When I was a kid, I saw a film called "When Worlds Collide." In it, an astronomer discovers that another planet is on a collision course with Earth, meaning we only have a few months left before the Earth is totally destroyed. Of course, the first problem he has is getting anybody to believe it.
It turns out that during the opening stages of the recent tsunami tragedy, which may be one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of the Earth, there were scientists who knew what was developing, but they didn't know who to tell or how to tell them!
Andrew C. Revkin reported in The New York Times on Friday, December 31 that a supercomputer program being run by Vasily V. Titov predicted the tsunami as the earthquake itself struck. As the scenario unfolded on his computer screen, it began to unfold in reality as well, eventually killing over 150,000 people.
He didn't know who to tell that the quake had almost certainly produced a massive ocean wave, or if they would believe him. And even if he did manage to convince someone that a disaster was on the way, there was no mechanism in place by which the populace in the areas being struck could be warned. They didn?t even have the phone numbers of local weather services. So he (and a few other scientists running similar programs) were left to sit and watch the inevitable horror take place on the beaches of India and Thailand, the same way it was taking place in their computers. Their only solace was that they were right, but that's not any comfort when hundreds of thousands of people are dead.
The necessary changes may be made in alerting systems, in time, but when the evidence becomes impossible to ignore, but how many people will suffer and die in the meantime?
Aside from the tsunami, there's another catastrophe building. That is sudden climate change. This week on Dreamland, one of the world?s leading climate scientists, Professor Lonnie Thompson, is interviewed by Linda Howe. In December, as reported here but practically nowhere else, Professor Thompson announced the discovery of quick-frozen plants at the base of a Peruvian glacier, plants that had been frozen in a matter of minutes, and that had stayed like that for 5,200 years.
In other words, the glacier he was studying, that has been there all this time, was started IN MINUTES! The same gigantic climate upheaval trapped the famous Alpine Ice Man in the alpine meadow he was crossing, which has been a glacier ever since.
This terrible upheaval was worldwide, it started over a very short period of time, and its effects have lasted for thousands of years.
As Dr. Thompson points out on the show, climate change happens like a rubber band stretching until it pops. Change gets more and more pronounced, and then, wham, all hell breaks loose.
We are facing this. We are facing it now. As the most violent climate year on record, 2004 is warning us. But are we listening? This website certainly is. Roland Emmerich was listening when he made Superstorm into the Day After Tomorrow. The public is listening or the movie would never have been as successful as it was.
But the leaders? They are most certainly NOT listening, especially in this country. And when the worst happens, as it most certainly will, what will they do? The first thing we're going to see will be a massive shrugging of shoulders as one pundit and government official after another says, "Not my fault."
Thank goodness Whitley and Art Bell's book was made into the movie. That's some warning at least.
When you're a kid it's a triumph when you can stick out your tongue and say, "I told you so!" When you get to be an adult, it's no longer any fun. Instead, you want people to LISTEN.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.