Copyright © 2007 Henrietta W. Hay
Henrietta is not a blowhard; Henriette was
September 21, 2007
At last I am a success. My name is known across the world. Or it would be if they had spelled it right. And just think. Now you can call me a blowhard.
But I do hope that Hurricane Henriette has long gone and did not do too much damage.
There is nothing funny about a hurricane, but the names are often pretty funny.
Devastating storms have been a part of our planet since its beginning and smart as we think we are, there is really nothing basic we can do about them except run.
My first experience with a major wind was in 1935 when I was living on Downing Street in Denver. That was during the Dust Bowl years. Large parts of Kansas were deposited on my front yard. I used to wonder whether the Rocky Mountains are an inch or so higher because of Kansas and its dust.
Today, the word Hurricane brings to mind Katrina, which very nearly destroyed a city. This summer the mid-west and most of the east have suffered from destructive tornadoes and floods.
Most Americans are not familiar with the power of typhoons. These storms
are similar to hurricanes, but in a different part of the world. I talked this morning with a woman whose husband, a naval typhoon reconnaissance officer, regularly flew his plane down into the eyes of typhoons in the South Pacific during World War II. It makes me shudder just to think about it.
These eruptions of air and water involve a column of air spinning madly and gathering air or water around it. Meteorologists now can usually predict them, but they can't stop them.
We have landed on the moon and explored Mars, invented the airplane and the computer, but wind and water still defy us.
Many Americans believe that these natural phenomena have been made worse by us - the humans. Others claim it is part of natural evolution. After all, we live in the bottom of what was an ocean several million years ago.
The argument about global warming is getting warmer, along with the water in the seas. I make no claim to scientific knowledge on the subject. But we do know that large chunks are breaking off the glaciers and that warmer water in the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico have contributed to the increase in the fury of hurricanes.
We can blame cars and factories, the White House, and the oil companies. It really seems that our industrialized society is trying to destroy the planet.
But now scientists have found another source to blame, this one non-human.
Cows. Yes, cows. What next?
According to an ABC report, cows do not add to the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They do not run aground and spill crude oil. But they do ruminate-which is to say that they give off methane when they chew their cud and belch, and nitrous oxide and ammonia when they leave manure all over the barnyard. But let's not get rid of the cows.
So I guess Hurricane Henriette wasn't too important in the ultimate scheme of things. What is important is saving a livable planet for our great grandchildren, even though they won't be able to control wind and water.