Because I'm at home, 1_______ raging outside, 2_________ bending, 3________ flying, a 4__________ descending, 5_____________ suspended, my 6__________ upended, I can't stop thinking: "What is Maureen Raymo thinking?"
She's a paleoclimatologist /ˌpæliəʊˌklaɪməˈtɒlədʒɪst/ at Columbia University. Her focus is 7_________ change, and in a book I am reading, she says someday 8________ we won't be climate victims, we will be climate choosers. We will engineer the climate we want.
"My feeling," she tells author Craig Childs, "is that there is never going to be another ice age as 9________ as there are humans on the planet."
No more ice ages. The Earth will, of course, keep moving nearer and 10_________ from the sun, our planet will keep wobbling on its 11_________, and there will be times when the Earth wants to be cold and icy and other times when it wants to be warm and green, but by the end of this century, she says, we will know how to keep 12__________ where we like them, on mountain tops, at the poles, not down in the valleys, in the forests, where we live.
We won't need an Einstein or a Newton to do this. "To me it just seems like the inevitable 13__________ of the rise of higher beings [meaning humans with engineering degrees] that can control their destiny." And since next ice age isn't 14__________ for another thousand years or more, Raymo figures these same engineers will also take a 15____________ at our global warming problem:
"Right now we are actively changing the climate in a very uncontrolled way, but I'm fairly certain that by the end of this century we'll have developed the technology 16________ titrate the climate, to basically control the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. We'll have a thermostat."Well, that's good news, no? After 17___________, who wants their home washed 18_________ by a swollen ocean or mowed 19_________ by a glacier? Not me. Not you. So of course we should try to protect ourselves, and an engineered solution seems efficient and sensible. If we can pull it 20________. Why not?
Well, here's something to think about. About five years ago, Jason Box, a glaciologist /ˌɡleɪsiˈɒlədʒɪst/ from Ohio State University flew 31 giant rolls of white plastic to a glacier in Greenland. That glacier was melting at an accelerating rate and he wondered if putting a plastic blanket on top would 21____________ the melt.
He and his team 22___________ long rolls of white plastic across 10,000 feet of ice, then left for a while. His notion 23_________ that the white blanket would reflect back the rays of the sun, deflecting 24____________, keeping the ice cool below. When he came back to check the results he found that it worked. 25____________ ice had melted faster than covered ice. He had not only saved two feet of glacier in a short time, he'd shown it's possible to keep glaciers intact longer. Just the 26_______ of fix we're looking for.
"Thank you, but no thank you," says Konrad Steffen.
Konrad Steffen, one of the world's most prominent climate scientists, was not 27__________. He told Craig that people think technology can save the planet, "but there are other things we need to 28_______ with, like consumption. They burned $50,000 just for the helicopter" — the one that brought the plastic to the glacier. This experiment, said another scientist, Jose Rial, gives people false 29__________ that climate change can be fixed without changing human behavior. It can't. A better solution, he says, is to "increase the efficiency of automobiles." Geoengineers shouldn't be the ones who clean 30_________ human messes, and there's no guarantee geoengineers won't make mistakes too. Technology won't give us a free 31_______.
But in the long 32_________, geoengineering — tinkering 33.__________ air, oceans, the skies — will help us survive on a changing planet. Maureen Raymo is hardly alone in her prediction. More and more eminent /ˈemɪnənt/ scientists agree with her, that if the human race survives, the engineers will get smarter, the tools will get better, and one day we will control the climate. But 34._____________ then?
"Just the mention of us controlling the climate, not blindly poking 35.__________ it as we are now, but manually steering it, sent a small shiver 36.____________ my back," Craig writes. "What does it mean to manufacture a planet 37________ our liking, assuming we earned the skill to do so? Something sounded wrong about stopping ice ages by our 38__________ will," he says.
Me? I'm with Craig on this. I like it better when the Earth takes care of itself, and I'm just a passenger. I like thinking that I'm cargo on a self-regulating blue ball that knows how it ticks, and takes care of its own. I guess one day we will have to 39_________ the place, but for the moment, sitting at my desk, looking out at the 40________ bending wildly, the 41_________ howling, beautiful chaos everywhere, I'm happy not to be 42__________ charge. When you write the script, you aren't innocent any more. You know too much.
For a little 43__________ longer, I like knowing less.
Read the story and comments on the NPR website
Rage (on) (of a storm, a battle, an argument, etc.) to continue in a violent way. E.g. The riots raged for three days. The blizzard was still raging outside.
Descend: (of night, darkness, a mood, etc.) to arrive and begin to affect somebody/something. E.g. Night descends quickly in the tropics. Descend on/upon somebody/something Calm descended on the crowd.
Suspend something: /səˈspend/ to officially stop something for a time; to prevent something from being active, used, etc. for a time. E.g. Production has been suspended while safety checks are carried out.
Upend somebody/something /ʌpˈend/ to turn somebody/something upside down. Change something dramatically. E.g. The bicycle lay upended in a ditch. They sat on upended wooden boxes.
10. farther/ further (to a greater distance in space).
11. axis (/ˈæksɪs/ plural axes /ˈæksiːz/ an imaginary line through the centre of an object, around which the object turns. E.g. Mars takes longer to revolve on its axis than the Earth.)
Wobble: /ˈwɒbl/ to move from side to side in an unsteady way. E.g. This chair wobbles.
12. glaciers /ˈɡlæsiə(r)/ /ˈɡleɪsiə(r)/ a large mass of ice, formed by snow on mountains, that moves very slowly down a valley. Sp. glaciar
13. outcome /ˈaʊtkʌm/ the result or effect of an action or event. E.g. We are waiting to hear the final outcome of the negotiations.
14. due arranged or expected. E.g. When's the baby due? The next train is due in five minutes. My essay's due next Friday (= it has to be given to the teacher by then). Due to do something Rose is due to start school in January. Due for something The band's first album is due for release later this month.
15. shot (shot (at something/at doing something) the act of trying to do or achieve something. E.g. I've never produced a play before but I'll have a shot at it. I'm willing to give it a shot. Just give it your best shot (= try as hard as you can) and you'll be fine. She took a shot at losing weight.
give something a whirl /wɜːl/
whirl: a movement of something spinning round and round. E.g. a whirl of dust (figurative) Her mind was in a whirl (= in a state of confusion or excitement).
whirlpool: a place in a river or the sea where currents of water spin round very fast.
Titrate /taɪˈtreɪt/ / tɪˈtreɪt/ titrate something (chemistry) to find out how much of a particular substance is in a liquid by measuring how much of another substance is needed to react with it. Sp. valorar
18. away (wash somebody/something away (of water) to remove or carry somebody/ something away to another place. Sp. llevarse. E.g. Part of the path had been washed away by the sea. The rain had washed away the footprints.
wash up: (of water) to carry something onto land. E.g. The body was found washed up on a beach. Cargo from the wrecked ship was washed up on the shore. The castaway was washed up on the beach.
19. down (mow down violently cause to fall. Sp. derribar)
20. off (pull something off to succeed in doing something difficult. Sp. Llevar a cabo, lograr. E.g. We pulled off the deal. I never thought you'd pull it off.)
Melt: melted ice or snow. Sp. deshielo
22. spread (spread, spread, spread)
Notion /ˈnəʊʃn/ an idea, a belief or an understanding of something. E.g. Notion (of something) a political system based on the notions of equality and liberty. She had only a vague notion of what might happen. He has no notion of the difficulty of the problem. Notion (that…) I have to reject the notion that greed can be a good thing.
Deflect: /dɪˈflekt/ to change direction or make something change direction, especially after hitting something. Sp. desviar. E.g. The ball deflected off Reid's body into the goal. Deflect something He raised his arm to try to deflect the blow.
25. Exposed / ɪkˈspəʊzd/ (not protected)
27. impressed (feeling admiration for somebody/ something because you think they are particularly good, interesting, etc. E.g. I must admit I am impressed. Impressed by/ with somebody/ something We were all impressed by her enthusiasm. She was suitably impressed (= as impressed as somebody had hoped) with the painting.
31. ride (get, take, etc. a free ride: to get or take something without paying because somebody else is paying for it)
1. a document giving the right to travel on public transport or go to a theatre, cinema, or museum without paying. E.g. Annie's the film critic for the local radio station, so she has a free pass for all the cinemas in the area.
2. complete freedom to do something. E.g. Just because you're famous, you don't get a free pass to break the law
32. run (in the long run: concerning a longer period in the future. E.g. This measure inevitably means higher taxes in the long run.)
33. with (tinker (with something) to make small changes to something in order to repair or improve it, especially in a way that may not be helpful. Sp. hacer pequeños ajustes. E.g. He's in the garage tinkering with his bike. The password will prevent others from tinkering with your data. The government is merely tinkering at the edges of a much wider problem.)
Blindly: 1 without being able to see what you are doing. E.g. She groped (using her hands she tried to find sth she could not see) blindly for the light switch in the dark room. 2 without thinking about what you are doing. E.g. He wanted to decide for himself instead of blindly following his parents' advice.
Poke at something: to push a pointed object, your finger, etc. at something repeatedly with small quick movements. Sp. meter, darle, tantear. E.g. He poked at the spaghetti with a fork.
Shiver: a sudden shaking movement of your body because you are cold, frightened, excited, etc. E.g. The sound of his voice sent shivers down her spine.
spine-tingling: /ˈspaɪn tɪŋɡlɪŋ/ (adj.) (of an event, a piece of music, etc.) enjoyable because it is very exciting or frightening. E.g. a spine-tingling video.
spine-tinglingly: (adv) E.g. This spine-tinglingly beautiful song sounds even more jaw-dropping when he sings it.
37. to (to somebody's liking: suitable, and how somebody likes something. E.g. The coffee was just to his liking. The agreement we have is to my liking.)
38. own (will: what somebody wants to happen in a particular situation. Sp. voluntad. E.g. I don't want to go against your will. E.g. It is God's will. They governed according to the will of the people.)
39. run ( run something to be in charge of a business, etc. To manage something. E.g. to run a hotel/ store/ language school. He has no idea how to run a business. Stop trying to run my life (= organize it) for me. The shareholders want more say in how the company is run. A badly run company. State-run industries.
Howl: /haʊl/ (of the wind) to blow hard and make a long loud noise. Sp. aullar. E.g. The wind was howling around the house.
Charge: a position of having control over somebody/something; responsibility for somebody/something. E.g. She has charge of the day-to-day running of the business. They left the au pair in charge of the children for a week.