Walrus Thesis: Climate Change Science

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“That’s all very interesting,” said the Carpenter scratching his head. “But can you tell me exactly what it has to do with green building?”

Walrus breathed a great sigh. “What exactly don’t you understand, Carp?” He looked at his old friend as if he were a block of wood. Walrus wasn’t sure Carp wasn’t testing him.

“Perhaps you could go back to the first space satellite launched fifty years ago,” said the Carpenter. “I’m not sure I get the connection.”

“Very well,” said Walrus. “Yes, perhaps that does need some clarification,” he mumbled.

The Carpenter wrapped his hands behind his head and leaned back with a bit of a smug smile.

“You would agree,” Walrus began, “that the theory of Climate Change is the biggest driver of green building.”

Carp nodded his head ever so slightly, afraid of conceding too much, but wanting to keep the lecture going.

“So of course you would also have to agree that global warming must be accurately measured.”

Carp nodded slightly again, now with the dawning awareness it was too late to retreat.

Walrus stood up straight with a triumphal air of confidence, unable to restrain himself any longer: “And since the theoretical relationship between the warming atmosphere and the rising sea level is clearly understood, what is required is the empirical evidence showing that the rate of increase in both since the beginning of modern industrialization is significantly greater than it has been in previous historical periods in order to demonstrate that anthropogenic green house gases are a major cause of the phenomenon.”

“I suppose,” said Carp. He now steeled himself for the trap to spring shut.

“And how do you think such evidence can possibly be collected?” Walrus asked, preparing to elicit his logical Quod Erat Demonstratum.

“Satellites?” peeped Carp. It was a meek reply, more like a white flag than a proposition. Then he nodded again, this time – off.

It was quite some time before the Carpenter awoke. Walrus had been waiting patiently to resume his lesson, a bit anxious now, knowing that Carp wanted to get on to the Green Building part. The Carpenter yawned as he opened his eyes and noticed Walrus already poised to resume. How much more theory did he have to endure?

“Just a bit more,” said Walrus, “and then it will all be crystal clear.”

The Carpenter immediately perked up at this prospect. “Please carry on without delay then,” he encouraged his friend.

Walrus was particularly delighted to have an attentive audience at this point for he was about to get into the heart of his thesis.

“I’m sure you’re wondering,” he began (Walrus had a special knack for knowing what to say next.) “what would happen to good old mother earth if that first satellite hadn’t been launched. It’s truly curious isn’t it, how new technologies can spawn new sciences – almost as if they anticipate their future benefit to mankind before the need is recognized. But let me not mystify things! What we have soundly established, at least, is that the science of global warming is made possible by the space technology that followed upon the launch of that first satellite – Sputnik, I believe it was called – at the height of the cold war between the old USSR and the USA, half a century ago.”

Carp’s eyes were wide open now, and so was his mouth. Not only had he followed Walrus’s irrefutable logic to its astonishing end, he had completely forgotten about green building.

“So…so,” Carp stammered, “you’re saying the science of Climate Change is a commie plot set into motion when the Ruskies launched their first space satellite.” There was a tremor in his voice, and then, as a flash of memory restored his presence of mind, a sudden sullenness overtook his heart. “And that means that there’s no need to do any green building.”

Walrus buried his head in his flippers. “Carp, old friend, that’s not quite what I had in mind.”

To be continued…

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Colin Laughlan