A modest proposal: volcanoes


Hanging out with my mom, talking about this Year Without a Winter, the subject came up of the Year Without a Summer. As anyone with an iPhone can find out, that was 1816, when it snowed in June, there was frost in July, ice storms in August, and snow and frost again in September. Crops failed, food prices went through the roof, people starved. It was a really bad time. Not just in America, where it matters, but even in Europe and places like that.

So here’s the thing. What caused this really bad year? Temperatures around the world went down by about two degrees Fahrenheit that year. Not so much Centigrade or Celsius, or whatever they call it. What’s the difference anyway? How can it go down less on one thermometer than another? Who knows? Not me, I went to a public school.

But here’s the thing. What caused temperatures to go down? A volcano!!! That’s what. Ask your iPhone. It was a volcano called Tamboora, or Tempura, or something, which is over in Asia somewhere, and it blew up. A long, long way away. But it was such a big volcano that when it blew up all this ash and stuff went way up in the air and blocked the sun, and that made the temperature of the whole earth go down for a year or two.

The whole earth!

Do you see where I’m going with this?

OK now, a long time later, like almost 200 years, the earth is warming up. Right? Who cares whether it’s caused by people or not. The earth is warming up. So what do we need? More volcanoes! (Or maybe it’s volcanos; my spell-check isn’t sure.)

And what do we have plenty of on this planet? Volcanoes! I know, for a fact, that resources were put on this earth for people to use. That’s what it says in the Bible. There are thousands of volcanos on this earth. What are they? They are a resource. Yes, a resource, put there by God for people to use.

How do we use them? Simple. Every time the earth warms up a couple of degrees, we set off another volcano. All that ash and stuff goes up into the sky. That brings the temperature back down. The snow starts falling again, the glaciers start freezing again, the polar bears are happy again.

After a couple of years the ash falls back down, the earth starts to heat up again. What do we do? Exactly. We set off another volcano!

OK, you say no one can predict when volcanoes are going to happen. Right. But think about it: resources. God gave us resources so we can use them. And what do we have that can set off volcanoes? Nucular bombs. Big ones, we have bombs big enough to wipe out whole cities, whole countries. Well, they don’t do us any good just sitting there, now that all the world is our friend, do they? So why don’t we use them for something good, like to set off volcanos, and keep the world’s temperature just where we like it.

It’s not like we’d set them off in the sky or anything where they could hurt us. We set them off way deep underground, where what they do is set off volcanos. Simple. We have scientists who can figure that stuff out. They’d be happy to do it, because now they have all these nukes and nowhere to set them off.

Sure, sure, you say, this is going to hurt people, all these volcanoes. But I looked it up, there are hundreds and hundreds of volcanoes in places where no one lives at all. Like Alaska, like Siberia, like the Andes Mountains and Indonesia, wherever they are. We could set off volcanoes for hundreds of years without hurting a single person. There are enough volcanoes that we could do that. Seriously. Look it up.

So I think that’s what we need to do. The earth heats up; set off a volcano. The earth cools down; hold off for a year or two on the volcanoes. Like a thermostat. Resources, people, resources. God gave us these resources to use. We should use them. 

Mark Lennon is principal of IRN-The Recycling Network in Concord.

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