Climate Change: An Updated History

Climate Change: an Updated History
By Jon Foyt

In his comprehensive history of East versus West down through the millennia, “The West is Ahead…for Now,” (Farrar, Straus, New York, 2010) Stanford archaeologist and geographer Ian Morris recounts the episodes throughout the eons of our Earth’s existence in which our climate has changed and adjusted. These long-ago events altered our planet’s weather, as well as her sea levels, creating new and different configurations. (During the several ice ages, of course, the oceans subsided. With glaciers melting, sea levels rose again.)
Morris also tells of certain geological occasions on which occurred a shifting of the Earth’s axis with profound effects on seasons, rainfall, crops, and glacier size. From time to time, certain other astronomical adjustments changed our climate, depending where on Earth you were, producing heating and chilling and hosts of side effects in between.
Then there were the meteors barreling down upon us from outer space and striking our planet, creating all kinds of ramifications, billowing up dust clouds and, for long dark years, wiping out the sun’s warming rays. That was when Dinosaurs became extinct along with other species, as once again our earth experienced dramatic climate change.
So therefore, you may rightly ask, what’s the big deal today about this alleged climate change that the media, the scientists, and the politicians are talking about? Many scientists are warning us of dire consequences; meteorologists are predicting that melting glaciers will thaw Greenland into a truly green land; geographers are telling us that rising ocean levels will flood seaside cities and resorts—that higher levels of San Francisco Bay will inundate important places like SFO and Oakland airports and, perhaps even worse, our Fisherman’s Wharf. Why, they might even be forecasting Sausalito houseboats floating up Market Street. Yes, they advise, it’s time for you to worry about that cozy seaside rental in Stinson Beach being swept away out to sea where it may finally hit land again on the still-visible tip of the Farallon Islands.
In disagreement, certain right wing politicians are telling us that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by nutty liberals who simply want to impose more restrictive regulations on government and on business, thus eroding still further the bottom line profits of giant multinational corporations.
Speaking of bottom lines, here’s the scientific climate change bottom line: Writing in The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brian Vastag report: “Scientists are increasingly convinced that the uptick in heat waves and heavier rainfall is linked to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, posing a heightened risk to the world’s population…”
Yes, today’s climate change is man- and woman-made. We are doing dastardly deeds to ourselves. The culprit this time is not nature. Nor is it some wandering meteor lurking in the sky. This time it is not some movement induced by the Earth shifting on its axis one restless night. No, the perpetrators today are chemicals such as carbon emissions from cars, trucks, factories, mines and those other human-induced industrial discharges that are belched into the atmosphere. They each eat away at the Earth’s natural shield that keeps our oxygen in and filters out the sun.
In other words, we are destroying the planet’s built-in natural regulators that have been with us since the Earth itself came into existence. We—you and I, right here in Rossmoor—and the pollutant emitting corporations here and in China, Russia, and Mexico and everywhere else on Earth are the responsible parties.
The fear is that nothing’s going to halt the relentless advance of this battalion of adverse forces that continues to heat up the planet. Some day soon these unstoppable forces will turn the Earth into a lifeless hunk of rock with ocean levels lapping at its peaks. That is, unless we—you, and I, and the culpable corporations and our governments unite and, together, take appropriate action to mitigate these planet-threatening effects.
After examining the facts, any serious person must conclude that there is no basis or evidence upon which to logically dispute the verified scientific facts that confirm the threat of global warming. The special interests, who are trying to sell us a contrary story of gobbledygook, get their material from the campaigns of right wing politicians who don’t want their corporate donors to be required to spend money to control these hideous emissions because that money spent will reduce bottom line corporate profits. Yes, for sure, keeping those corporate stock prices up is due to play out in tandem with the tragedy of ignoring the Earth’s crisis and putting down our very human survival.

Jon Foyt, a Rossmoor published novelist, has completed his tenth novel, Time to Retire, set in an active adult retirement community. He posts his Blog at and can be contacted at



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