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Story ID:1775
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Local History
Location:Gilboa Nw York USA
Latitude:74.37 West
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By Fred Wickert

Science is a wonderful thing, but sometimes, just plain old common sense tells you that something just isnít right. For several years now it has been harped at us that we are destroying the planet. Common sense tells us, no we arenít.

There is always a lot of talk about greenhouse gases and how we are causing them all with air pollution. When I look behind all the media hype I find that many scientists are saying it isnít so. Their opinions are not being heard in the media. For example, I have learned that almost all greenhouse gases are in fact, water vapor.

I have also learned that a single volcano puts many more tons of pollutant into the atmosphere in one day than all mankind does in a year. It just happens that we have a large number of volcanoís here on this earth. Are we then supposed to tell God that he is polluting the earth?

Forgetting about all the scientists and the media, I want to turn to just plain common sense to look at the situation. I live in a town in the Catskill Mountains, called Gilboa, New York.

Last winter, the area where I live recorded the third lowest or coldest average temperatures ever recorded. This winter started off warmer than usual. Then winter weather hit with a vengeance and it is still doing it. My wife and I started out this morning after 11:00 to go to Delhi, a town about thirty-five miles from home. We traveled four miles and had to turn around and go back home.

The temperature in single digits, twenty-five mile an hour winds gusting to forty miles per hour- produced whiteouts constantly, and we just couldnít see where we were going. Before the snow came, and we have had plenty of that, the cold caused even streams and waterfalls to freeze solid. That does not happen if it isnít cold.

Samuel Lockwood (1819-1894), amateur naturalist and minister of the Reformed Church in Gilboa from 1852 to 1854, found a sandstone cast of a portion of a Devonian-age tree trunk in Schoharie Creek near Gilboa.

Lockwoodís specimen was described and illustrated by McGill University Paleontologist John W. Dawson in 1871. The name Caulopteris lockwoodi was given to the specimen by dawson to honor Lockwood.

This was the first documented discovery of fossil tree stumps in North America. More of them have been unearthed over the years since then. Many of them have been taken away for the state museum and for some universities. Other universities bring their students to Gilboa on field trips to study the ones remaining. The ones remaining are now in the custody of the Gilboa Historical Society.

Scientists tell us, if we are to believe them, that these trees were fern like in type and that they grew on the shores of the Devonian sea that was here 360 million years ago. For them to have lived here, it had to have been a tropical climate.

It is said the glaciers came along and filled in that Devonian sea. The glaciers also buried the tree stumps that became fossils. Now, how can there be a glacier in a tropical land? Obviously, the earth must have done considerable cooling.

We know perfectly well that over thousands and even millions of years the earth goes through changes. Sometimes the earth even shifts on its axis, changing the climate for many areas. It has happened a number of times and each time it happens, some areas certainly have warming, and like Gilboa, other areas get drastic cooling.

There were no humans roaming the planet in those days, as far as we know. If there were they were not able to pollute the earth. Common sense then, tells us that regardless of what mankind does, the earth is going to do her thing and there isnít very much that we can do about it.

Should we then ignore pollution? Of course not, but the pollution we make will never be enough to cause global warming any more than it can cause an ice age. The pollution we make will cause us problems such as cancer, emphazema, birth defects and so on. It wonít cause us global warming.

Actually, with that temperature outside being zero at the moment, and still going down, I prefer Gilboa to have a little warming.

Photo one and two - ice on the rocks before the snow came.
Photo three - frozen stream and water fall

Photo four - tree stump fossils

Phot five - artists conception of the trees in life.