By Joel Carlinsky
The atmosphere is not just a random collection of gases, moved about by differences in temperature, as conventional meteorological theory claims. It is a highly-structured, well-organized system, with specific parts that have specific roles in maintaining homeostasis, chemical composition, and a wide variety of functions. It is in every way an organized system comparable in complexity and organization to a living organism.
And, like any living organism, it can sometimes get sick. And when it gets sick, it can sometimes recover without medical intervention. And there are other times when medical intervention is needed.
There is a device, called a cloudbuster, that is able to restore natural pulsation to a stagnated atmosphere, and when that is done, normal weather will return as one of the effects of that pulsation. But unfortunately, there are some people who prefer to think of the cloudbuster, not as way to help a damaged atmosphere recover, but as a way to compel it to do their bidding. These people form a loosely-knit international sub-culture which I shall refer to as the weather-control movement.
Very few of them have the extensive background in ecology, or the biological sciences in general, that is required to practice cloudbusting successfully. Most of them are more interested in the mechanical arts and tend to think of the cloudbuster as an "invention" that can be used for "weather engineering", rather than as a medical treatment for a sick biosphere. To them, the invention of a method of "weather control", as they misunderstand the cloudbuster to be, is a welcome extension of human domination of the natural world.
This pathological urge to dominate and control is endemic to human society, and the urge to dominate and control the atmosphere is no different from the urge to dominate and control other people. The man who wants to dominate and control a woman or a child or an employee is acting exactly like the man who wants to control the weather, forcing his will upon a victim of his pathology. The laboratory scientist who rationalizes his sadistic torturing of animals as "scientific research" is showing the same urge to dominate and torment nature that motivates the "weather engineer".
This was brought home to me recently in an e-mail from David Wells, an unabashed human chauvinist who is the leader of an internet-based weather-control club called the Weather Rangers, in which he stated his wish to bring rain to "drought-stricken" farmers in North Dakota. He seemed quite concerned about these farmers and the frequent droughts that are such a problem to them.
In a letter to me he wrote:
"Some areas like North Dakota have excellent farmland , but not enough water . Farmers who farm these marginal areas take big risks planting crops that fail due to drought . Many areas have the chance of raising a crop if the rain comes . The chances are somewhere between 10 and 90 percent that the rain will come and the farmer will succeed . Without weather engineering for agriculture , the farmer is taking a gamble every time he puts in the crop . Much potentially productive land goes to waste because the risk of farming there is just too great .
These patterns do not have to be . They can be stabilized and adjusted to take the risk out of the farming . Iowa has a problem in dry years of "spotty" rain fall .Two farms right next to each other will experience vastly different rain . One farm gets enough , the one next door gets burnt out and goes broke . The financial tragedy is bad .
David Wells "
David Wells seems to think of everything in terms of money, and does not see the arrogance of saying that "potentially productive" land "goes to waste" because it is too risky to farm there. From my point of view, the land is being protected from exploitation by the higher risk of farming there and it is the land that has been turned into farmland that is "going to waste" as far as providing habitat for native plant and animal species is concerned. His concern for the economic plight of the farmers would ring more true if he was an activist for economic justice in other ways instead of only when it happens to co-incide with his dream of controlling the weather.
Well, I would prefer to take an historical perspective here, please. These lands were not always farms. In the 19th century, when farmers or people who wanted to become farmers, came to Iowa and the Dakotas from the East Coast, they found a vast plain, an American Serengetti, covered with a rich flora of native grasses and numerous other types of vegetation and grazed by huge numbers of bison, pronghorn antelope, and other herbivores who in turn supported a large population of wolves, grizzlies, and other predators. It was also inhabited by the Lakota people.
The farmers promptly slaughtered the bison to starve the Lakota into submission so they could be herded into concentration camps known as reservations. After a series of mass killings by the military forces that represented the farmers, and a series of broken treaties, the farmers took over the Great Plains. Their descendants, the farmers, are really squatters that live there today on the land their ancestors stole.
What was once a vast and incredibly rich and diverse ecosystem, one of the richest in the world, has now been reduced to a few scattered patches that struggle to survive in a vast wasteland of plowed fields, much of which produces, not food crops for human consumption, as the apologists for agriculture pretend, but ethanol for motor fuel.
Instead of resorting to increasing the natural rainfall to help these land-thieves, what I would like to see done is evict them and return the land to the Lakota to be managed as a native species reserve, with the invasive species of grasses and other vegetation that was imported from the East or from Europe removed and the native grasses and other native plants restored to provide forage for restored herds of bison and other native species of wildlife.
Bison could be brought from Yellowstone, where many of them are slaughtered each winter as they migrate out of the park into the Yellowstone Valley in search of winter food, and the former farmers could find employment for the next several decades removing the introduced species of plants and restoring as much as possible of the native grasses and other native plant species.
Because those native species of plants are perfectly able to survive the regularly recurring droughts of the Northern Great Plains. It is not the weather that is the problem. The weather has been relatively stable for several thousand years and was never a problem.
There are good years with plenty of rain and there are years with less rainfall than is needed by plants imported from back east where there is normally more water. The native plants of the Plains are perfectly able to survive in the relatively dry years. The years designated "drought years" by farmers do not threaten their survival, as they have not threatened it for all the thousands of years those plants have lived there.
It is the farmers that are the problem. The farmers that have introduced plants that are not native to the area, plants that are from the more moist climate of the East, or perhaps even originally from Europe, and cannot do well in the Northern Plains where they do not belong, are the problem.
Instead of changing the natural weather pattern to suit the invasive species brought in by humans, the solution is to get rid of those species and re-establish the species that can do well there. And if these species are not well-suited for farming, but are good forage for bison, then the best use of the Plains is as pasture for bison, not for farming.
It would take several decades of restoration work before the native Tall-Grass Prairie was restored and the bison herds bred back to reasonable numbers. Then, both the Lakota and the native predators that would have to be re-introduced to help control the numbers of the bison, would be able to live quite well on them. Until then, the former farmers could find gainful employment digging up non-native grasses and other plants that do not belong there and planting native species.
They might even make enough money at it to pay the Lakota the 150 years of back rent they owe them for the illegal occupation of their lands.
Comments and feedback on this article are requested. Please write and tell me what you think of this idea as an alternative development plan for the Great Plains instead of interfering with the weather on behalf of farmers.