Last night I came across a NOVA article on long term climate change. I was fascinated to learn that almost every change associated with man made global warming is also connected to Earth’s natural cycle of climate change.
Over the past 60 million years the world has been frozen and thawed numerous times. At its coldest glaciers covered nearly all of North America and during the Eocene period tropical climates crept up the midwest and polar regions experienced temperate climates.
These drastic climate changes effected our planet in many ways, including:
- Drastic changes in ecosystems
- Extinction of species
- Fluctuation of ocean levels
- Changes in weather patters
- Melting and Reforming of glaciers
- Rise and fall of carbon levels due to changes in water temperature
We are currently in a cooling stage that has been going on for the past 3 million years.Within this period glaciers have advanced and retreated 20 times. Presently, we are in a warming stage between periods of glaciation, which means the glaciers are naturally receding.
If these changes are indeed natural, what does it mean? Is using less gasoline, conserving energy, and recycling bad? Of course not! Any effort to improve our natural environment is very beneficial. However, when mother nature decides it is time to heat up or cool down, there is nothing any man can do to stop her. For in the conflict between man and nature, nature always wins.