Global Warming Origins

While watching movies like Everything’s CoolThe Great Global Warming Swindle, and An Inconvenient Truth, something that hasn’t been very clear to me is when the issue of global warming became very big, and while I say big, I mean when everybody in America started hearing about it and actually know the term. I thought that it would be somewhere about the 1990’s, but it turns out that the first American controversy over global warming was in the year 1799! Before we dive into that topic, here is some backstory.

Above is a picture of Thomas Jefferson the 2nd President of the United States                    Image Source

In the year 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote a book titled “Notes on the State of Virginia” which was about Virginia’s natural resources and its economy. By the end of the book, Thomas Jefferson gave his belief in global warming:

A change in our climate…is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep….The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. An unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold . . . very fatal to fruits.

According to the book, Thomas Jefferson believed in global warming before the world had invented gas eating hummers. That said, the key to a controversy is having to opposed sides; so who is Thomas Jefferson’s counterpart?

Noah Webster, who is known for ‘A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language’ now the Merriam-Webster Dictionary                     Image Source

It turns out that America’s first global warming skeptic is somebody every elementary student knows.

Noah Webster was a spelling reformist and created the first dictionary titled: A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. Webster was a huge patriot, and some sources say that he created his dictionary to give America an ‘intellectual platform’ to stand on. Webster didn’t believe in global warming, and I think the reason that he didn’t is because he craved a utopian America. I believe that in Webster’s mind, a perfect society wouldn’t have any issues that they control. One of the first times that he addressed global climate change was in a speech to the newly founded Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Webster disputed the ‘popular opinion that the temperature of the winter season, in northern latitudes, has suffered a material change.’

He also brought up the issue in 1810 in a speech titled “On the Supposed Change of in the Temperature of Winter.” Webster then went on to conveniently conclude that he was right and that there was no factual evidence for the opposing side. The controversy ended there until the 20th century.

The only way that somebody can present an idea to the American public is by having the media cover the story; if there is no media coverage, people don’t know about it. The problem with global warming is that the media didn’t start covering it until the drought of 1988. The issue has come up once before in America’s history and the it got struck down. This time, however, it seems that the scientists that believe in global warming have the upper hand, because they actually have factual data.

So why is it that the people of the United States don’t believe in global warming? The most probable answer is that it is a (somewhat) new issue, and that your politics play a huge role in a persons decision— most conservatives don’t believe in global warming while most liberals do. So in the end, do you believe that people will come to a consensus about global warming any time soon?

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8 responses to “Global Warming Origins”

  1. kmlewis1234567890 says :

    Interesting a great post Arman! I never realized that there was a debate about global warming so long ago. I also like the poll feature just like in brannon’s post. I voted no they won’t ever agree with each other, but I think they will agree but only when the worst effects are already happening and when there will be NO WAY to stop it.

  2. ajaym0017 says :

    That was a great post Arman. I like how you had a lot of different links and pictures. I also liked how you added the poll feature so that you can get your readers opinions. The quotes are also very good.

  3. annah0017 says :

    This was a very interesting post to think about. You bring up some really interesting facts; however, I wonder if it was the same warming today or if it was just a temporary change. A quick Google search reveals that the Little Ice Age was occurring in 1787, when Thomas Jefferson stated the quote you put in your article (in fact, seven years earlier, the New York Harbor froze). Pretty contradicting facts. Perhaps that year was just a tad warmer? I don’t think we’ll ever know.

    • ArmanV0017 says :

      I think that your right when you say that we will never know, however I do believe that it was quite possible that the earth was getting warmer. Firstly, they did have the tools to measure it, and it could be that the “Little Ice Age” was in fact just a fluctuation in the amount of sun spots, therefore making the earth colder.

  4. adamw0017 says :

    Great post Arman. You really took a “Bite out of the Elephant” I really like the way that you put the poll at the end of the post. This really told me that you wanted to see what people had to say on the topic you were writing about.

  5. alliej0017 says :

    How interesting. I too was surprised by the age of this issue. The poll was a great idea too. I think it’s funny how we forgot (or never learned) about something that seems pretty important now. Guess it’s a variation of the old adage ‘history is doomed to repeat itself’.

  6. davidc0017 says :

    The poll feature was cool and it’s a great post, but does anyone have an opinion on why the media goes through “stages.” I mean doesn’t it seem weird that there are big jumps. It even says in the post that the controversy ended until the 20th century. Why the jump?

  7. brannona0017 says :

    Arman I really like this post. You can tell a post is really good when it has so many comments. I think seven (Now eight) might be the new record. I like how you included many tools in your blog. It was very well written and I enjoyed it.

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