Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The earth will survive

I had the chance to visit an upper elementary classroom just a few days ago. While there I shared how the earth's climate has changed over time. I led them through the idea that we have all kinds of clues about past climate by looking at rocks. So, we examined hand samples of sandstone, shale and limestone and compared the clues from each rock type. We discussed how differences in temperature, atmosphere, proximity to water can change how a rock looks (not bad for a group of kids with no chemistry in their academic history) And if the weather cooperated we would have taken a field trip to some nearby cliffs to see the story they tell.

One student, obviously getting information from her parents, decided to trap me about climate change. She was pretty smug when I replied that yes, the planet itself has survived past changes and will survive any future climate change except perhaps resulting from a large impact or our sun growing into a Red Giant.

Her face fell though when I said, we weren't concerned about the planet as much as we were concerned with the animals and even the human beings on the planet. I am amazed that we must still argue over the presence of climate change here on earth. I guess I'll just keep taking my show on the road one classroom at a time.

I bet the dinner discussion that night was interesting.


Y'asshole said...

i've experienced this same conversation & subsequent shocked look. so far, most have been convinceable... as long as they are under the age of 50-ish, it seems.

Malcolm V L said...

I've heard the old-hat argument about paleoclimates being as warm or warmer in Earth's deep past. Yet it rarely dawns on people who clutch to this point that humans were not around in those past periods.