Mother Earth Makes a Volcanic Point

Mankind's pollution is a drop in the bucket compared to Nature's.

Ever since the interestingly-named Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded the very first Earth Day in 1970, that most politically correct of holidays has been used as an opportunity to pound home the dogma that our planet has much in common with Humpty Dumpty - ever at the direst risk of a catastrophic fall caused by an errant cow fart or selfishly-set thermostat, and once smashed, even the full plenary powers of the U.N. will not suffice to put 'ol Mother Earth back together again.  We are doomed!  Doomed!  Unless of course we all bow down before St. Al Gore and buy indulgences in the form of carbon credits.

For one who spends so much time watching the world from his Learjet aerie, Mr. Gore of all people should be aware of a fundamental truth: the Earth is not small and not particularly fragile.  While the depredations of mankind can indeed befoul a particular locality, it's a far cry from that to the End of the World.

But as for ol' Mother Nature herself?  Now she can make a mess to shame the foulest oil spill, filthiest rubbish dump, or pollutingest Hummer.

Hot air that really does make a difference.

For several days now, the entire continent of Europe has been brought to a standstill by the emissions of one volcano in remotest Iceland.  As volcanoes are wont to do, Mt. Eyjafjallajokull hacked up 750 tons of ash per minute into the sky, and God only knows how much sulfur dioxide, silica crystals, and other garbage.  The people of Europe had been hoping to get sackfuls of cash from the Icelanders, due to that country's over-aggressive and now-collapsed banks; instead, they get ash.

Has the human race ever succeeded in blanketing an entire continent with a fog of debris?  Even during World War II with half the cities of Europe in flames, that didn't happen.  When Saddam set the oil wells of Kuwait afire, the smoke didn't get very far.  Short of a full-scale nuclear exchange, could we?  No.

Yet the world's great and good are not calling for giant corks to be stuffed in the nozzles of volcanoes; they are instead calling for higher taxes and stricter regulations on energy, the very thing that makes modern life possible and which has lifted us out of medieval peasantry and peonage.  Excessive environmental controls don't create jobs, they destroy them overall and make life harder for everyone.

The world will not end because of a few more parts per million of a harmless gas which plants love.  The world might end because we blow it up in a rain of nuclear fire, but that's not too likely either; a handful of nukes planted by al-Qaeda does not Armageddon create.

That's not to say we can't destroy our way of life through our own stupidity.  Too much volcanic ash certainly fouls up jet engines, but testing this past weekend seems to indicate that the pan-Euro shutdown was a gross overreaction.

What?  You mean that computer models can be mistaken, and that the Precautionary Principle of never taking the slightest risk can do more harm than good?

It won't be a volcano that ends man's existence on this planet. It'll be the no-win no-fee lawyers. They are the ones who brought Europe to a halt last week. They are the ones who made a simple trip from Berlin to London into a five-country, all-day hammer blow on your licence fee. They are the ones who must be stopped.

Look on the bright side, though: We could be living in Iran, where natural disasters are caused by sluttily-dressed women.  Maybe the mullahs should team up with the lawyers?  Think of the suits - legal and otherwise!

Kermit Frosch is a guest writer for  Read other articles by Kermit Frosch or other articles on Environment.
Reader Comments
Seht geehrter Herr Frosch!

Ribbit, ribbit.

Mit freunlichen Grüßen,

Fozzie Bär
April 22, 2010 10:10 AM

Ich meinte "freundlichen."

April 22, 2010 10:11 AM
Willkommen zu Scragged, Fozzie Bär!
April 22, 2010 11:44 AM
Well, yeah. We've been saying this for years.
Mankind is certainly capable of making a mess but NOTHING compared to mother nature. The world is not in danger but polititians tying to make a buck are proliferating.....Ugh!
April 22, 2010 2:01 PM
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