Monday, June 5, 2017

Why Is It Cooler in the Woods?



 Snow in the spring makes some folks scoff at the idea of a man-made climate change. They must have their head in the sand!

      Today I am going to write about putting together four words not usually associated with each other… ‘global warming’ and ‘common sense’.  Those who go around saying that climate change is a farce show their ignorance.  Certainly it is happening and you can see it if you take your head out of the sand. 

         BUT… those who are wringing their hands about what it is going to do to the earth may be dumber yet.  Because, there isn’t anything we can do about it.  We have made our beds and we will indeed lie in them.

         If indeed the ice caps continue to melt, if the oceans continues to rise, if the polar bears and arctic wildlife disappear and if Los Angeles citizens eventually have to wade in flooded streets, and New Yorkers have to wear masks to filter poison air, it won’t make much difference to those of us living in the Ozarks. And if the average temperature rises 5 or 6 degrees in the summer and winter alike, it won’t affect many of us. Folks will use more electricity to run air conditioners in the summer, and then less to keep homes warm in the winter.  As for me and a few folks like me, tucked back in these woods far from civilization, we won’t need either.

         That climate change that anyone older than fifty can easily see, will in fact have an effect on Ozark plants, fish and wildlife in time, but today’s population is so tuned into modern civilization, city life and technology that few will even know what happened, unless it affects cattle, chickens and hogs, and a slow ‘global warming’ won’t… much.

         Before global warming can hit the world’s populations too hard, it is likely that a meteor of some kind will, or a hail of nuclear weapons will.  For sure, floods will get worse, but we can live with that.  Droughts will be worse, but we can live with that too.  Carbon Dioxide in some cities will make the sun’s rays hard to see and feel, but what is warming our planet has much to do with something no one will talk about; population, increasing pavement and concrete… and the removal of forests and natural vegetation worldwide.

         There are increasingly new subspecies of human.  One subspecies is becoming extinct, that is the one that has lived on the land in small numbers, and with it to some extent, a part of the earth with little effect on it.  There were once quite a lot of them, but they are being replaced by a really strange sub-species now found in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York and places like that. They are very intelligent in many ways but they do not understand things that involve common sense.  This new sub-species thinks that one lifeboat will hold and infinite number of people, or that a strong oak limb will hold a million people and never break.

         That subspecies does not know that today’s world, as great burgeoning numbers of their kind keep pouring millions of acres of cement and spreading millions of acres of pavement, might be creating global warming that has nothing to do with CO2 or methane or hot water vapor. 
         I noticed that once when I had a pair of thermometers, that a big rock out in the woods up here on Lightnin’ Ridge was a full 15 degrees cooler than the paved parking lot at Walmart shopping center in town.  That is strange, isn’t it?  We went float-fishing on the Niangua river one summer when the temperature in Springfield Missouri topped 106 degrees.  On a river gravel bar beneath some big sycamores it was only 92.  Go figure.  Why?

         I am thinking that 200 years ago, the temperature in the woods where Springfield now sits, was likely the same temperature as the banks of the river.  That is a theory only, one I call the cement versus gravel bar theory.  And I want everyone to know that there has never been a day that you could fry an egg on that flat rock in the woods up here on Lightnin’ Ridge.

         Maybe you can see what I am trying to say.  If you can’t, I must sound awfully foolish, but I am betting that on the hottest day in mid-July of this year, I can lay down in the woods in the shade of big oaks, and you can lay down in the parking lot of some city business where no trees stand, and one of us will not get up at days end.

         I also will bet that where these big trees now stand, there will be none in a hundred years or so. They will be gone, and who knows, maybe concrete will have taken their place. What might the temperature be then, where cool soil might be covered with hot asphalt? Do you get a new perspective on global warming now?  What do you think the chances are that it will get cooler when the population and the amount of cement and pavement both increase on the surface of our nation by two?

         There is no chance of changing things here on earth, and those politicians who think we can most likely are those who think some Russian talked me into changing my vote last November.  That new sub-species of human beings and what they want have already swamped those of us who still cling to common sense.  As the old sub-species dies out completely, woods and rivers and wildlife and some far away glacier will be of no importance.

         But there is something to remember.  If there is a meteor, or if a great number of earthquakes and volcanoes erupt, or God forbid, if nuclear weapons start being used, the clouds created for months and months by any of those things will block the sun’s energy and really cool the earth, perhaps to a point of wiping out all life but cockroaches…and maybe a few folks who belong to the old sub-species of humans.

         So the thing is, those of us Ozarkians who do not gravitate to a world of concrete and pavement should stop worrying about global warming.  We can enjoy a much warmer winter in the future!

         My executive secretary, Ms Wiggins, has been so worried about global warming that she keeps putting ice cubes in the fish bowl and shaving her cat.  But if you call her you can find out how to acquire the summer issue of my magazine, “the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal” or one of my books over the phone. Just call her at our executive offices up here in the woods, 417 777 5227.

         You may write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email me at  You will notice there is no ‘g’ on the end of lightnin’.  In the pool hall back home, nobody put a ‘g’ on the end of anything.

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