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I am a mystic madman, a wandering wildman, scholar of esoterica, dilettante sadhu, dready-headed hippie (only have a few jata on the back of my head right now, though more be forming of this third set of knotted hair), gentle yogi, fierce foe of falsity. I was a preacher, but I renounced that. I was married, but she renounced me. I was a grad student at one of the top universities in the world on my way to becoming a professor, but I realized they taught lies there too. I am protector of souls, lover of mountains, smoker of herb, fond of hot springs, oceans and lakes and rivers and rain and sunshine, devotee of Devi.

Hindu Gods and Goddesses

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Truth of Global Warming: Evidences of A Warmer Side to Human History--But Coal is Still Bad to Burn

This map from 1531 shows Antartica with rivers flowing and with the Ross and Ronne Ice Shelves gone . . .

This map from 1513 shows the coast of Antartica, including portions that are currently covered in ice . . .

And this map, dated 1737 shows Antartica as two seperate land masses, as it is underneath the ice sheet . . .

How could it be, if Antartica has been covered in ice for tens of thousands of years (as most modern climate scientists maintain), that these old maps show Antartica in various stages of being ice-free?

I would not maintain that human contribution to global warming--a phenomenon I do not deny, by the way--is a good thing. Indeed, I believe the environmental awareness brought to folks by the obvious rises in temperature is a good thing. As centers of population grow hotter, people cannot deny the effect humans have upon this world. My only concern would be that in response to hotter days, folks resort to more polluting modes of energy production such as the filthy and exceedingly toxic use of nuclear power, rather than the completely viable and environmentally friendly sources such as wind and solar, biodiesel (algae-derived), etc.

It seems that a more general environmental consciousness has been raised by the obvious effects of global warming, as it seems more effective P.R. for environmental causes than the scarcely publicized millions who die slowly from cancer and other diseases caused by the more immediately toxic chemicals spewed out into our environment by many industries. Still, I believe these other pollutants are a much greater concern. CO2 is absorbed by plants, and they thrive as this gas is present to a moderately higher degree than currently is in our atmosphere--assuming precipitation is not adversely affected, which is uncertain as higher temperatures may well cause enough further evaporation of the oceans to cause more rainfall on landmasses, thus growing more plants, both thus cooling the temperatures.

Nonetheless, concern about human contribution is merited, and the coal-fired power plants that are most to blame for this human contribution also spew out sulphur and nitrogen compounds that cause acid rain, as well as polluting with heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. Below is a list of the pollutants from a typical coal-fired power plant form the Union of Concerned Scientists website:

Burning coal is a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming, and air toxics. In an average year, a typical coal plant generates:

3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary human cause of global warming--as much carbon dioxide as cutting down 161 million trees.

10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes acid rain that damages forests, lakes, and buildings, and forms small airborne particles that can penetrate deep into lungs.

500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death, as well as haze obstructing visibility.

10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), as much as would be emitted by half a million late-model cars. NOx leads to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs, burning through lung tissue making people more susceptible to respiratory illness.

720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), which causes headaches and place additional stress on people with heart disease.

220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone.

170 pounds of mercury, where just 1/70th of a teaspoon deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat.

225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion.

114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium.

These things said, regarding the issue of climate change, below are a number of excerpts of scriptures, mostly from the Mahabharata, which describe the hills around Mount Kailash--currently covered in tundra and ice--as covered in trees and gardens.

The Mahabharata, Book 13: Anusasana Parva

He crossed the Kailasa and the Mandara as also the golden mountains. Beyond those high and great mountains is situated that excellent region where Mahadeva, dressed as an humble ascetic, has taken up his residence. He circumambulated the spot, with concentrated mind, bending his head in reverence the while. Descending then on the Earth, he considered himself sanctified for having obtained a sight of that holy spot which is the abode of Mahadeva. Having circumambulated that mountain thrice, the Rishi, with face turned towards the north, proceeded with a joyous heart. He then beheld another forest that was very delightful in aspect. It was adorned with the fruits and roots of every season, and it resounded with the music of winged warblers numbering by thousands. There were many delightful groves throughout the forest.

The Mahabharata, Book 5: Udyoga Parva: Bhagwat Yana Parva: Section CXI

It was in this region, O thou foremost of all acquainted with Brahma, that Mahadeva first receiving her on his head, afterwards let (the sacred stream) Ganga fall from the heavens to the world of men. It was here that the Goddess (Uma) underwent her ascetic austerities from her desire of obtaining Maheswara (as her Lord). It was in this region that Kama, the wrath (of Siva), Himavat, and Uma, all together shone brilliantly. It was here, on the breast of Kailasa, O Galava, that Kuvera, was installed on the sovereignty of the Rakshasas, the Yakshas, and the Gandharvas. It is in this region that (Kuvera's gardens called) Chitraratha lie, and it is here that the asylum of (the Munis called the) Vaikhanasas is situate. It is here, O bull among the twice-born, that the celestial stream called Mandakini, and the mountain Mandara are to be seen. It is here that the gardens called Saugandhi-kanaka are always guarded by the Rakshasas. Here are many plains covered with grassy verdure, as also the plantain forest, and those celestial trees called the Sautanakas.

The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section CLII

"Having reached that spot, Bhimasena saw in the vicinity of the Kailasa cliff, that beautiful lotus lake surrounded by lovely woods, and guarded by the Rakshasas. And it sprang from the cascades contiguous to the abode of Kuvera. And it was beautiful to behold, and was furnished with a wide-spreading shade and abounded in various trees and creepers and was covered with green lilies. And this unearthly lake was filled with golden lotuses, and swarmed with diverse species of birds. And its banks were beautiful and devoid of mud. And situated on the rocky elevation this expanse of excellent water was exceedingly fair. And it was the wonder of the world and healthful and of romantic sight. In that lake the son of Kunti saw, the water of ambrosial taste and cool and light and clear and fresh; and the Pandava drank of it profusely. And that unearthly receptacle of waters was covered with celestial Saugandhika lotuses, and was also spread over with beautiful variegated golden lotuses of excellent fragrance having graceful stalks of lapis lazulis. And swayed by swans and Karandavas, these lotuses were scattering fresh farina.

The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva

O king the mountain Kailasa is six yojanas in height. It contains a gigantic jujube tree.

The Mahabharata, Book 5: Udyoga Parva: Section XI

And when Nahusha became the king of the gods, he surrounded himself with celestial nymphs, and with damsels of celestial birth, and took to enjoyments of various kinds, in the Nandana groves, on mount Kailasa, on the crest of Himavat, on Mandara.

The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section CXLIV

After having thus passed many countries, and also the Uttarakurus, they saw that foremost of mountains, the Kailasa, containing many wonders. And by the side of it, they beheld the hermitage of Nara and Narayana, with celestial trees bearing flowers and fruits in all seasons. And they also beheld that beautiful jujube of round trunk. And it was fresh; and of deep shade; and of excellent beauty; and of thick, soft and sleek foliage; and healthful; and having gigantic boughs; and wide-spreading; and of incomparable lustre; and bearing full-grown, tasteful, and holy fruits dropping honey. And this celestial tree was frequented by hosts of mighty sages, and was always inhabited by various birds maddened with animal spirits. And it grew at a spot devoid of mosquitoes and gad-flies, and abounding in fruits and roots and water, and covered with green grass, and inhabited by the celestials and the Gandharvas, and of smooth surface, and naturally healthful, and beauteous and cool and of delicate feel. Having reached that (tree) together with those bulls among Brahmanas, the high-souled ones gently alighted from the shoulders of the Rakshasas.

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