An interview with Mother Earth

By Jack Spenser

Guest Columnist

Columnist: Happy Earth Day.

Earth: Huh, what … oh yeah; thanks. I guess it’s good to be recognized – even if a bunch of phony stuff about me being some kind of feeble wimp has to go along with it. I’ll still be here after the next glacial age, I’m not so sure that you humans will be around though.

Columnist: I take it you’re not quaking to your magma core about alleged man-made climate change? You’re not clinging to the hope that us humans will save you?

Earth: Let me tell you something. Climate change is as natural to me as breathing is to you. And this so-called climate change that some of you humans are getting excited about … well, it isn’t nothing, it’s less than nothing.

You have to look at it from my perspective. I’ve been around for 4.5 billion years. You humans have been around for just a fraction of that time. You only started having this stuff you call civilization about 10,000 years ago. To you humans 10,000 years is a big deal; to me it’s like 10 minutes ago.

Columnist: But we’ve been a pretty nasty species for that 10,000 years, haven’t we? I mean, that’s sort of one of the subtle messages behind this whole Earth Day thing.

Earth: You’ve been one of the most noisy species, maybe, but not nasty. I don’t think any living creatures have ever caused me much trouble. Locusts used to make me itch slightly every now and then, but it was really nothing. None of the creatures that have been on my surface have had much affect on me compared with other factors.

Some of you humans are so arrogant. Do you really think what you do compares to things like eons of heavy and widespread volcanic activity or glacial ages? I mean, every full-blown glacial age wipes out the two largest mixed deciduous and conifer forests – the ones that cover northern North America and northern Eurasia. In case you’ve never noticed, that’s a pretty major portion of all of my surface land mass. Humans have never done that level of damage. I don’t know if you could; even if you tried.

By the way, as those among your scientists who look at the bigger perspective know; I’ve been going through a series of glacial ages over the past 2.6 million years. They tend to last about 90,000 years each. Now 90,000 years seems like about an hour and a half to me; but for you humans it’s beyond your range of collective memory – or what you call recorded history.

In between those 90,000 year glacial ages, I’ve had minor warming periods; which your geologists call interglacial periods. That’s when the glaciers retreat back toward the poles and into the higher elevations. There have been 46 of these interglacial periods over the past 2.6 million years. Your species really didn’t become, what you’d consider to be, humans until the beginning of this current interglacial age, ten minutes … I mean, 10,000 years ago. Oh, and from my perspective, 2.6 million years ago is like about one day ago.

Columnist: Then I assume, from your perspective, all this human talk about global warming must seem like pretty small potatoes?

Earth: I think when humans talk about saving planet Earth, it’s hilarious. Look, some of you humans – quite a few apparently – are all fussed up and bothered over a minor warming trend that’s taking place in the midst of a bigger cooling trend.

Columnist: Really? Why do you say that?

Earth: Because it’s so. Not only that; most of your scientists are aware of it. That’s why the ones pushing this global warming stuff strive to keep their followers thinking only in the extreme, and I mean extreme – short term.”

Time is running out on the current interglacial period. We’re heading back toward the next 90,000 year glacial age. It’s happening right on time, just like the other 46 times in succession over the past 2.6 million years. Temperatures worldwide have been declining for the last 3,000 years. I kind of like cycles – even cycles within cycles. You might even say I’m sort of addicted to them.

Anyway; there are always some slight climate variations during an interglacial period. Compared to the bigger climate swings, they’re all pretty tame, but over the past 3,000 years or so, they’ve had profound effects on you humans. This is no secret, it was recorded in your art, literature, politics and even led to some of your significant inventions.

Columnist: OK, so tell us about the variations within the past 3,000 years.

Earth: Well the overall cooling started after a minor (the Minoan) warming period about 3,200 years ago. It’s continued since then, except for being interrupted by another (the Roman) warming period about 2,000 years ago and a mild (Medieval) warming period about 900 years ago.

Even this mild (Medieval) warming period was a big deal to you humans. It marked the expansion of the Vikings, vineyards being established much farther north than you’ve ever had them since, and an agricultural colony on Greenland. By the way, it’s not warm enough on Greenland to do that today. In North America, there was a 400-year drought between the Great Plains and the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes hit their lowest levels – but even at those levels they had quadrillions of gallons of water.

Then, about 650 years ago (in the 14th Century) temperatures plunged. It was what you humans call the Little Ice Age. But it really wasn’t an ice age, it was just cold, not freezing. This colder weather brought about major human changes, such as more people moving indoors. It lead to things like windows, chimneys, heavier clothing and a social movement toward more privacy.

Columnist: So, where does this latest warming period come into play?

Earth: It might just be the temperatures rising out of the Little Ice Age. Starting at that relatively cold point, about half a minute ago to me, it’s been slowly getting warmer. But, as I said, it’s a small warming bump within the larger 3,000 cooling trend.

Your UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) only looked back to about 1850, when thermometers became available. In doing so it caught the last 150 years of a 600 year bump rising out of the Little Ice Age.

Columnist: “So, from your perspective, what’s really going on with all of the man-made global warming rhetoric?”

Earth: “Just a second, I feel something. … Oh, never mind, it was just a minor tremor in Peru. One thing I’ve noticed about humans; you’ve done some great things in the area of science, but when you mix politics into it, politics wins. My guess is that some people stand to benefit from only looking at the very short term. From my perspective, it’s all sort of like birds fighting over seeds. They’ll do anything for a personal advantage.

You humans are so arrogant, you probably think you invented most this political stuff. But it predates you. Take the T-Rex for instance. As a species they were just some loudmouth scavengers. But look what their public relations team did for them.

Jack Spencer is Capitol Affairs Specialist for Capitol Confidential, an online newsletter associated with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (MCPP). MCPP provides policy analysis. The political analysis represented in this column does not necessarily reflect the views of the Mackinac Center.