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Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 20:03:29 -0700
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From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: The Hamaker Hypothesis (6 of 7)

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Video Review:

                  "Stopping the Coming Ice Age"
                           Directed by
                          Larry Ephron

                         Produced by the
                     Institute for a Future
Looking back,  it seems  that 1988  was the  year for  important,
"new"  environmental   issues  and   concerns  to  surface.    In
particular, this  was the year in which the idea of the so-called
"greenhouse effect"  finally gained  public  acceptance,  if  not
notoriety     --    a  year  that  saw  record-breaking  drought,
hurricanes, and  forest fires.   Suddenly,  the  idea  of  global
warming was appearing everywhere in the media, and it seemed that
concerned scientists  and politicians  were  unanimous  in  their
support for the global warming scenario.

However, this  unanimity is  an illusion,  media coverage  to the
contrary.    In  fact,  there  is  much  controversy  within  the
scientific community  as  to  the  climatic  effects  and  socio-
political ramifications of the greenhouse effect.  It is far from
certain that  the climate  changes we're seeing are leading to or
caused  by   global  warming.     In   fact,  there  is  actually
considerable evidence that points to a very different conclusion:
that the planet may be teetering on the brink of another Ice Age.

One of  the foremost  proponents of  this  latter  view  is  John
Hamaker, a  mechanical  engineer  who  has  extensively  analyzed
climate  and   ecological   patterns,   and   has   developed   a
comprehensive  and  holistic  approach  to  understanding  global
climate change.  His theories, expressed in his book The Survival
of Civilization,  are now  being supported  and disseminated by a
foundation called "Institute for a Future" which recently created
a remarkable video presentation:  "Stopping the Coming Ice Age."

This  video  is  inspiring,  frightening,  challenging  and  very
informative, as  it takes  us  around  the  world  in  search  of
answers.   While Hamaker  agrees that  the greenhouse effect is a
very real  threat, he  believes   --  and backs this up with hard
data and  expert opinion   --   that  it will  not warm the Earth
uniformly, but instead will increase the temperature differential
between the  equator and  the poles,  causing  increased  thermal
convection, atmospheric  turbulence,  and  rapidly  shifting  and
bizarre weather  patterns.   In this  scenario, high winds moving
from the  equator towards  the poles  will  drop  their  abundant
moisture in  the higher  latitudes in  the form  of snow and ice,
often creating  drought conditions  in the temperate regions.  He
believes that the tropical and sub-tropical zones will indeed get
hotter, but  the temperate  zones are  likely to  get cooler  and

Hamaker's understanding  of the  greenhouse effect  takes us  far
beyond  the   popularized,  watered-down   information  available
through the  mass media,  because he  explores deeper  levels  of
cause and  effect,  process  and  purpose.    The  most  profound
information presented  in this  video  concerns  the  connections
between the  greenhouse effect and the development of an ice age,
and the  importance of  understanding long-term  cycles  (100,000
years!) of  climate change.   The  video demonstrates  the causal
connections linking  together all  the  different  environmental/
atmospheric phenomena that combine to bring on an ice age:

     (1)  soil erosion and demineralization

     (2)  the subsequent weakening and dying of the forests

     (3)  the resulting  increase in  insect infestations, forest
          decay, and massive forest fires

     (4)  the dramatic  increase in  carbon dioxide released into
          the atmosphere  by these  natural causes, which induces
          the greenhouse effect

     (5)  and in  the 20th  century   --   as opposed  to 100,000
          years ago   --   man-made pollution and our destructive
          tampering  with   the  natural   balance  of  life  are
          intensifying and hastening the process.

According to  Hamaker, an  ice age  performs a  vitally necessary
natural function.  As the glaciers advance and then retreat, they
move and  grind up  immense quantities  of rock,  thus  spreading
gravel and  rock dust  over much  of the  temperate zones.   This
process, along with the winds that help distribute this rock dust
even further,  gradually remineralies  the soil   --  which feeds
the plants  and forests,  promoting rapid  and healthy growth  --
during which time the plants breathe in much of the excess carbon
dioxide, use the carbon, and release the oxygen back into the air
which we and all other animals breathe!

Thus, a  primary function  of glaciation  is to  remineralize and
help reforest  the Earth.    The  reason  this  video  is  called
"Stopping the  Coming Ice  Age" is  that Hamaker thinks we humans
can   --  indeed must, if we want our civilization to survive  --
remineralize the  Earth ourselves.   We ourselves can fulfill the
vital role  played by  an ice  age, rendering  such a  geological
event obsolete.

This means,  however, that  the governments  and peoples  of  all
countries and  regions would  need to  make it  a top priority to
remineralize our  depleted soils,  and also  to engage in massive
reforestation projects,  planting billions  of  trees  worldwide.
Without healthy  forests, we have no chance at all of slowing the
tremendous buildup  of carbon  dioxide which fuels the greenhouse
effect.   As the  video puts  it, "The trees of the world are our
best friends  now, and  only they can save us."  Obviously, then,
we also  need to stop clear-cutting our forests, both here and in
the tropics, and to limit our fossil fuel burning, which has been
accelerating the  greenhouse process.   Only  by doing  all these
things, says  Hamaker, can  we avoid  horrific  consequences  for
humanity in the very near future.

The audacity  of this  theory and this proposal lies in its utter
simplicity and  common-sense quality.   Yet,  many people may not
heed Hamaker's  message and information because we have become so
enamored  of   "high-tech"  solutions  and  short-term  planning,
gratification  and  profit.    Hamaker's  plan  demands  a  clear
understanding of  our planetary dilemma, and a deep commitment to
creating a  viable future,  as well  as some sacrifice of comfort
and convenience.   The  video  concludes  with  these  questions:
"Have we got the guts to do it?  How much do we really want to be

Whether or not Hamaker's proposal is every implemented on a large
scale, we can all do things individually and collectively to help
educate people  and help  heal the  planet.  The video points out
that, even  if these theories are not totally "provable", or even
completely accurate,  we should  still do the things that Hamaker
suggests, for  the sake  of ecological balance, conservation, and
planetary sanity.

In addition  to the  ideas discussed  in this  review, this video
explores many other aspects of our ecological and social dilemmas
--   many more  than can  be dealt  with here.   There is so much
vital  information   presented,  within   such  a   comprehensive
framework, that  this video  ranks as  a definite  "must see" for
anyone at  all concerned  about environmental  issues and  social

[This review was published in Katuah Journal, Spring, 1989.]

                         #  #  #

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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