0 Starting point. An introduction to the concept of the fuel cell and what it means to society. Some alternative energy technologies are introduced; solar energy and intelligent load-balancing are discussed. A look at global warming, and the sensationalism that often surrounds it. What are the truths about global warming, and what is merely hot air? Surface temperature and sea levels are discussed. A history of fuel cells and a look at their inner workings. A more detailed look into various energy sources, with links and helpful insights into the energy sources of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Links to the finest energy source resources in the world. Use these to get started on your quest to building the solar home of the future, or as a research tool in your quest to find new renewable energy sources. Concluding remarks; what can we do to preserve energy and fossil fuels while we wait for fuel cells to come to fruition?
 Global Warming = Global Despair?
I. Global Warming = Global Despair?
II. Rising Sea Levels
III. The Ozone Layer
IV. Conclusions

Global Warming = Global Despair?

When it comes to sensationalism, there's nothing the media likes better than a slow-moving apocalypse. Deadlines are extended and interviews are lengthy. Scientists come out of the woodwork to comment on the growing concern with "greenhouse gases" and CO2 levels. Searching for truth in the haystack of environmental theory often reveals more questions than answers.

"There are at least nine and sixty ways of constructing a theory of climactic change, and there is probably some truth in quite a number of them," said Climatologist C. E. P. Brooks (Fleming 108). According to Greenpeace, the Arctic is "warming three to five time faster than the global average" (Climate Countdown 2), prompting the average environmentalist to open his wallet and throw money at the cause. Is the situation really as dire ("Countdown" to what, exactly?) as Greenpeace would have us think?

According to Stephen Schneider, a Stanford scientist, it is "journalistically irresponsible to present both sides" of global warming. "[W]e have to offer up scary scenarios," he added, "make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have" (Hot Air 3).

Schneider's scary scenario hardly resembles the fire and brimstone images painted by Greenpeace. Schneider called for "a decrease of the mean surface temperature by as much as 3.5 degrees centigrade," which "if sustained over a period of several years could be sufficient to trigger an ice age." He made this statement in the late 1970s. Schneider is now an outspoken advocate for global warming, not cooling. "It would be fair to say that Schneider bears a large part of the responsibility for making Greenhouse the hysterical public issue it has become today," says John Daly, an Australian and self-described "Greenhouse Skeptic" (Daly 1).

Rising Sea Levels

Greenpeace attests that rising sea levels change growing patterns in developing countries. Soil becomes too salty for crops, and ocean currents change, heavily impacting the fishing trade (Pacific in Peril 1). On the other hand, regions above 40 degrees north latitude are reportedly experiencing a longer growing season. Russia and Canada are enjoying growing seasons that have been extended by as much as two weeks above normal (Greener Earth 1).

According to the EPA, the heath of polar bears has been on a decline for the past 20 years due to higher temperatures and rising sea levels. These rising sea levels have an interesting social effect on costal regions. While in poor nations they negatively affect fishing and planting, in more developed nations they create tension among waterfront homeowners. This is a classic STS issue: property owners build sea walls protecting their property but eliminating beaches. In the process, fishing is hurt, and the breeding places for many birds (such as the least tern, an endangered species (Interior Least Tern 1)) and crabs, their prey, are destroyed (EPA: Costal Zones 1).

The Ozone Layer

To New Zealanders, the hole in the ozone above them is nothing new; it comes back around once a year. Since 1980, ultra-violet radiation levels have increased from 10 to 12 percent over New Zealand, according to the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The hole is a result of the ozone attempting to repair itself above Antarctica, where half of it is depleted every year (NIWA 1).


It is difficult to organize such a collection of global warming images from around the world. My intention here is to show that the effects of global warming are debatable, yet widespread. However, it is difficult to prove that the rising sea levels and rising temperatures have an immediate negative effect on the climates of the world. They are changing as the climates adjust to the new temperatures. Social patterns change, and technological fixes are applied when needed. Mankind will always adapt to his changing environment. The question is how much he will change it before it becomes unlivable.

Last Modified 2 December, 2001 22:16
©2001 Samuel Shaw