Sunday 11 November 2012
Carl Sagan said this in 1995:
"In fact, the thickness of the Earth's atmosphere, compared with the size of the Earth, is in about the same ratio as the thickness of a coat of shellac on a schoolroom globe is to the diameter of the globe. That's the air that nurtures us and almost all other life on Earth, that protects us from deadly ultraviolet light from the sun, that through the greenhouse effect brings the surface temperature above the freezing point. (Without the greenhouse effect, the entire Earth would plunge below the freezing point of water and we'd all be dead.) Now that atmosphere, so thin and fragile, is under assault by our technology. We are pumping all kinds of stuff into it. You know about the concern that chlorofluorocarbons are depleting the ozone layer; and that carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases are producing global warming, a steady trend amidst fluctuations produced by volcanic eruptions and other sources. Who knows what other challenges we are posing to this vulnerable layer of air that we haven't been wise enough to foresee?"
He puts it so much better than I could. I always like to think of our atmosphere as an onion skin. And yet I still go out in my car every day, turn the heating up at home because I'm a bit chilly, jump on aeroplanes to holiday in warmer and sunnier climes, and eat things which take huge numbers of food miles to get to me. That's probably just the tip of the iceberg. What to do? God knows ;)
This morning I fix the leak in our shower fitting. I would like to curse the installer's shoddy workmanship, but realise it's me.
In the early afternoon we go for a walk at Greywell with T'Lockes, taking in lots of woods, meadows, streams, the Basingstoke Canal, and a delightful church. It's good to get some photos and the day is perfect: clear blue skies, low sun, autumn leaves and reluctant models.
In the evening we chat to Les and Jim on the phone, then watch the first episode of the new series of "The Big Bang Theory." Guilty pleasures.