it will add a bit to the picture: click HERE for the big picture.I have alwayes felt, when thinking of the comfort, generousity and fragility of the earth, the need to go back to the beginning which is how its creation began and which is so collosal that it must affect our thinking and our feelings about the universe. Click on the egg for the full story.
The cosmic background radiation of the universe at age 380,000 years, just after it cooled enough so atoms could be formed and it became transparent. Earlier and the universe was opaque. The various colored areas are galaxies or galatic clusters.
380,000 years is a critical mark in the history of the universe.
Before this time the universe was too hot for atoms to form. However this “time-line” breaks out the stages from the big bang until it cooled enough for the light atoms: helium, hydrogen and lithium, to form. These were the material from which stars were made.
A spiral galaxy similiar to the Milky Way. The solar system lies in one of the outer arms of the Milky Way.
Earthrise Apollo 8, 1968
A simple projection of the earth’s temperature made by “curve-fitting” to NASA temperature data.
The single exponential curve gives a rough idea of future temperature based primarily on the increases over the past 60 years. It suggests that 2020 is a critical time since at this point the temperature is not only rising, but the rate at which it is rising is increasing. It implies that if we have any time left to bring things under control, it is a very small amount of time.
How small? We should have begun corrective efforts 60 years ago. Each year that has gone by has made it more and more difficult to call a hault. In 1988 James Hansen, one of the leading authorities on climate change, addressed congress and explained the situation.
The second George Bush was presidnet and made an attempt with the United Nations to start the proceess going. The attempt went nowhere. This was an extraordinarily important and likely decisive turning point. Permanent serious damage had already begun, but no significant (in this context windmills and solar were a drop in the bucket) progress was made, namely that power generation and transportation, the heart of the problem, continued to grow in carbon output and continue to grow today. (If I had the strength I would scream those words loudly enough to shatter every window on the planet.) This is stupidity beyond belief and the topic of the next section.
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