I just read Michael Crichton’s book “State of Fear.” It’s a techno thriller and a page-turner. Although a work of fiction, it has a great message about global warming. Crichton doesn’t deny that the surface temperature of the earth is increasing and that atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased. There is a lot of information that has been distorted by the media and celebrities and we don’t know the real answer regarding the cause of global warming which may be the continuation of a process that has been going on for many years. Some even conclude that we may be near entering another ice age.
Crichton’s message is that anytime we try to politicize science we mess it up. For example, by misdirected efforts to help nature in the National Parks we have upset the balance of nature. Several years ago the Park Service thought that the elk may be endangered and had the wolves and other predators including the American Indian removed. As a result the elk multiplied and over grazed the area, which predisposed to the naturally occurring fires to burn hotter than usual making it impossible for the trees to reseed themselves. The balance of nature was disturbed by our own, so called experts, the Park Service. They are now reintroducing the wolves. Maybe they will let the Indians off the reservations.
The government and a few misdirected celebrities are trying to scare us to death with the idea that the planet is melting and that most of the land not covered by the rising ocean will be reduced to a burned out cinder. All my life, we have had fear of something instilled into us. For me it started with the Great Depression followed by World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and threat of nuclear destruction by the Soviet Union, Viet Nam, Muslim terrorist and now global warming. We live in a state of fear.
Several years ago the pesticide DDT was banned because of the fear that it was causing cancer and upsetting the balance of nature. DDT was a very effective pesticide against the mosquito, which carries the malaria parasite. Since the ban there has been no good scientific evidence that DDT causes cancer and in the meantime it is estimated that about 20 million children in the world have died from malaria and approximately 1 million die each year. That is better than Hitler’s rate of extermination.
Anyway, Michael Crichton in his well-crafted novel, that is as exciting as Jurassic Park, gives some interesting information about global warming. The oceans are not rising and the ice in the Antarctica is even getting thicker. Global warming, like the energy crisis, needs more scientists working on the problem rather than so many lawyers, politicians and celebrities looking for a cause.
I just wish we didn’t have to be scared out of our wits all the time. Like FDR said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That’s one of the nice things I like about the porch. In that Fortress of Solitude, fear stops at the door as long as the TV is turned off.