Clear perspective out of Volcanic Ash

How small and relatively insignificant we have been so rapidly made to feel as one volcano within a tiny nation has all but paralyzed much of northern Europe, rendering a huge amount of airspace instantly unusable.

Puts the human impact on climate change in dramatic and glaring perspective.  And it all happened in a span of days significantly shorter than some famous conferences on the same subject!

Last time, when Eyjafjallajökull blew its top in 1821, things went on, and off, and on again for over a year!  But the time before that, in 1783, while the explosion lasted for “only” 8 months, it included a series of other Icelandic eruptions believed to have resulted in mass destruction of crops, inducing the “lost” summer of the same year.

This missing season likely sent much of Continental Europe into a considerable period of widespread poverty, with enormous attendant political and personal consequences.

Yet, from death also springs a most vibrant and special life.  Many scientists believe that mass eruptions 70,000 years ago likely reduced the “human” race to a rather narrow expression of DNA making us all 99.9% identical.  Other eruptions may also have coincided with an asteroid impact, opening the door for our existence by rendering the dinosaurs extinct.

Perhaps with this latest exhibition that we are alive on an incredibly dynamic planet, along with molten hot lava, and columns of airborne ash, we will also witness the emergence of a less politicized and polemical view of our climate.

Perhaps, when the smoke clears, we will experience a less hysterical vision of life, where our role as good stewards of the environment will be seen against the backdrop of a much deeper and beautiful reality, on incredible display for billions of years.

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