Birmingham had a March for Science on Earth Day along with over 600 other cities in the U.S.A.. I set up the Club’s Coranado to give folks a view of the Sun in H-alpha. Lots of interest. Lots of oohs and ahhs. I also had a pair of paper eclipse glasses and they were almost as popular as the scope! Had a lot of great discussions on amateur astronomy and I threw in my thoughts on light pollution. It was Earth day after all.
There was concern that the event would be one big political rant. It was not. There was talk about assuring that science continues to be a priority but not a lot of finger pointing. The press on this event and the others that I read this morning made it look a lot different than what I observed. At least in Birmingham.
The Earth is warming up. Man’s contribution to that and his ability to influence any change may be debatable but the fact that the Earth is warming is not. It is following a pattern that has repeated itself five times over the past 600,000 years that we know about and there is no reason to think this cycle will be any different. It is generally accepted science that the sea levels will rise from one to three feet by the end of this century. Since 40% to 50% of the worlds population lives within 60 miles of the coast this should give us pause… 80 years is not a long time to begin to reconfigure our infrastructure for these changes. We need to be doing something to get ready right now regardless of how popular it is. Facts are facts folks. This is not a political issue – or at least it shouldn’t be.