Studying paleoclimatology helped Jessica Moerman understand Earth’s climate in the past and call people to act for a healthy future.
I love the talk of ruling out the different possible culprits! I didn’t do it intentionally, but it turned out that in my various university classes we just came across possible sources of warming and in doing the math on how much these things could affect the atmosphere or oceans or whatever it became clear that no, this one doesn’t add enough heat or that one is actually cooling us and another goes back farther than people might have guessed. That last is one that really struck me; in one botany class we got to looking at atmospheric carbon dioxide over a half millennium and then asked what people were doing, and it popped out that Europe got seriously deforested because the various powers were building wooden ships to explore the rest of the world and then colonization and merchant vessels from home countries to colonies and then large navies to protect those colonies and that shipping and indeed rebuilding navies as wars sent ships to the bottom of the sea, and all those trees that got cut down changed the atmospheric carbon cycle so we humans were changing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere upwards even before the industrial revolution.
The mention of climate anxiety hits home: my house is maybe fourteen feet above sea level, which puts it in the zone that will become ocean if any major chunks of ice sheets cut loose and slide into the sea – and even if that doesn’t happen, slowly rising sea levels mean that the entire system of dikes that turned this area from vast tidal marshes into farmland is going to have to be reinforced, yet I can’t find anyone who is talking about that! and it’s not something that can be done quickly; the central part of the county actually has more miles of dikes than of county roads. Thinking ahead would mean starting now, of nothing else than any time there is a slide and the dirt and rock has to be moved off roads it should be taken to the nearest dike to widen its base so eventually it can be raised more quickly.
I also occasionally stress over the conservation work I do. I’m already seeing the impact predicted by one model when I was taking those botany courses; we are getting cooler drier summers which has wreaked havoc with the survival rate of the trees we plant. Ten years ago I planted more than enough trees – ones that survived – to offset my carbon ‘debt’, but with 85% loss rate I’m not really capable of planting enough to continue that (unless we can get some serious funding and buy trees by the thousand so a hundred-fifty can survive).
Besides which my work is on a sandspit that forms the bay here, and where the coast is sand, one inch of sea level rise translates to the coastline retreating by a yard, so the whole endeavor is at risk as levels rise. We do some dune-building on the surf side of the spit working to push the beach line westward, but the sand supply doesn’t seem to be enough to make a real difference.
No act may be too small, but where I am, it takes a lot of individual acts to add up to one that survives to make a difference.
Thanks for the podcast. I found it interesting and encouraging.
I hope many young people listen and are encouraged in how Dr. Moerman, as a mature Christian young person, discerned the calling of God on her life.