Dirty Little Secrets of Mother Nature – Part 1
© Copyright 2009
We have seen that the ‘Dirty Thirties‘ was caused primarily by humans. The ‘Funkycide’ (herbicide), Fifties’ destroyed a lot of life forms and caused more deficits in soil nutrients. We have seen the sterile consequences of hybrids and the total takeover of seeds by chemical companies. We looked at the health quality of animals due to human interference for higher yields and greater profits. We have seen some of consequences of an imbalanced pH. We have looked at the horrific possibility of mutations and the frightening potential of genetic engineering. What other possible consequences could there have been, due to human invasion?
Flash Back to the Times of the Incas & Aztecs
These civilizations were highly advanced and they kept detailed records. It is estimated that their population were around 60 million or roughly 9% of the total world population at the time. Central and South America was the primary location of these people and to sustain the population, forests were cut down and replaced with farmland and crops of over 193,000 square miles.
In the 16th century, Europeans began to explore the area and they brought with them, diseases unknown to the Incas & Aztecs. In an article for Discovery, Monday December 22nd, 2008, Michael Riley wrote…
“…the diseases Europeans brought to the New World decimated native peoples. With no natural defense against smallpox, yellow fever, and a host of exotic new pathogens, 90 percent of the population was dead by 1600.
According to Richard Nevle of Bellarmine College Preparatory School, in San Jose, California and co-author Dennis Bird of Stanford University, farmland no longer being used in an area the size of California, allowed the return of the rainforest and it sucked most of the carbon dioxide (CO2 ), out of the atmosphere.
Around 1500 until 1750, global temperatures fell, but were even more cataclysmic in northern Europe.
“We see a similar sort of reforestation following a real
crash in population after the Black Death, from 1350 to 1450.”
Jed Kaplan of Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland
A 2008 study of sediment cores and soil samples further suggests that carbon sequestration via reforestation in the Americas contributed to the Little Ice Age.
The Little Ice Age was a time of cooler climate in many parts of the world, especially northern Europe. Although there is some disagreement about exactly when the Little Ice Age started, there is a consensus that it ended around 1850 when the climate began to warm.
In 1816, there was severe weather changes and many crops were destroyed. This was the year called, ‘The Year Without a Summer,’ ‘The Poverty Year,’ and ‘The Year There Was No Summer.’ Northern Europe, the American Northeast and eastern Canada seemed to be hardest hit. Temperatures plummeted and summer was just another winter of snow, frost, and ice. In July and August, lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania.
Many believe following the hardness of this year in the North east part of the United States, this was the begining of the westward expansion, when people began to move towards the midwest in search of better land and milder climate.
This same year (1816), a young woman of eighteen, her husband and a famous poet had made arrangements to vacation together in Switzerland. The weather was so cold and generally lousy, they were held up in their living quarters and amused themselves by reading ghost stories. It is intersteing to note that this period is often referred to as the time of gothic romance. One of the characteristics of this writing style can be summed up with a sample first line, “It was a dark and stormy night.” This most likely, was reflective of these times.
A challenge was put to the three companions to see who could write the scariest story. Only one completed the challenge. The story became a full length novel and was published two years later. It was filled with imagery and descriptions, no doubt reflective of these strange climatic changes.
At the age of 21, Mary Shelley published ‘Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus.’ Part of the story deals with the creator, Dr. Frankenstein and another with the monster he created. Critics and reviewers have hypothesized and believe that there are so many parallels between the Dr. and the monster; they are one and the same. Shelly’s original title included the ancient Greek mythological Titan named Prometheus.
Prometheus tried to bring fire to humankind. The consequences of this action so angered the Olympic god Zeus, that he was bound to a rock, his liver was eaten by an eagle each day, it was regenerated each night and his fate would continue in this manner for eternity.
The traumatic events of 1816 have been directly attributed to volcanic activity and specifically the eruption and aberrations of Mount Tambora between April 5 – 15th, 1815. This super volcano threw enormous amounts of ash into the upper atmosphere. It is believed to have been the largest eruption to that point, in over 1,600 years.
Nature, whether due to man made problems or internal stress, responds in effort to correct itself.
Basic Laws & Principles:
“To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Newton’s Third Law of Motion
“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
“All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world
is for enough good men (women too), to do nothing.“
WOW, this stuff is really getting dirty! We are not done. There is much more to come and more ‘Dirty Little Secrets‘ to share next time.