Earth Day should Celebrate “Engines and Electricity”

Guest opinion by Viv Forbes

Most chapters of human history are defined by the tools and machines that were used.

In the Stone Age, the first tools were “green tools” – digging sticks, spears, boomerangs, bows and arrows made of wood; and axes, clubs, knives and grinders made of stone. These were all powered by human energy.

Then humans learned how to control fire for warmth, cooking, warfare and hunting.

Another clever person invented the wheel and we harnessed animal power using donkeys, horses, mules and oxen, and made better tools like bridles, saddles and yokes from wood, fibre and leather.

All of these tools made hunting, gathering and trade easier and more reliable.

Then wooden ploughs revolutionised the cultivation of wild grasses for food for animals and humans. Farming started.

Trade and exchange was made easier with money using rare commodities like gold, silver, gems and shells.

Tool-making made a huge advance in the Bronze Age with the discovery of how to extract metals like copper, lead, zinc and tin from natural ores using charcoal. Brass, bronze and pewter made many useful tools. These were then replaced with better tools when man discovered how to smelt iron and make steel.

Then along came the game-changers – engines and electricity.

The steam engine, running on wood and then on coal or oil, revolutionised life with steam-driven pumps, traction engines and locomotives releasing millions of draught animals from transport duty. Then came electricity when steam engines were used to drive generators. All the windmills, coaches, sailing ships, lamps, stoves and dryers powered by green energy (wind, water, wood, animal energy, whale oil and beeswax) became obsolete.

Mankind made another leap forward with the invention of internal combustion engines using petroleum liquids and gases for fuel. An even bigger leap was the harnessing of nuclear power to produce almost unlimited clean energy from controlled reactions using tiny amounts of fuel.

Nothing in life is without risk, and every tool or engine can be misused. On balance, however, tools, engines and electricity have allowed humans to live better from less land and natural resources per person than ever before. Societies with an abundance of capital equipment are richer, have lower population growth and have the leisure and resources to provide far more environmental protection.

Therefore we should spend “Earth Day” celebrating “Engines and Electricity”.

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save energy
April 22, 2018 5:26 pm

“Therefore we should spend “Earth Day” celebrating “Engines and Electricity”.
Having ‘done’ enginering & applied physics all my life, I celebrate “Engines and Electricity” every day (& a host of other things).

Reply to  save energy
April 22, 2018 8:20 pm

This winter has been a really cold one – much like 2008-2009. Here is a post from then, around the time of Earth Day.
Temperatures dropped below freezing again yesterday and we are having another snowstorm in southern Alberta. This winter is so long and cold – everybody is tired of it.
I really wish the warmists were right. If it helped, I’d drive a semi to work, and leave it running all day in the parking lot.
I see in the latest screed that obesity contributes to global warming. Think I’ll have a sandwich or two, and maybe a big bowl of pasta for breakfast.

Science requires a degree of predictive ability – the climate clowns have NO track record of successful prediction – they haven’t even gotten the sign correct – they predicted warming and Earth is cooling.

In December 2006, NASA predicted SC24 would be an active one.
Dec. 21, 2006
Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one.
“Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 “looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago,” says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He and colleague Robert Wilson presented this conclusion last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.”
Then in April 2007, this position started to shift:
“In the cycle forecast issued today, half of the panel predicts a moderately strong cycle of 140 sunspots, plus or minus 20, expected to peak in October of 2011. The other half predicts a moderately weak cycle of 90 sunspots, plus or minus 10, peaking in August of 2012. An average solar cycle ranges from 75 to 155 sunspots. The late decline of Cycle 23 has helped shift the panel away from its earlier leaning toward a strong Cycle 24. Now the group is evenly split between strong and weak.”
Not sure I’d give a lot of points to NASA/NOAA for being on the leading edge, but by 2007 they certainly had all the bases covered.
Houston, we have a problem.
I have not studied Landsheit’s work but believe that he was among the earliest to predict cooling – but exactly when did he say it would cool – by 2030, or sooner? An informed response would be appreciated.
Informally, in 2002 paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson predicted global cooling starting in 2020 to 2030, In fairness, he only had about 5 seconds to respond to my direct question during our phone call, and he based his answer on the Gleissberg Cycle. His comment is included in my Calgary Herald article of September 2002.
Kyoto hot air can’t replace fossil fuels
by Allan MacRae, September 1, 2002
“Over the past one thousand years, global temperatures exhibited strong correlation with variations in the sun’s activity. This warming and cooling was certainly not caused by manmade variations in atmospheric CO2, because fossil fuel use was insignificant until the 20th century.
Temperatures in the 20th century also correlate poorly with atmospheric CO2 levels, which increased throughout the century. However, much of the observed warming in the 20th century occurred before 1940, there was cooling from 1940 to 1975 and more warming after 1975. Since 80 per cent of manmade CO2 was produced after 1940, why did much of the warming occur before that time? Also, why did the cooling occur between 1940 and 1975 while CO2 levels were increasing? Again, these warming and cooling trends correlate well with variations in solar activity.
Only since 1975 does warming correlate with increased CO2, but solar activity also increased during this period. This warming has only been measured at the earth’s surface, and satellites have measured little or no warming at altitudes of 1.5 to eight kilometres. This pattern is inconsistent with CO2 being the primary driver for warming.
If solar activity is the main driver of surface temperature rather than CO2, we should begin the next cooling period by 2020 to 2030.”
Not bad for 5 seconds work by Tim – who knows what he might have accomplished if I’d sent him an email and given him a whole 5 minutes to respond.
My point is that there appears to be some correlation of Earth “average” temperature with solar activity, and this has been a commonly held belief for hundreds of years. OK we don’t adequately understand the mechanisms – to me that means we should just work harder and see what truth prevails – to deny this relationship and aggressively promote other causes (such as CO2, like the IPCC et al) is foolish. There probably are climate drivers in addition to the Sun, some natural, some cyclical (regular or irregular) and maybe even a very small humanmade component.
Regrettably, the IPCC’s insistence on biasing the debate in favor of greenhouse gases has cost us several decades of scientific progress. Had the climate debate not been hijacked by zealots and research funding misallocated in favor of this CO2 bias, we would be much further progressed in our understanding of the true mechanisms that drive Earth’s climate.
[end of sermon]

April 23, 2018 3:17 am

Amen. For what it’s worth coming from an amateur, I have also arrived at a similar conclusion as to the timeline which you describe above. The solar/flood connection in the Pacific Northwest which is key to those conclusions which I have formed is something to pay attention around 8 years from now. That is when the next iteration should occur, imo. That should also be indicative of the next solar minimum between SC25 to SC 26, and a shift in the ENSO regions to a negative/La Nina state.
I am no longer certain, if I will live to see that next flood cycle. I hope that others pay attention to this thought of mine.

April 23, 2018 4:12 am

Landscheit predicted a Solar Minimum after SC25 to last about 40 years.

April 23, 2018 5:32 am

@ Steve B …that is one element which can have unknown consequences to what I see as the solar/flood correlation in the PNW. That thought has crossed my mind. I am uncertain if there are any clues which would allow me to decipher what effect that will have.

April 23, 2018 8:49 am

Allan, we’re in a new solar cycle, right?
The sun is still as bald as an egg, so are we really in a new cycle and it’s a weak one, or is the old cycle just not ending the way it should have?
Still having cold nights, but the days are warming a little. Trees are starting to slowly open leaf buds. Again, I’m 35 miles north of Chicago, 5 miles west of Lake Michigan, I know it’s weather, but there was frost on the cars parked outside this morning and yesterday morning. Didn’t last, but where are we really going?
Any guesses are helpful. I still have the furnace on ‘Automatic’, but dropped the thermostat by 2F.

April 23, 2018 9:40 am

24 deg F this morning in mid maine.
just like every other morning this month.

April 24, 2018 3:12 am

Hi Sara – I just want to wait and see – will the snow melt and the fields dry-out enough to get a crop in this Spring? Will there be an early frost? Will the grain harvest be a good one? Will northern growing areas like Peace River, Alberta be frosted out now or in future years? I have no opinion, being too many years off the family farm.
I like and respect farmers – they seem so … grounded, sensible, you know what I mean. I have less and less time for university types, having spent too many years there myself. I think if you have common sense going in, you might retain it upon graduation; but if you don’t, no amount of university will instill common sense into you.
When I compare the current crop of university graduates to my dad’s generation (“the Great Generation”), there seems to have been a huge erosion of basic intellect. The current crop of grads are so awash in social justice nonsense that they seem incapable of rational thought. Insanity appears to be contagious.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch:
We are reportedly at the end of Solar Cycle 24 and into the start of SC 25.
As stated above, SC24 was predicted by NASA (Hathaway) to be robust and has turned out to be a dud – the weakest SC in a century. Leif S and a few others got it about right. SC 25 is expected to be a bit stronger than SC24, but still weak.
I concluded years ago that two consecutive weak SC’s would probably lead to moderate global cooling – we will see – I hope to be wrong about that. It’s a rough analysis, fraught with uncertainty. I’ve asked Tim Ball to do a paper, when he has the time, on the impact of moderate global cooling on northern agriculture.
Let’s hope for a good harvest.
Best wishes to you and yours, Allan

rudi ru
April 24, 2018 3:23 pm

Damn! Do you write articles for WUWT because you should. I think your post is longer then the original article, (not a bad thing).

April 24, 2018 7:36 pm

Hi Rudi and thank you for your kind words.
I’ve published quite a bit on this subject, but rarely on wattsup. Here is one paper – and another long post.
I think this will be conventional wisdom one day – give it another ten years. Every conclusion except #4 is a slam dunk right now, imo. Imminent moderate global cooling is not yet a certainty. I hope to be wrong on #4, because humanity and the environment suffer in a cooling world.
Best, Allan
Allan MacRae. P.Eng. / June 13, 2015
Observations and Conclusions:
1. Temperature, among other factors, drives atmospheric CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature. The rate of change dCO2/dt is closely correlated with temperature and thus atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature by ~9 months in the modern data record.
2. CO2 also lags temperature by ~~800 years in the ice core record, on a longer time scale.
3. Atmospheric CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales.
4. CO2 is the feedstock for carbon-based life on Earth, and Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are clearly CO2-deficient. CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.
5. Based on the evidence, Earth’s climate is insensitive to increased atmospheric CO2 – there is no global warming crisis.
6. Recent global warming was natural and irregularly cyclical – the next climate phase following the ~20 year pause will probably be global cooling, starting by ~2020 or sooner.
7. Adaptation is clearly the best approach to deal with the moderate global warming and cooling experienced in recent centuries.
8. Cool and cold weather kills many more people than warm or hot weather, even in warm climates. There are about 100,000 Excess Winter Deaths every year in the USA and about 10,000 in Canada.
9. Green energy schemes have needlessly driven up energy costs, reduced electrical grid reliability and contributed to increased winter mortality, which especially targets the elderly and the poor.
10. Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of modern society. When politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer and die. That is the tragic legacy of false global warming alarmism.
Allan MacRae, Calgary, June 12, 2015
Humlum et al reached similar conclusions in 2013 here:
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 11–12 months behind changes in global sea surface temperature.
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5–10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature.
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 9 months behind changes in global lower troposphere temperature.
– Changes in ocean temperatures explain a substantial part of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 since January 1980.
– Changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions.”
I suggest that the global warming alarmists could not be more wrong. These are the true facts, which are opposite to their alarmist claims:
1. CO2 is plant food, and greater atmospheric CO2 is good for natural plants and also for agriculture.
2. Earth’s atmosphere is clearly CO2-deficient and the current increase in CO2 (whatever the causes) is beneficial.
3. Increased atmospheric CO2 does not cause significant global warming – regrettable because the world is too cold and about to get colder, imo.
Regards to all, Allan

April 22, 2018 5:30 pm

It’s ashame that realty has been hijacked. Without doubt these are the best of times!

Frederick Mackintosh
Reply to  Sudz
April 22, 2018 6:12 pm

yes, wealth is energy and its use; these are the best of times

Reply to  Sudz
April 23, 2018 1:18 am

Reality dissolved years ago, magazines, tv, computers, internet, cell phones and social media, all wrapped with politics.
In my house I have none of the above, it’s fabulous.

A C Osborn
Reply to  ozonebust
April 23, 2018 5:33 am

So who’s computer/Cell Phone/Internet did you use to post on here?
The local library?

Reply to  ozonebust
April 23, 2018 11:31 am

AC Osborn
My cell phone at a local restaurant, then I leave the cell in the car, go inside put on my tin foil hat and have a cup of tea. There is plenty of free internet to be had in my local community, plus you meet some great folks. Normally I would not take the cell into the restaurant, but I dined alone.
Did you know that there are 150 billion garments manufactured each year, enough for 20 per head of population, and that 25% of all chemicals made globally are for the garment industry.
I have computers at work, have just arrived and the first thing to do is check up on my favorite atmospheric science websites and check up the recent revelations. A great factual post by Dr Susan Crockford, highlighting the inflow of water and atmosphere into the Arctic, where it is supposed to go when heat is released from the mid latitudes. Strange how the CAGW crowd complain that the end is near when things work how they should do.
Have a great day

rudi ru
Reply to  Sudz
April 24, 2018 3:26 pm

It’s so ironic we have to argue with people about why there’s nothing to be unhappy about if the earth really was warming. It’s like their white guilt or evolutionary guilt won’t allow them to ever enjoy progress.

Tom Halla
April 22, 2018 5:31 pm

The green movement is stuck on the Hollywood version of “Frankenstein”, that there are some things too dangerous for Man to know. Partly this is just English Lit and Women’s Studies majors projecting their innumeracy and general technical inability onto everyone, and part is learned delusion.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 22, 2018 6:22 pm

A time ago I went to ‘Green Power Conference’ in Portland, Or.
I was very disappointed. It was not about reducing the environmental impact of producing power but marketing.
The target demographic was women with advanced liberal arts degrees.

Keen Observer
Reply to  Retired Kit P
April 23, 2018 7:32 am

I guess when they said “power”, they weren’t talking about electricity generation…

Reply to  Retired Kit P
April 23, 2018 12:55 pm

Crains New York, April 20,2018
‘Council bill would put more wind turbines on NYC rooftops’
Subscription required but there is a link to this article on the internet.

April 22, 2018 5:37 pm

People in the future will look back and weep over the stupidity evidenced by the majority of people during the so-called “Anthropocene” or Warmista Era. It is a period of such low general intelligence that science and politics have been hijacked by fools who fail to see that these are the very best of times.

Reply to  ntesdorf
April 22, 2018 6:31 pm

ntesdorf – “It is a period of such low general intelligence that science and politics have been hijacked by fools who fail to see that these are the very best of times.“. Agree, sort of. What needs to be considered though is that the ones driving this (as opposed to the useful fools helping them) know perfectly well that these are the very best of times but are quite simply hell-bent on dominating others. Others’ well-being being destroyed is an irrelevant cost in the quest for domination. In fact, because the dominators’ well-being will be carefully preserved, it is no cost at all. The real fools are the ones that don’t understand what’s happening and parrot the propaganda.

April 22, 2018 5:38 pm

We’re living in the best time ever on this planet…’s a shame there’s mental people that can’t enjoy it

April 22, 2018 5:41 pm

bravo. 100 percent correct. spend some time watching the TV show “naked and afraid”. not much fun trying to live in harmony with mother nature.

Reply to  Les Segal
April 22, 2018 6:35 pm

Living “in harmony with nature” requires a _lot_ of hard work, and generally results in shorter, harsher lives. The rich and powerful of even a few centuries ago would be jealous of the riches enjoyed by the vast majority of those living in Western societies.

Reply to  Don
April 23, 2018 2:20 am

Reminds me …
Only two types of people are in favour of subsistence farming: those who have never tried it and those who have never tried anything else.

Phil Rae
April 22, 2018 6:10 pm

Machines driven by cheap hydrocarbons (Yes! Coal is classed as a hydrocarbon fuel) released us from drudgery and a subsistence hardscrabble life & enabled us to increase life expectancy, reduce disease, feed the world and much more that most take for granted these days.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Phil Rae
April 22, 2018 10:33 pm

It also end slavery, except we still have people and countries that still support it, this time in mainly for sex, it only used as muscle power in the fossils fuel deprived s*(&holes of this world.

April 22, 2018 6:11 pm

Ecologists worship biological diversity. Here’s what Freeman Dyson has to say on the subject:

Since I was born and brought up in England, I spent my formative years in a land with great beauty and a rich ecology which is almost entirely man-made. The natural ecology of England was uninterrupted and rather boring forest. Humans replaced the forest with an artificial landscape of grassland and moorland, fields and farms, with a much richer variety of plant and animal species. Quite recently, only about a thousand years ago, we introduced rabbits, a non-native species which had a profound effect on the ecology. Rabbits opened glades in the forest where flowering plants now flourish. There is no wilderness in England, and yet there is plenty of room for wild-flowers and birds and butterflies as well as a high density of humans. link

The alarmists insist that any human influence on the environment is bad. As Dyson’s observation proves, they are wrong.

Reply to  commieBob
April 22, 2018 8:33 pm

Freeman Dyson is such a profound observer and analyst of reality, that CACA advocates are reduced to disparaging him as an old, white male heterosexual because they can’t answer any of his profound insights so embarrassing to their cause.
A relic of the last generation before post modern “science”. That is, the heir to Einstein at Princeton.

Curious George
April 22, 2018 6:34 pm

According to alarmists, to be “earth friendly” means no electricity and no fossil fuels. I wish to see them live that way not for an hour or a day. For a week.

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Curious George
April 22, 2018 6:40 pm

I’d pay good money to see that, George.

Bryan A
Reply to  Barbara Skolaut
April 22, 2018 7:32 pm

Many of them would live that way…if it weren’t for those nasty COP meeting that require Jet-setting around the globe every year

Reply to  Barbara Skolaut
April 23, 2018 9:11 am

Ditto. I’d view it and send it to my friends.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Curious George
April 22, 2018 11:34 pm

Back in IIRC 1968 some friends and I attended the first Isle of Wight music festival. We camped there for three days before the event and a day afterwards to avoid the traffic.
This was shortly after ‘Woodstock’ and the hype that surrounded the ‘Woodstock generation’ was all around…back to nature etc etc.
We camped in the corner of a field beside a thicket of trees – mainly young trees.
5 day later and 150,000 people later we found ourselves camped in a waste disposal site of rubbish. The thicket had gone, cut down for firewood, and in its place was a stinking open toilet adorned with used toilet paper.
None of the pop journalists who wrote so glowingly about the ‘back to nature’ hippie movement were there on that Monday.
Now I will always think of myself as a hippie, but never ever that day or since did I have a single ounce of respect for the macrobiotic navel gazing crystal rubbing New Agers.
As I visited the gleaming toilets on the Ferry across the Solent, I reflected that engineering had done a huge amount to make life at high population levels safe and even pleasant.
I remember that I slept 24 hours when I finally got to a bed.
There is a book – ‘Guns Germs Steel’ by Jared Diamond that does a air job on exploring the issues arising out of agriculture versus hunter gathering and herding, and it is salutary to note that the agriculture – which allows the high populating densities to exist, as well as a Vegan diet – is precisely the same agency that in the end creates everything the Left is against – the idea of personal property, of hierarchy, of tangible wealth, of land ownership, caste and class systems, leisure and work, and so on,. And of course organized war.
Communism, the faith that underpins the Western Liberal, is simply an atavistic yearning for the simple hunter gatherer tribal lifestyle, when the earth only had a few million humans in it.
Today’s ‘progressives’ actually want to go back to the stone age…

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 23, 2018 12:12 am

IMO the Communist dream is very different from hunter gatherer reality, in which the best and most energetic hunters and gatherers collect the most food, which they graciously share with others in their band, particularly their aged parents and the women with whom they want to breed.
Not to mention that each band claims as private property the best hunting and gathering territories in their range, which they defend to the death against interlopers.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 23, 2018 8:57 am

“Communism, the faith that underpins the Western Liberal, is simply an atavistic yearning for the simple hunter gatherer tribal lifestyle, when the earth only had a few million humans in it.
Today’s ‘progressives’ actually want to go back to the stone age…”
…..And popular democracy is a soft form of communism.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 23, 2018 9:15 am

Yeah, well, Pot Pot tried it in Cambodia and 2 millions ++ starved to death or were executed for not knuckling under. Mao managed to starve 30 million Chinese people with that idealism. No idea how many people starved under Stalin’s idiocy, because he was more interested in continuing with his purges than in feeding the starving people of Russia and the USSR.
My suggestion, that we find the Proggies their own planet and drop them off there, is still available. Proxima b has a rocky planet that is being studied. Maybe some day….?

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 23, 2018 3:00 pm

I love the 20/20 Stossel segment where he was interviewing a guy at a ecotourist destination in Hawaii. He said they lasted a few days before they went to a more traditional vacation spot.

Keith J
April 22, 2018 7:22 pm

Engines and machinery also ended slavery in the United States. King cotton was the largest use of labor, not just planting and picking but the process of removing the seeds. This process was mechanized by Whitney as it required the most labor. Planting and picking took longer to mechanize.

Bryan A
Reply to  Keith J
April 22, 2018 7:34 pm

I thought it was President Lincoln and an act of Congress that ended slavery…that and a war…

Tom Halla
Reply to  Bryan A
April 22, 2018 7:45 pm

And the war cost at least 700,000 dead, and a series of Constitutional amendments were needed to end slavery, plus 90 or so years to convince the other side it was for real.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Bryan A
April 22, 2018 10:41 pm

Slavery was well on the way of being place on the ash heap of history due to mechanization. The civil war was a result of the Demrats not wanting to accept this reality. Cotton and tobacco were the two main drivers to keep slavery, in the end, even without the civil war slavery would have died out, as it was an obsolete institution due to mechanization. To bad the Demorats of the south would not accept that reality.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Bryan A
April 22, 2018 10:55 pm

The worst part of the civil war is most modern nation of the time ended slavery without a fight. It was the Demorats of the south that would not let it go. The were unwilling to accept the comprise that slavery could remain where it was but would not be allowed into new States and territories. As to the need for it in the south was show that it was not necessary. The Germans that settled in the Shenandoah river valley were able to grow Tobacco without it. If the rest of the plantation owners had followed their example of proper crop rotation and not one crop only, slavery would have not been need for cotton also.

Reply to  Bryan A
April 23, 2018 2:38 am

Too simple, Bryan. Human progress is far more complex as are many other processes.
Have a look at the theory (not beloved by the medical profession or the pharmaceutical industry!) that diseases themselves have a sort of life cycle and that their attenuation is at least in part due to that as to the increased efficacy of treatments.
In the case of slavery Lincoln’s anti-slavery legislation would never have been possible a century earlier because “the time was not yet right”. What made slavery unnecessary for the cotton barons was technology. There had always been moralists arguing that slavery was wrong but no practical alternative existed in the eyes of what we now call “decision makers”. Once the pressing need for cheap labour was no longer there the moral case for not exploiting fellow human beings spelt the inevitable end of that form of slavery. Legislation merely formalised the situation.
Not that slavery doesn’t still exist in some cultures, of course!

Reply to  Bryan A
April 23, 2018 7:19 am

Other nations managed to end slavery in their territories without going to war.
England for the most part, bought the slaves from their owners and gave them their freedom.
Now I’m aware that such a plan may offend the sensibilities of many moderns, but look at the alternative. 700,000 dead and an entire region in ruins.

Reply to  Bryan A
April 23, 2018 8:18 am

Some good points about the end of slavery in the U.S., and let all know that the War was not completely about ending slavery.
Once the plantation nearby produced more cotton cheaper than the fellow with all the salves, things were going to change. Just imagine.
Lots easier to house a piece of machinery in a barn than maintain “slave quarters” and provide food and such for the slaves and all the working livestock. Quicker planting and harvesting cotton than using humans, horses and plows. for other crops. Just think of those amber waves of grain in the heartland and the stands in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.
Gums ….

Reply to  Bryan A
April 23, 2018 9:57 am

Slavery in England ended some thirty years before Lincoln started the process in the USA. The problem was that at that time eighty percent of England’s exports were to the USA and were now uncompetitive. So Lincoln the rothchilds lawyer in the USA during the railroad boom then became President was tasked with removing slavery in the USA.
It was not about liberating the slave’s, it was about protection of the English manufacturing sector and economy.

Reply to  Bryan A
April 23, 2018 2:07 pm

There was no slavery in the US manufacturing sector.

Reply to  Bryan A
April 23, 2018 2:08 pm

Slavery may have made US cotton cheaper, but to the best of my knowledge Britain was never known as a major cotton producer.

Reply to  Bryan A
April 24, 2018 10:51 am

Speaking as an outsider, I suggest that the Civil War was the greatest tragedy, and the greatest waste of life and wealth, to ever befall the USA. Whatever the causes, and apparently there were several, the cost was far too great for what was achieved. Slavery would have ended anyway within decades, as it did elsewhere. No other calamity has ever hurt the USA as much, and short of all-out nuclear war, nothing ever will.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Keith J
April 22, 2018 11:36 pm

It also put an end to full employment…

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 23, 2018 12:15 am

No, it was minimum wage laws that put an end to full employment. Unskilled labour was no longer as affordable. As a result, unskilled workers were not able to gain skills or experience.
This was not a bug of minimum wage laws, it was a deliberate feature.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 23, 2018 7:20 am

If you look at the legislative history of the minimum wage, it’s prime purpose was to prevent companies from hiring unskilled blacks that were moving north looking for work after the civil war devastated the economy of the south.

J Mac
April 22, 2018 7:31 pm

I’ve been an unrepentant ‘gear head’ my entire life and an engineer for the last 30 years. My life has been a celebration of ‘Engines and Energy’. I am the euphemistic ‘founder’ of the Varoom, Zoom, and Boom Club, a neighborhood celebration of fast cars, airplanes, and most things that go ‘Boom’.
This evening however, I will light a modest bonfire of winter downfall branches and tree trimmings. As it burns down, enriching the atmosphere with CO2, H20, and ‘carbon pollution’, I’ll be enjoying its warmth and some aged amber liquids from a comfortable chair, while contemplating the mysteries of
Zen In The Art Of Staring Into The Coals.
May your ‘earth evening’ be as mellow and contemplative!

Reply to  J Mac
April 23, 2018 9:20 am

Calvados, a good book and a snapping fire…. fine by me.

April 22, 2018 7:56 pm

Thanks, Viv – another nice article. If I can humbly suggest, you might have mentioned in passing that from about the late 1790’s increasingly efficient coal-fired stationary steam engines powered tens, then hundreds, then tens of thousands of textile looms and mills that rapidly made England the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world. It appears that electric motors did not fully displace steam engines for this task in England until the 1940’s, and not because of a lack of coal. Absent the invention of the steam engine, world history would have been very different in so many ways. We owe those early engineers a huge debt.

Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
April 23, 2018 2:58 am

Excellent comments, thank you BoyfromTottenham.
Go Spurs!

April 22, 2018 8:00 pm

I refer to it as Irk Day.

Reply to  imoira
April 23, 2018 3:42 am

Too funny! I went and irked someone over an alarmist site, High Country News, based in Colorado. I kept a nice calm demeanor which really rattled/triggered the guy I was talking to. He kept trying to draw me in to responding negatively back at him as he started attacking me, but not a chance. I spoiled his Earth Day celebration.

April 22, 2018 8:16 pm

I celebrated Earth Day buy cutting my lawn with an internal combustion engine powered mower and then using my leaf blower that is also powered by an internal combustion engine. Later I sat inside with the A/C running and the TV on. Thank goodness for the invention of the internal combustion engine. I can’t imagine what it would be like to cut it with a push mower and use a broom to sweep all the concrete surfaces I have. I suppose I might be in better shape using the manual methods though.

Reply to  Kevin
April 23, 2018 9:26 am

Ummm…. I do have a push mower, the one with a six-blade spinning reel. I use it between mowings with the electric mower to trim the verge and get some exercise. I use the push broom to clean up the trimmings and afterwards, I go sit on the front steps and have a large mug of ice tea with lemon.
If this weather continues to be cold here in my kingdom, I may not have to use any mower more than a couple of times. When I went to the hardware store to get birdfood and pick up a cast iron double cooker, there were ZERO plants for purchasing outside in the cold. It was also snowing lightly. I’m hoping that next month, i’ll see something besides packets of seeds, because the squirrels dig up my seeds and eat them.

Edith Wenzel
April 22, 2018 8:18 pm

You mentioned mankind…………if you are speaking to PM Trudeau remember to say ‘peoplekind……..”

Reply to  Edith Wenzel
April 23, 2018 12:41 am

poking the bear, both men and woman were once “man” pre-Francification of English.
Wereman meant male, Wifman meant female, wifman begat the word ‘wife’ while ‘wer’ is where the term ‘werewolf’ came from – which makes sense because werewolves were always menfolk in the tales.
female lycanthropes would in fact be a wifwolf. Feel free to share that.

April 22, 2018 8:19 pm

In the minds of Greens, they imagine returning to the world of Rousseau and his noble savage. However, if the greens prevail, we will all awaken in the world of Hobbs, in a life, ‘nasty, brutish and short’.

Reply to  JON R SALMI
April 22, 2018 8:34 pm

But the CACA advocates imagine themselves as aristos in this savage new world.

Reply to  Chimp
April 23, 2018 9:28 am

That’s a good reason to term them CACAs, isn’t it?

April 22, 2018 8:35 pm

Cheap plentiful energy has lifted millions of people out of manual labour and the worlds civilization has progressed rapidly since electricity has been made available .
I was brought up on a farm high up on Pirongia Mountain in New Zealand . Hacked out of the forest with axes and crosscut saw and fired when dry .The resulting ashes between the stumps and logs was sown with grass seed by my grandfather in the early 1900’s .
Every thing was done manually except for horse and wagons or sledges on steep hill sides .
I remember the power line that was built in 1948 across the farm to supply electricity to the small coastal settlement of Kawhia .
My parents were able to connect to the grid and our first washing machine arrived and the best thing was the refrigerator that completely changed the way food was stored and we were able to keep mutton fresh for more than a few days .
I now have grand children on my farm but not on the mountain .
My eldest grand daughter is studying for an agricultural degree and the next grand daughter is set on studying to be a veterinarian .
Politicians who deliberately raise the cost of energy because their ideology demands it have never realized what it was like without it,and how much they will harm the people on fixed incomes and minimum wages
Carbon and fuel taxes are easy to legislate but how far would our civilization have evolved if governments had restricted and heavily taxed coal ,oil and electricity in past years because they believed that they were saving the world from burning up .

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  gwan
April 23, 2018 5:15 am

gwan, perhaps you don’t realize that the politicians who are raising the price of energy do realize exactly what life is like without cheap energy, and that they are deliberately destroying our civilization, because their ideology demands that, too.

Reply to  gwan
April 23, 2018 9:10 am

The primary objective for taxation is to feed the insatiable hunger that politicians and bureaucrats have for exercising their power to reap the wealth that was produced by economically productive people.

April 22, 2018 8:45 pm

I’m going to say it …
Earth Day should celebrate men. Big, loud, ‘splainin’, spreadin’, crude, cranky, drinking, smoking, fighting, gambling, womanizing, exploring, tinkering, building, wrecking, rebuilding,risk-taking, invading, dominating, #@$%! brilliant MEN.

Reply to  Max Photon
April 22, 2018 8:46 pm

Spoiled women with advanced liberal arts degrees can take one damn day off from wrecking everything.

Reply to  Max Photon
April 22, 2018 8:47 pm

And someone go kick Gaia in her big fat ass.

Reply to  Max Photon
April 22, 2018 11:19 pm

Go man!!!!

J Mac
Reply to  Max Photon
April 22, 2018 11:22 pm

I think my bonfire tonight might have burned her butt a wee bit!

Reply to  Max Photon
April 23, 2018 7:24 am

I’ve been told by some, that the reason why Gaia invented humans was in order to get all that carbon out of the ground so that the rest of her children could enjoy it.

Reply to  Max Photon
April 23, 2018 9:32 am

So it’s okay for me to repeat what my granddad used to say?
“Oh, for the days when men were men and women were glad of it.”
I may get a couple of coffee mugs made up with that on it. Maybe a t-shirt or two, too.

Reply to  Sara
April 23, 2018 9:57 am

A friend of mine used to say this about N. Dakota: “Where men are men, and sheep are nervous.”

April 22, 2018 9:02 pm


Reply to  lisaginnz
April 22, 2018 11:20 pm

COAL – Cuts Out ‘Ard Labour.

Dr K.A. Rodgers
April 22, 2018 9:23 pm

Celebrate those who brought us sanitation. One of the greatest leaps forward for the whole of humanity – and the environment.

Nils Rømcke
April 22, 2018 11:37 pm

Engines, Electricity and Engineers . . .

April 23, 2018 12:22 am

Progress Always amounts to less dependency on land and nature: roads, tunnels, canals, bridges and transportation and communication systems. Health care, vaccination programs, electric light, machines. The next step is multilevel greenhouses where crops grow 24/7 and factories producing artificial meat. Cities will grow vertically leaving the soil to trees and animals.

Reply to  David
April 23, 2018 7:30 am

Perhaps. Or perhaps people don’t like being jammed into cities like sardines and we’ll use that land free’d from farming to spread out into.

April 23, 2018 2:17 am

I think there should be a Humanity day, or Human achievement day, but we are way too pessimistic for that. Maybe sometime in the future.

April 23, 2018 2:24 am

Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of society – it IS that simple.
Most politicians are too uneducated to even opine on energy, let alone set energy policy.
Witness the energy idiocy of recent politicians in Western Europe, Britain, Canada, the USA, and Australia. These imbeciles have squandered tens of trillions of dollars of scarce global resources on costly, intermittent green energy schemes that are not green and produce little useful (dispatchable) energy, all to save use from imaginary catastrophic global warming – all in a (probably) cooling world.
Fully 85% of global primary energy is still generated from fossil fuels – oil, natural gas and coal. The remainder is largely generated from nuclear and hydro. Hardly any useful energy is generated from green sources, despite tens of trillions in wasted subsidies – enough money to buy too many corrupt politicians, civil servants and academics.
Anti fossil fuels, anti pipelines, anti fracking, anti oilsands, pro green energy, etc. etc. – these scams are all promoted by the same people, all deliberately harming our economies while wrapping themselves in the cloak of phony environmentalism.
These people are not pro-environment – many of their programs such as clear-cutting of tropical rainforests to grow biofuels, draining the Ogallala aquifer to grow corn for fuel ethanol, clear-cutting eastern US forests to provide wood pellets for British power plants, erecting huge wind power towers to slice up birds and bats, etc are ALL anti-environmental.
Their successful efforts to delay and ban fracking of petroleum-rich shales have caused great harm in Britain, continental Europe , and have hampered growth in Canada and the USA. Their successful efforts to shut-in the oilsands through anti-pipeline lies have cost Canada tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs.
By driving up the cost of energy and causing instability in electrical grids they have increased winter mortality and cost lives. Even greater loss of life has been caused in developing countries, where the installation of reliable fossil-fueled energy has been displaced by insistence on intermittent, near-worthless wind and solar power schemes.
Perhaps the greatest cost and loss-of-life has been due to the gross misallocation of global resources, where obvious first priorities such as clean water and sanitation systems, the fight against malaria, and the fight against world hunger have been displaced due to excessive spending on green energy follies.
These are crimes against humanity – they should be prosecuted and the scoundrels and imbeciles who promoted this nonsense should go to jail.

Keen Observer
April 23, 2018 7:52 am

This. On top of that, some of them openly call for varying degrees of genocide (even if couched as the breaking of pre-omelette eggs)…and that’s without even pointing out the inherent racism in their policies in terms of the most-affected demographics. These anti-peoplekind extremists need to be frequently and loudly called on the carpet until they get called into courts of competent jurisdiction for prosecution.

April 23, 2018 2:54 am

Not many people understand the debt we owe to the Rankine Cycle, which is the process that drives the steam engine. We still have an emotional feeling for these engines; but what we don’t appreciate is that it is this self same Rankine Cycle which today is busy controlling our global temperatures.
The Hydro/water Cycle in the atmosphere is in fact a Rankine Cycle, where water is evaporated at the the surface, pumped up into the clouds, where it dissipates its Latent Heat and returns to earth for the next cycle. The temperatures at which this takes place being dictated by gravity and the unique properties of water.
This is the ultimate engine that we should be celebrating on Earth Day.

David Dibbell
Reply to  Alasdair
April 23, 2018 3:17 am

Indeed so. +++ (And the engine’s working is not hidden, except, apparently, from the climate modelers.)

Reply to  Alasdair
April 23, 2018 5:50 am

To complete the Rankine cycle analogy:
In steam engine:
1) Heat input – fuel combustion, heating of boiler
2) Work output – steam turbine or piston
3) Heat output – cooling in condenser
4) Work input – water pump to boiler
In weather system:
1) Heat input – sunlight, evaporation of water
2) Work output – convection, rising warm air
3) Heat output – condensation in clouds, radiation to space
4) Work input – gravity returns water to surface by rain

April 23, 2018 4:55 am

Celebrate the pioneers of engines and electricity
Watt steam enginecomment image
Otto 4-stroke enginecomment image
Edison and electric bulb
Tesla and mega volts Tesla coil

Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
April 23, 2018 5:38 am


April 23, 2018 5:17 am

Tens of millions of acres of the U.S. were burned by wildfires every year, until the internal combustion engine gave man the mobility to manage the land and fight the fires.
And to pick up recyclables weekly.
And keep the horse poop off Manhattan streets.
ICE, the greatest environmental invention ever.

April 23, 2018 5:28 am

Parsons steam turbinecomment image
Whittle gas turbine jet enginecomment image
Fermi’s nuclear reactor

Reply to  Dr. Strangelove
April 23, 2018 5:39 am


April 23, 2018 6:06 am

Oil and gas – all natural, made from plants and biodegradable.
And never forget it was the oil and gas industry that saved the whales!

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
April 23, 2018 7:10 am

That is what I can’t figure out, oil and gas come from nature, but the so called nature worshippers are against oil and gas. If they believe in mother nature, she has given them these most wonderful gifts, but they are an ungrateful lot, spoiled rotten little children.

Reply to  Davis
April 23, 2018 7:28 am

Coil, oil and gas should be considered like breast feeding, which is also not sustainable. It is a necessary step however and once grown up the child has to look for other energy sources. In the human case: develope new (nuclear) technology. But we own our freedom, prosperity, science and technology to fossil fuels.

April 23, 2018 7:06 am

My favourites are the snow blower and the air conditioner.

Reply to  Davis
April 23, 2018 8:09 am

Great post. I also loaded “The First Earth Day Myths” post to my phone, feels like I have concealed carry for when I run into one of my friends running on about “renewables”. Also, years ago saw a factoid that said 70 percent of the grain grown in the US in 1900 went to horses, cattle, oxen, mules, and donkeys? Could that be right?

James Francisco
Reply to  Wharfplank
April 24, 2018 7:30 am

My dad said one third of the crops went to feed the horses. He knew what it was to farm with horses. He quit when he was 17 years old. He was always interested in the progress of farming technology. He has never spoke of the good old days as being good.

April 23, 2018 7:50 am

Just off the first few lines – How were stone age tools “green?” If you transform that rock into an arrowhead, that rock will never be there again for other purposes. That is not green, that is using limited Earth resources. We should have stopped at the stone age.

April 23, 2018 8:52 am

Something that so many miss is that slavery would not have ended when it did if not for Steam Power then Gasoline/Diesel engines. And of course electricity. Although the moral push was there, it would not have fared well if not for the alternate and cheaper means of doing work being available. In fact, the areas that today still use slavery are those that have less access to those means of work in mostly the poorest countries.
Slavery was not so much as a means to oppress conquered peoples as it was an economic necessity. Thus it’s existence for thousands of years by even the most enlightened.

Reply to  jakee308
April 23, 2018 9:59 am

In other words, if the alarmists succeed in banning the use of fossil fuels, they will most likely result in a return to the use of slave labor.

Reply to  MarkW
April 23, 2018 3:27 pm

I can see that happening, as the alarmist/elitist crowd would still require us to serve them, but without using plentiful, cheap energy in doing so.

April 23, 2018 12:50 pm

One of my art series involved colorizing old black-and-white photos of old engines in the Library of Congress collection. The idea was to colorize them in a way that was more dramatic or romantic than realistic, which, I suppose, is a sort of celebration. I ended up making a calendar out of the series. Here’s a big thumbnail of the back panel, showing samples of the images:comment image

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
April 23, 2018 2:56 pm

Interesting. Have you seen the engine display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn?

Reply to  Gamecock
April 23, 2018 4:05 pm

… looks like an fantastic exhibit. I haven’t seen it, but thanks for making me aware of it.

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