Friday, February 1, 2013

Current Issues

I like to imagine what it would be like if Mammuthus still roamed around. They were victims of a changing climate. Question: We are seeing warming probably induced by human activity and searching for ways to control it. However, if we were entering a new ice age, with large ice sheets advancing over the northern US and Europe, might we be trying to increase heat trapping gasses to heat up the planet? Interesting thought question as we try to find ways to balance the ecosystem (if possible) to a level that suits us comfortably. I hear fierce opinions on climate change. Is climate change due to Heliophysics alone, the burning of fossil fuels, or perhaps both? Influenced by us or not, there is still the pollution aspect that must be controlled. End of argument - in case you come across one!

What are we as a global society willing to give up? How will we manage a changing planet? Can our students today be inspired to learn how to create a balanced ecosystem? Can we sustain our economies and way of life in ecological balance? Scientists are experimenting with ideas now (algal fuels) that our science students will perfect in the future.  Students must understand the entire global ecosystem and the Geosciences that influence it. Important issues facing our students are emerging pathogens (old & new), population increase, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, resource extraction problems, space exploration and developing stable global economics.

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