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Winter A • 2010-2011                                                         Global Village                               ...
Winter A • 2010-2011                                                   Global Village                                     ...
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Global Village


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Global Village

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Global Village

  1. 1. Winter A • 2010-2011 Global Village by Phyllis Strupp [The following is an excerpt from The Richest of Fare by Phyllis Today’s oxygen level has been present in the atmosphere Strupp (Sonoran Cross Press, 2004). For more information and for less than one billion years. to order visit Security/dp/097467270X. Or contact the publisher directly Our atmosphere has several layers that stretch over 400 at to receive a 25% discount from list miles above the Earth. The two lowest levels extend about price for 5 copies or more.] thirty miles above the surface and play a major role in weather and climate. Although the infamous “brown cloud” of Phoenix is noxious to life, at least it reminds us that there is Humanity shares the atmosphere like a global something that surrounds the Earth—the atmosphere. village. Following Mother Earth’s lead with the land, the lower What’s in that brown cloud anyway? Will it turn atmosphere likes to mix things up in the sky and the black some day? ocean. Huge masses of air and water with opposing Although it’s easy to forget about the atmosphere, it’s properties keep colliding each other, thereby redis- not a good idea. It is Mother Earth’s most important tributing important sous-chef, in charge of preparing two necessary parts of resources like solar her banquet for life: air and water. “Humankind has not energy and water-rich woven the web of life. Wielding the tools of ocean and weather, the atmosphere clouds. However, air and We are but one thread is the one who really takes care of business here on Earth. ocean currents move within it. Whatever we Climatic conditions have heavily influenced almost every more at our speed over do to the web, we do aspect of life, including the availability of water and minutes and hours and to ourselves. All things food, the creation and extinction of species, the wealth days—while the land are bound together. All of individuals and communities and the rise and fall of moves over thousands things connect.” civilizations. and millions of years. —Chief Seattle This important terrestrial player—the atmosphere—is a 1855 Warm, moist air rising layer of air, water vapor and particles that allows plants over heated tropical and animals to breathe and protects them from too much waters creates lowpressure sun. It contains a bio-friendly mix of nitrogen, oxygen pockets that attract cold, and a few trace gases, including carbon dioxide. Oddly dry air. As a result, the steamy, heavy air of the tropics is enough, the sliver of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere inclined to head north to chill out, while frigid, light air has a major impact on the amount of solar energy that from the poles rushes to the tropics to warm up—just as reaches the Earth’s surface. people and birds do! To mess with the atmosphere is to mess with self- The atmosphere is the Earth’s breath—and the destruction. oceans are her lungs. This defensive cover is another unique aspect of the These huge air masses with contrasting humidity, Earth’s personality, as other celestial bodies appear to have temperature, and pressure engage in great pillow fights in little or no atmosphere. Although the events that formed the sky, dispersing wind, clouds, rain, hail, thunder and this layer are not quite clear, it appears that the atmo- lightning instead of feathers and laughs. Ocean currents, sphere’s formation was linked to the Earth’s cooling and prevailing wind patterns, terrestrial features and surface the birth of the ocean. temperatures help determine where the fights will occur. Mother Earth’s diary confirms that the atmosphere’s Lightning, a common feature of storms, is Nature’s composition has changed dramatically over time. For over favorite way of lighting a fire on the Earth’s surface— three billion years, carbon dioxide claimed a much larger literally and figuratively! This natural source of fire has share of it, which hindered the evolution of life on land. played a major role in shaping the evolution of life on SR-00-WA-10-A-Global Village 1©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • • 1-800-242-1918
  2. 2. Winter A • 2010-2011 Global Village by Phyllis Strupp Earth, clearing out old vegetation growth to make room Along with the sun and the moon, the Earth’s land, for the new. ocean, atmosphere and biosphere shape the climate in ways that are still not fully understood. Fire transforms self-destructive dead wood into new life. While this climatic partnership is beyond our current Since fire consumes oxygen and produces carbon dioxide, comprehension, it is not beyond our influence. Over the it can temporarily disrupt the local atmosphere and past hundred years, a general climatic warming trend ecology. However, has been accelerating owing to the presence in the air of even more catastrophic increased amounts of gases like carbon dioxide, partly “All of life is interrelated. changes in local if not wholly the result of industrial activity and vehicle We are all caught in an atmospheric conditions exhaust. inescapable network of have been common mutuality, tied to a single in the Earth’s past. Can the universe be a friendly place if we make the garment of destiny. What- Mother Earth’s diary Earth uninhabitable? ever affects one directly reveals that incredible Maybe the clear and present danger of global warming affects all indirectly.” climatic extremes have will finally teach us that, when it comes to the Earth, —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr turned the surface into humanity can easily stake a claim but cannot call the a broiling furnace, a shots for long. Land, water, fire and air belong to Mother frozen wasteland and Earth, not to us. everything in between. Just as the mountains and rocks have known all Today’s conditions are moderate compared to those of the along. past—although that might be changing. Unfortunately, we are learning this lesson the hard way, like so many others before us. ––––––––––––––– Phyllis Strupp is also the author of Faith and Nature: The Divine Adventure of Life on Earth, an 8-session, eco-friendly, faith-formation program for all ages, also available from Morehouse Education Resources. Learn more at: action=productDetail&productID=8470 2©2010 by Morehouse Education Resources • All rights reserved • • 1-800-242-1918