THE SCIENCE OF THE FAITHFUL IN NEED OF AIR CONDITIONING,By Louise Annarino

6 Jul

THE SCIENCE OF THE FAITHFUL IN NEED OF AIR CONDITIONING by Louise Annarino, July 5, 2012

 

In High School Biology class Sister Clare Louise,Ph.D. opened our minds to the endless possibilities of life within our universe and beyond it. Her brilliance and enthusiasm drew us to her class like moths to the flame. She turned us into scientists, explorers of our natural world, formulating theories as easily and readily as breathing. Professor Alrutz, biology professor at nearby Dennison University, was a frequent guest lecturer who gave us the most instructive advice of our lives: “Do what you love, despite what anyone else says, what pays best, and what seems the most reasonable course. You will only die happy by having lived life doing what you love.” Dr. Alrutz and Sister Clare Louise loved science and they gave that love to their students.

 

Our first field trip was to Cranberry Bog sitting afloat in Buckeye, Lake near Newark, Ohio. How delighted we were to row out to the island and bounce our way across its primordial surface of peat, grinning and springing bogonauts on a mission of discovery. The history of the bog’s creation, its ancient roots and connection to similar bogs worldwide took us on an historical and geographic journey as well. We collected samples of pitcher plants to study in the classroom. Today, the bog, as predicted by Prof. Alrutz is half the size it was then, the lake speed-boats’ wake a constant eroding pressure. one can no longer walk on the peat, but must cross over the surface on boardwalks. Only a few permits to visit are now granted.

 

Experiment after experiment, we learned not only the results of those experiments but the use of scientific theory to advance knowledge; and the difference between fictional theories and scientific theory. Sister discussed the problem beginning to grow within the minds of those uneducated in scientific principles who saw a conflict between science and religion. She shook her head at the simple answer; science does not challenge God, it explains his creation, it shows us who He is and how He created our universes. Understanding science brings us closer to, not farther from, His presence. Having established that, we were free to explore anything and everything. And we did. The discovery of the Higgs bosun, the so-called “God particle”, would have excited Sr. Clare Louise; not threatened her faith. Our biblical creation theory seems to be a metaphor for what physicists are now discovering as the implicit nature of creation itself.

 

Today, we live in the culture anticipated by Sr. Clare Louise. Religious leaders who fear science undercuts the faith of their flocks are being used by politicians to undermine scientific theory as a way to block legislation they do not support. Why would a politician not support legislation based on science? Money. Always follow the money to find the answer. Sister Clare Louise and my father both taught me that theory. And, I think I can prove it.

 

Marketing of political propaganda has given the words “climate change” the same derogatory implications as “Obamacare”. The oil industry will do all it can to undermine the move to green energy. Opponents of climate change are right in one respect: Climate change is not coming; it is already here. It is difficult for any politician to deal with this fact. As President Obama stated in a Rolling Stone interview (Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ready-for-the-fight-rolling-stone-interview-with-barack-obama-20120425#ixzz1zkfyZpVv):

“Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people’s number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices. In that environment, it’s been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science. I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way. That there’s a way to do it that is entirely compatible with strong economic growth and job creation – that taking steps, for example, to retrofit buildings all across America with existing technologies will reduce our power usage by 15 or 20 percent. That’s an achievable goal, and we should be getting started now.”

 

Even this stance will not be enough to prevent the excessive heating of the ocean and air, sever storms, and extreme fires. While a single event can’t be proven to be caused by climate change the pattern in its entirety fits the proposed model, unfortunately, at a faster than expected rate of change. Nine of the ten warmest years were within the past 12 years;the warmest until now in 2010. As Eugene Robinson explains in a recent Washington Post article (see more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-feeling-the-heat/2012/07/02/gJQANNZGJW_story.html), “Critics have blasted the Obama administration’s unfruitful investment in solar energy. But if government-funded research had managed to lower the price of solar panels to the point where it became economical to install them on residential roofs, all you global-warming skeptics would have air conditioning right now. I’m just sayin’.”

Nevertheless, presidential candidate Mitt Romney refuses to face the new climate reality. “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” Romney said at a fundraiser last fall. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.” Then, what is the right course? To spend trillions of dollars to rebuild the eastern seaboard inland, including Wall Street which faces repetitive flooding and storm surge damage, if not complete inundation along Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Cape Hatteras. Florida is in particular peril as well. (see more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/science/earth/study-rising-sea-levels-a-risk-to-coastal-states.html). It is the National Flood Insurance Program set up by Congress or state insurance pools, not private insurance companies, our tax dollars, which rebuild infrastructure damage caused by these extreme coastal storms. The cost of ignoring climate change is far greater than the cost of planning for it.

American Electric Power says burying an improved power grid below ground, protected from the extreme storms of this past week, is too costly (See more:All Sides With Anne Fisher, NPR, http://www.ohiochannel.org/MediaLibrary/Media.aspx?fileId=1363750). Half a million central Ohioans lost electric service during the first storm, the second storm took another 20,000 off grid two days ago and a third storm took another 20,000 off grid last night. AEP assures us 90% of customers will have electric restored 10 days after the first storm. More disturbing is the fact that 2,000 customers whose electricity had been restored were removed from the grid by AEP for several hours to avoid a brown-out from increased demand as customers cope with nearly 2 weeks of near and over 100 degree temperatures, and night-time temperatures in the high 70’s and 80’s. So, even if there had been no prior storm loss, we AEP customers would face loss of service simply because the grid is inadequate to cope with the super-heated climate. Government would be better served to train and put to work our unemployed to upgrade the grid and build one less susceptible to exigencies of climate change.

I never feared storms. Thunder and lightening were part of the package which brought soothing rains; the dog-days of summer days de riguer. But, this prolonged super-heated storm ridden weather is frightening. It exposes out vulnerabilities as Al Gore’s lectures failed to do. Science is speaking the language of Mother Earth. It is time to listen to science, not the petrochemical industry. We cannot afford not to do so.

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