The Pandemic has given all of us some time to reflect and in doing so, some interesting questions have popped up. Now 10 weeks into researching and writing a book on nutrition and human health, I noticed the extremely blue skies during a slightly volatile winter. The sky was just "too blue" for early March and it made me wary. Blue skies belong in deserts not East Coast rural farmland. Was I finally losing my perspective after a year at home or is this nagging feeling that something is wrong worth looking into?
I suppose I started
noticing the sky after my granddaughter was born. Always fascinated by
clouds and stars myself, I hoped that she would come to Grammie's and
sit on the back stoop and imagine what the clouds were. But as i dreamt
of those days, I got a funny feeling that might never be possible. I
hadn't seen actual CLOUDS in a while--you know, the kind that move
across the sky and blot out the sun for a few brief moments only to
travel on as quickly as they had come. Regardless of what the weather
predicted, the skies here were overcast or completely clear. The few
times that the fluffy, white variety made an appearance, they were low
on the horizon and never high up in the sky. What had happened to the
clouds that I knew as a child? What did that mean for the long summer
ahead? What did it mean for the environment that depended on them?
I had stopped listening to the panicked news reports of greenhouse gases causing global warming a long time ago. I did not doubt there was something out there that was wrong with the environment but I knew carbon dioxide gas was not the cause of the heat wave that would hit every July nor did it keep my car windows from icing over for several months in the winter.
My education as a kid had been a good
one. As a child of the Space Race when the term STEM (Science
Technology Engineering and Mathematics) was first coined, a good
understanding of science was one thing I had been given. Following that
with a college education that included physical science, sociology,
psychology, microbiology and human growth and development, I knew the
mass of a carbon dioxide atom was not large enough to hold heat for
very long. To further punctuate the misguided nature of greenhouse
gases, conduction of heat required sustained contact between molecules
and gas molecules did not touch each other often enough or long enough
to do that. As a farmer/ gardener, I had experienced the difference
between soil temperature and air temperature every March. Planting
could start when soil temperatures reached 55 degrees even when air
temperatures were much lower. The sun warmed the Earth, not carbon
But if greenhouse gases weren't destroying the
clouds as computer models said so, what was causing this phenomenon.
More importantly, why did no one realize that without clouds, the suns
rays would not be reflected back into space where such radiation could
do little harm.
Surely, science had not become that ingrained into computers that people did not realize that clouds had a vitally important role in redistributing moisture and minerals around the globe. As beautiful as they are, clouds perform a major cleaning process in the environment by taking high concentrations of mineral compounds (gaseous) and with water as a kind of glue, returning them to farmland and vegetation far away from where cities produce the nasty smog.
As I was pondering the science that was so simply taught
to me in elementary school, I wondered if people understood why
greenhouse gas theory was wrong and why blue skies were not a good thing
to have. It had been fifty years since the Clean Air Act of 1970 was
passed, had they been taught something different than what I had been