Have you ever been on a moving bus, when the driver unexpectedly hits the brakes to avoid an obstacle? If you have, you probably noticed the sudden invisible force pulling you off your seat. In that moment you are experiencing the power of Inertia, that is conspiring to keep your bus-assisted moving body -- In Motion.
Have you ever been traveling in a vehicle, when it unexpected gets stuck in the mud or snow -- and you get volunteered to Push? If you have, you probably noticed that seemingly immovable force, that stubbornly keeps you on your feet. While you are progressively "rocking the vehicle" back and forth to get it to move -- your muscles are also experiencing the power of Inertia, that force which endeavors to keep currently non-moving bodies -- At Rest.
Have you ever worked on cause that you cared deeply about, but no matter how much you nagged, pushed, or cajoled -- the social change you were seeking just doesn't seem to budge? And even kicking, swearing, and stamping your feet about it, just doesn't seem to change the entrenched momentum. If you have, you are working with a problem currently -- At Rest.
Have you ever worked on cause that you cared deeply about, when the timing was right, and just giving it a little nudge -- cause the social change you are seeking to go rolling down the hill? Such tipping points are rare, but when they happen, be ready for them. Because when the momentum of that kind of social change gets rolling, it's next to impossible to stop that kind of viral Inertia -- In Motion.
So if the timing is right, it might be best to keep on pushing ... just a little more.
A cause I care deeply about is that problem of Climate Change (aka Global Warming). I seems no matter how much we climate canaries, tweet and blog away -- it's a problem that seems in inexplicably entrenched in corporate mud. The more we cajole, the less the problem budges it seems. If only we had a big, honking hammer ...
I think, a major thing that is responsible for this "stuck in the mud" condition with regards to Climate Change, is because of changing-climate having its own rather serious Inertia Problem, with respect to its slow-motion warming effects. Some have called it Thermal Inertia lag. A global flywheel or sorts, gathering a deep reservoir of heat, that few of us ever see.
Global warming hasn't paused, it's accelerating, especially in the oceans, according to a new study published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). In fact, only about 2 percent of global warming from the increased greenhouse effect is used in heating the air, while about 90 percent heats the world’s oceans, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
NASA Time Lapse 1880 - 2011 Global Warming Real
Link to Clip
But how many of us pay attention to Ocean Temperatures? If you care about Climate Change, then maybe; if you got other bigger daily concerns, then not so much. But respected Scientists had warning us about this "built in" inertia already making it way through the world's weather system. And believe it or not, the heat and moisture given off by the Oceans are some of the biggest drivers of the Climate cycles.
The Thermal Inertia of the OceansThat is grim news, 40+ years of global warming is already baked into the cake no matter what we do. The Oceans are warming like a steamy bath tub, and would take a long while to cool off, even if we suddenly reversed all our Carbon Footprints on a dime.
The reason the planet takes several decades to respond to increased CO2 is the thermal inertia of the oceans. Consider a saucepan of water placed on a gas stove. Although the flame has a temperature measured in hundreds of degrees C, the water takes a few minutes to reach boiling point. This simple analogy explains climate lag. The mass of the oceans is around 500 times that of the atmosphere. The time that it takes to warm up is measured in decades. Because of the difficulty in quantifying the rate at which the warm upper layers of the ocean mix with the cooler deeper waters, there is significant variation in estimates of climate lag. A paper by James Hansen and others [iii] estimates the time required for 60% of global warming to take place in response to increased emissions to be in the range of 25 to 50 years. The mid-point of this is 37.5 which I have rounded to 40 years.
Is there no hope? Will humanity wake up in time, to turn our Fossil Fuel "ship of state" around in time, to avert long run disaster. Stop, Full Reverse. Or is there too much "entrenched inertia" built into our energy ways, to ever change?
Well there are hopeful signs we may be at one of those rare "down-hill" tipping points:
When the worlds give us such built-in, always-on Solar Collectors, in the form of a huge Oceanic Thermal Flywheel, shouldn't we push, pull, or cajole whoever we need to, in order to tap it -- that 24/7 limitless supply of clean energy?
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
Link to Clip
I guess only time will tell, if this, is one of those world-changing tipping point times ... If only we knew how to better tap into the Power of Inertia, to effectively change our collective fates, as a planet, as a society, and as a species.
You know, we understand Physics for a reason. As Archimedes famously said:
"Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth."
May we be ones "helping push," to finally move that immovable rock, off the dime it's been stuck on, for far too many years ... The time may finally be right, for one last PUSH !!!