Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 28, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Catastrophic climatic changes forecast Thursday, March E LETHBRIDQE HERALD-5 By Cleo Mowers, Herald editor and publisher The heavy rains last summer and snows this winter in northern Alberta, and the disastrous five-year drought in north-central Africa any connection? You bet there is, according to Fortune Magazine, and that's only the start of it. The world is on the verge of catastrophic changes in its climate, it says. A mini ice- age is rapidly setting in. A billion people could starve. This alarming report is in the February issue of one of the most responsible and authoritative periodical publications in the world. Like all Fortune articles it has been elaborately researched. The basic thesis is from Dr. Reid Bryson, who founded and still heads the University of Wisconsin meteorology department, now the largest m the U.S. Support for his diagnosis is overwhelming but not'unanimous. Dr. Kenneth Hare, one of Canada's foremost geographers, one- time president of the University of British Columbia and now director of environment research for the Canadian government, says Bryson is "the most important figure in climatology and while he is more conservative than Bryson, he insists that Bryson must be taken very seriously. More than three years in a row like 1972, says Hare, and massive global starvation would be unavoidable. To paraphrase the article further, the best climate anywhere is what mankind has been living with. Any change, for the warmer or BERRY'S WORLD cooler, for the wetter or drier, is bad anywhere. And these changes are at hand. Only years ago, geographers say, almost all of Canada, including the site of Lethbndge, was buried under thousands of feet of ice. Several times this part of the globe changed from marshland to sea to dry land, laying down the coal and oil and the rock layers between. But it has always been assumed the climatic changes were imperceptible. You could always count on the climate, if not the weather. The Bryson argument disputes that. One researcher who supports Bryson says the last years, which have seen the establishment of civilization, have also seen the warmest global temperatures in the last years. And in the first half of this century, which saw the world's population double, the northern hemisphere was unduly warm. Now, says Fortune; "there's good reason to believe that the world's climate is reverting rapidly to its less beneficient norm." Iceland is considered a good indicator of climate in the northern hemisphere. For the first time this century, drifting ice is impeding entry to Iceland's ports. The fishing fleets, which earlier this century ranged much farther north than usual, are now hemmed in farther southward again. The hay crop is yielding 25 per cent less than 20 years ago. England's growing season has been reduced by two weeks in the last 25 years. Chmatologists now say that over the last years, global temperatures were colder than now for 95 per cent of the time. Within the cycles there have been many oscillations. A "little ice age" from 1600 to 1900 was preceded by a long warmer period and succeeded by 50 years of unusual balminess. Prior to 1600 Greenland coasts were habitable. England grew grapes. Fortune quotes the authorities along this line: Warm air rises from the equators and fans out north and south, and huge cold air masses hang around the polar regions. Where the warm hits the cold, the interaction coupled with the twist given by the earth's rotation establishes the climate for much of the habitable part of the world. But now the north polar air mass has grown, pushing the confrontation with the equatorial-born air hundreds of miles farther south. This is pushing the Sahara southward, pushing the monsoons out of India and southeast Asia and establishing a drought belt around the world where previously there was enough rainfall at the right time to sustain large populations. Why is the world cooling, which causes the polar air masses to extend southward? Here there is less agreement. Since it is cyclical, has it something to do with events in the solar system beyond the earth? Part of the explanation is in the degree of absorption of sunlight, which heats the earth's surface. Snow, ice and clouds reflect the sunlight and thus reduce the global temperature, causing more snow, ice and clouds. A factor here is the increase in carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere, caused by all the automobiles and factories in the last couple of generations. This lets the light through but tends to hold back the heat caused on the earth by the light in other words a greenhouse effect. That may have partially explained the high temperatures of the last 50 years, but it cannot offset the much greater forces now at work. Bryson points out that volcanoes spew their dust around the world, and that dust keeps out some of the sunlight. For the first half of the century volcanic activity was light. Now it is heavier. More dust and less sunlight is being observed all around the world. Some of the dust may be coming from man's activities. Intensive agriculture, over- grazing, the slash-and-burn approach to land clearing especially in the tropics, may be partially at fault. But whatever the cause of less reaching the earth, climatologists say that a reduction of just one per cent might be enough to bring back the glaciers. One of the authorities quoted by Fortune suggests that the high North American crop yields of the last 15 years are due as much to fortuitous weather as to good land management, and the chances of repeating that weather pattern are one in ten thousand. This does not mean the drought will hit here. On the contrary the trend will be for colder and wetter climate in western North America, warmer and drier in the east. Too much rain and snow and not enough good growing weather will be the concern here. Earlier civilizations may have born and died as a result of climatic changes, it is now widely felt. And even now, as the Sahara moves south, for instance, newly arable lands may be left behind. But whereas in earlier days people could move with the climate, today the heavy population and the rigidity of national boundaries reduce man's capacity for keeping out of the way of deserts. In view of the climatic shift now under way, what about massive man-made adjustments of the world's geography? The USSR, for instance, plans to divert southward for irrigation many huge rivers that now flow into the Arctic. Their fresh water, fanning out over the heavier salt water, helps to keep an ice cover on the Arctic. Remove that and the more rapid evaporation might speed up the glaciation process and worsen the climatic after- effects. In any case, the article concludes, wild fluctuations in climate had better be expected. "In writing the equations for mankind's survival, we'd better allow plenty of margin for error." Hidden meanings Walking in another's footsteps might be the easy way, but it may not take you where you want to go. Herald reporter Book Students and sardines By Terry Morris, local writer Dieting without tears 1974 by NEA. Inc "What the devil is that noise one of your new rock records or the vacuum "Regimen For Weight Control in Retired Couples and Others Wbo Want to Control Weight by Charles N. Aronson, (Charles N. Aronson Book Publisher, 114 This is a delightful little book about food, eating and reducing painlessly. Charles Aronson, the 60-year-old author, maintains the key to successful weight control is following a regimen that is not only good for you but is fun to live with for the rest of your life. Unless a diet is both good for you and fun to do, it will not survive long enough to be of lasting benefit to you. If it was not natural, normal and nutritious for us to get all the vitamins and minerals and energy we need from a normal daily diet, we wouldn't be here today. We would have become extinct thousands of centuries ago. The key to Aronson's approach to eating and dieting is a person can eat all he wants of anything he wants (excepting snacks, candy, pastry and dessert) as long as he only has two meals a day. As your life began you were fed continuouously through. your mother's umbilical cord. After up to nine months of that you came squalling and kicking into the light of day and were fed about every two hours, day and' night, for a while. When you were weaned, they put you on a schedule of three meals a day plus three large snacks. This adds up to six times a day and you have been eating six times a day ever since. The author's suggestion is to eat only twice a day. The book is a witty expansion of this thesis. It also includes useful hints on retirement and how to get the most out of living. I strongly recommend this book, having, during my penniless student days in Dublin (before government loan and grants were ever thought survived on one meal a day while residing at a bed-and breakfast establishment run by a gorgon. Later in any bachelor days in Winnipeg, while living as a journalist the experiment of eating on a once every 24 hours schedule was repeated. This book could have been entitled "Dieting Without Tears." ERNEST MARDON Wishy-washy authors "Flying on the Ground" by Emerson Fittipaldi and Elizabeth Hayward. (Clarke, vour mends Irwin and Co. Ltd., 256 pages, All the way through this book, the reader keeps getting the feeling that the co- authoress would rather be writing about herself than about Fittipaldi. One would assume you are reading the book to learn about Fittipaldi, after all. who is what's her name anyway? Fittipaldi, incidentally is the 1972 world champion racing driver. It is a wishy-washy book, with neither author willing to take a strong stand on any controversial aspect of racing, the courses or the drivers. It is hard to write a book about something as controversial as auto racing and not tread on some toes, but this book manages it. Oh. they give feeble little wrist slaps to some tracks and mention that Graham Hill should retire, but then praise the subjects, covering up their little ventures into the realm of the Howard Cosell-type of realism by "telling it like it Miss Hayward reminds one of Johnny Carson, more concerned with her own opinions than she is with those of the person she's interviewing. The only spot in the book that holds moch merit is the section concerning the safety aspects of car racing. Not having to worry about offending anyone, the less than dynamic duo delve into cockpit capsules for drivers. proper training for marshalls, medical facilities, firefighting procedures and helicopter ambulance service at tracks "You're wasting your time." said a colleague. "No one really cares how many kids are jammed into a classroom. Why not forget The trouble with overloaded classes is that it's a problem you can't and shouldn't just forget or sweep under the carpet. All the fine talk about exciting innovations and new projects is nothing more than talk when teachers face class loads touching the 50 mark. Mediocre mass schooling makes a mockery of individualized instruction which is supposed to be a cornerstone of the educational Kohouteks that limp across our educational horizons. Some claim that class size does not influence what a child may learn. Generally, these are people who avoid the classroom like the plague. Their reasons for not teaching or doing as little as possible would fill a well stocked library the fiction section that is. Those who are left to do the work know that class size does make a difference. No one claims that a smaller class will guarantee better instruction. A poor teacher is likely to be poor with 10 or 50 students but it seems to make sense that the smaller the class load the easier it will be to provide some form of individual instruction. A massive research study by the Institute of Administrative Research of Columbia University gave solid support to teachers alarmed about increasing class loads. One conclusion was, "Any way one tries to slice it. smaller classes produce significantly higher scores than large ones." Perhaps even more important than educational research is common sense. How can one provide personal attention for students when numbers are soaring into the forties? This is a point long accepted by certain sections of our school systems. Classes in special education, industrial arts, special options and activity programs are limited to a handful of children or at the most, half a class. Children in elementary grades, the most crucial part of our school program, are left to find their own salvation in a process of mass schooling that is unfair and ridiculous. Is there any solution to this creeping cancer that flourishes so easily in our elementary schools' The provincial government could provide more funds to local school boards and stipulate that it be used to hire more classroom teachers. Unfortunately, there is little indication that government or tax payers are willing to pour extra money into education. If parents and teachers are really worried about class loads they must let the minister of education know about their concern. It's futile to expect government to meet all our needs. Extraaiielp can be expected but there is a limit to what we can squeeze from government revenues. Could our school boards make better use of local resources? Teachers are understandably concerned about the use of para professionals in schools but is it essential for every school activity to be conducted by a fully trained teacher' Emotions run very high when the subject of teacher aides is raised but surely trustees and teachers can come to some agreement about the use of paid and volunteer aides, and skilled non teaching staff in our schools? Finally, what about the army of non- teaching personnel who do little if any teaching? In another article we'll examine in detail the enormous cost in time and money of these individuals. For the time being let it be said that our school systems support more paper and pencil pushers than Dr. Parkinson and Dr Peter could ever imagine in their wildest dreams. If everyone took their fair share of the teaching load we could reduce the number of over loaded classes and give our students a better break. Up to now, all protests about class size have met a wall of indifference. It's not a popular subject, there are no promotion points to be gained by advocating smaller classes, and the students who are being shortchanged have no political power they can use. If you open a can of sardines you'll find about 11 of them and very little room for any more. In fact, not only would it be physically impossible to pack many more in the can. but you can be sure there would be a government inspector keeping a close watch to guard against over-crowding. Lucky sardines unlucky students. The night skies By Helen Sctraler, local writer Wdker's Special among other safety precautions AH in ali. unless you are a died in the wool racing fan and buy every book on the subject, or are related to the authors, don't waste your SS GARRY ALLISON "Slowly, silently, now the moon Walks the night in its silv'ry shoon." These words from an old poem always come into my mind on nights when the moon is at its full brilliance, bathing the whole earth in its radiance. I wonder how many of us, living as we do. surrounded by the walls and artificial lights of our cities, ever see the beauty of the night Perhaps some of us have memories of winter sleigh rides, with moonlight glittering on the crisp snow that crunches under oar runnei s. Perhaps we have gazed up at the great dome above us. sparkling with a myriad stars or glowing with shimmering curtains of northern lights. Perhaps we have breathed the fresh sweetness that only a spring night can have. Some of us may have sprawled on a hill-top on a summer's night, enjoying the coolness after a sizzling summer's day. or ridden, our skittish horses shying at every bush and shadow, through hills made soft and mysterious in Uie full moon's light We have paddled our canoe up a silvery pathway on a Cypress Hills lake, then walked up the wild rose-scented trail, past where lire-flies glimmered in a swampy area, to where oar tent awaited, in the shelter of a big spruce In the badlands the beauty of the stark hills in the moonlight was such that we couW not sleep, bat must wander and drink it in. I have travelled through the Bow Valley in the dead of wmter, and marvelled at the coM purity of the mountains, the moonlight brilliant on their mantles of snow. Nights in the city are terrifying. We caution our children not to be out after dark, we lock our houses, and shut oat the night with closed drapes and bright lights. We are afraid Away from the city there is no fear in the night, only a heightened awareness a reawakening of all our senses, deadened by our indoor existence. Walking down a iamiliar trail in the bush or on the prairie becomes a new and exciting experience, each lurn revealing some special enchantment, each hill revealing a new. changed vista The eyes of the night are curious rather than threatening For us there is no threat How many of our children will ever have memories of night as a time to be enjoyed: a time when the world is different, a special time Or will they, as we city dwellers now do. always fear it and bold it at bay with locks and walls and artificial lights Take Ihem sometime, on a night when the moon is high. or on a crisp still clear winters night, or a soft spring night, or in the fall when the coyotes sing and the leaves rustle down to take them away from the city from Uie lights and let them taste the beauty, mystery and peace of nighl An hour sifting on a coulee hill or walking through the woodland is an adventure and costs only your time Perhaps you might enjoy it too!