Slash And Burn Now Global Warming

Environmental concerns have been around for a long time contrary to the belief of some that the issue is something that only has arisen in the last couple of decade.  When I was a student in the ’50’s we were taught about the evils of the slash and burn technique for clearing land for agricultural purposes in the
Amazon basin.  It was one of the oldest methods for clearing the land for millenia.  The local people would select and area of forest land they wanted to clear for corn, cotton, or any other staple item.  They would make a ring around the area by cutting down trees and providing a fire break so it wouldn’t spread.  Then they would torch the area and burn down all the trees.  Viola!  Within a season or so they had new land that was cleared and ready for planting with the crop of choice.  It was relatively quick and cheap for people with no money and little machinery.   The soil in those areas was badly leached because of the high rainfall amounts and the soil was thin and not good for farming as is the land in the American midwest.

This had been going on for centuries.  Some academic types got to worrying about this.  It seems that worrying about arcane matters is mostly what those types do.  I remember being taught that gazillions of forest land was being lost every year and that within a couple of decades the entire Amazon basin would be destroyed and it would have grave consequences for South America and the whole world.   That method would only allow for a few years worth of crops because of the thin soil and then the people would move on to another nearby area and start the process over; thus consuming large amounts of the forest land in the process every year.   Supposedly the entire Amazon would be gone by the ’70’s we were taught.  I remember at the time doing some basic math and wondering how those people were going to destroy the millions of square acres in that basin even if they were working full-time at it. 

Well, it is now the 21st century and as far as I know the Amazon basin is still there.  I also doubt that very many people are using the slash and burn method any longer there or anywhere else in the world.   The same method was being used in central Africa and in parts of Indonesia and the Asia continent.  Now the latest danger to the Amazon basin is supposedly Global warming.  Allegedly, the warming will cause less rain to fall there and it will dry out and become more arid.  It will become more grassland.  We are talking about an area almost the size of the US.  First, I wonder how long that would take even if it is true.  Secondly, that grassland would change the soil and make it better for crops over the long haul much more like our midwest which is known as the breadbasket of the world for its high wheat and other crop production.    These alarmist constantly harp on things changing.  Yes, they do change.  It is the way of  Mother Earth.  Over time mankind usually comes around to doing what it the most efficient and productive for the survival of mankind.   This is evidently true or else we wouldn’t even be here to argue about it.  The current theory is that Global warming will raise the temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean and that is what will make the rainfall decrease over the basin.  Even if that is true then wouldn’t the temperature also be cooled by the simultaneous melting of the Antarctic ice cap?  That is a huge amount of cold water being dumped into the oceans if that indeed does occur.  That very cold water will flow somewhere and it will have an effect on the temperature as it moves. 

These climatologists make predictions based on projections.  The problem is that they use static data to input into the projection.  That is they assume a certain set of facts that will remain the same for decades or centuries.  Anytime you do that you will get skewed results one way or the other.  The Chaos theory is still valid.  Factors will change that you can’t predict.  Those changed circumstances will not be in the model used for the projections.  We do good to be relatively accurate with weather forecasts for only a few days or a season at most.  They might as well ask the spirit of Jeanne Dixon for a forecast of the global weather 50 years from now.   That would have about the same chance of accuracy as these computer models utilized today. 

Like Yogi Berra said– predictions are a hard thing to make, especially about the future.

If every bit of the Arctic ice cap were to melt it would not increase the level of the Oceans one inch.  Just as a melting ice-cube in a glass of tea doesn’t raise the level in your glass.  It is already there and there is no increase in water volume.


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Filed under Environment, geography, Global Warming, Mother Nature

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