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Earthquakes and climate change – is there a link?

September 16, 2013 October 2013 No Comments

Geoff Sleeman and Diana Braodhead

Geoff Sleeman and Diana Braodhead

At an age when most people are slowing down and leaving many of the difficult issues of our times to younger generations, Geoff Sleeman has spent the last two years writing an e-book. Not only that, but the subject of his book deals with some of the most complex and contentious issues facing the human race today.

Geoff’s background is one that began in academia, with some years lecturing at university following his completion of an MSc. degree. Later he established and ran a chemical products business with another scientist. This gave him experience with international financing and trade, while war history became his hobby.

The seed of Geoff’s book was sown when his partner Diana Broadhead listened to an interview with Professor Wade Allison from Oxford University and then read his book Radiation and Reason: The Impact of Science on a Culture of Fear. As Geoff puts it, Diana “fired so many questions at me about the difference between nuclear energy and weapons grade material that I started writing about them in self defense”. His book Extinction: the Climatic Time Bomb, which can be found for sale on Amazon and can also be downloaded complete with colour photos onto a computer, is the result.  Its intention is to explain scientific and economic concepts in a way that those not trained in such fields can follow.

Geoff’s contention is that “global warming exists and is an imminent threat to the future of all humankind on planet Earth”. The equilibrium in which all life on Earth should exist is being destroyed, largely by humans, and the future is not an attractive one to contemplate. Geoff’s purpose in writing his book is “to examine in everyday language the facts and forces acting against our survival as humans. These forces are powerful, widespread to epidemic proportions and in danger of taking control of our destiny”.

No book can discuss climate change without examining a landscape of interlinked issues and concerns that include overpopulation, the threat of nuclear war, oil drilling and mining, energy and power sources, politics and economics. These topics, each huge in its own right, are also explored and linked back to climate change.

The connection between earthquakes and climate change makes Geoff’s book even more immediately topical to those of us who have experienced the cluster of significant shakes in recent weeks. I asked Geoff about this connection, having never heard it voiced before. He explained that the central issue concerns the accelerated melting of the polar ice caps. Ice is a perfect reflector of heat but, as the ice caps melt, heat from the sun is absorbed by the sea rather than being reflected back into the atmosphere, thus warming the oceans. Ice is also very heavy and, as the weight on the tectonic plates is lessened, these are potentially able to move. The result of these two factors can be earthquakes.

When the book reached first draft stage, Geoff and Diana asked local builder Dave Richardson to read the script as he has a passion for science. His response was “but we need hope”, which galvanised Geoff into exploring solutions more widely and these are now part of the finished book.

Should we be worried about climate change and the associated issues surrounding it? Geoff’s answer is an emphatic ‘yes’, and his book is both one man’s attempt to explain complex and crucial issues in layman’s terms and a call to action for all of us.

Rachel McCahon

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