The Weather Maker
By EV World
It was Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-founder of the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin, who called the atmosphere that envelops the planet, "The Great Aerial Ocean." For Dr. Tim Flannery, the author of The Weather Makers, this is a much better description of the multi-layered, swirling veil of gases on which all life depends than the homogeneous term "atmosphere."
For the Australian field zoologist who has written numerous books, 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and named more new species than Charles Darwin, the "organ" that surrounds the planet is perhaps the least understood and appreciated.
"I could picture in my mind's eye the current above our heads that brings our weather to us. And further more, I could picture myself as an insignificant creature crawling around on the bottom of that great aerial ocean, as dependent upon it as any fish in the sea or crab or anything else that haunts the bottom of the ocean...
"And we do depend on this great aerial ocean of ours from the moment some anonymous doctor whacks us on the backside and we take our first gulp to the moment we take our last breath.
"And it's the great inter-connector. It connects everyone of us to every other living thing on the planet... it is a great commons that we all share; and like any great commons it has to be cared for and maintained by us all..."
But, Flannery points out people have difficulty understanding global warming because this vast "ocean" appears infinite. It isn't. He told the audience gathered at a Seattle bookstore, that if you were to compress the gases in the atmosphere to a liquid, you would discover that it is 1/500th the volume of the real oceans of the planet.
"It's a really small organ of our planet," he said, "and therefore, easily polluted."
During his 49-minute talk, Flannery focuses on two key points: how big an issue global warming is it and how fast is it moving? You can listen to his talk and the follow-up Q&A session using the MP3 players on this page or my downloading both files to your computer hard drive drive for transfer to your favorite MP3 device.
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