Watching coal-miners at work, you realize momentarily what different universes people inhabit. Down there where coal is dug is a sort of world apart which one can quite easily go through life without ever hearing about. Probably majority of people would even prefer not to hear about it. Yet it is the absolutely necessary counterpart of our world above. Practically everything we do, from eating an ice to crossing the Atlantic, and from baking a loaf to writing a novel, involves the use of coal, directly or indirectly. For all the arts of peace coal is needed; if war breaks out it is needed all the more. In time of revolution the miner must go on working or the revolution must stop, for revolution as much as reaction needs coal. Whatever may be happening on the surface, the hacking and shovelling have got to continue without a pause, or at any rate without pausing for more than a few weeks at the most. In order that Hitler may march the goose-step, that the Pope may denounce Bolshevism, that the cricket crowds may assemble at Lords, that the poets may scratch one another’s backs, coal has got to be forthcoming. But on the whole we are not aware of it; we all know that we ’must have coal’, but we seldom or never remember what coal-getting involves. Here am I sitting writing in front of my comfortable coal fire. It is April but I still need a fire. Once a fortnight the coal cart drives up to the door and men in leather jerkins carry the coal indoors in stout sacks smelling of tar and shoot it clanking into the coal-hole under the stairs. It is only very rarely, when I make a definite mental-effort, that I connect this coal with that far-off labour in the mines. It is just ’coal’–something that I have got to have; black stuff that arrives mysteriously from nowhere in particular, like manna except that you have to pay for it. You could quite easily drive a car right across the north of England and never once remember that hundreds of feet below the road you are on the miners are hacking at the coal. Yet in a sense it is the miners who are driving your car forward. Their lamp-lit world down there is as necessary to the daylight world above as the root is to the flower.
It is not long since conditions in the mines were worse than they are now. There are still living a few very old women who in their youth have worked underground, with the harness round their waists, and a chain that passed between their legs, crawling on all fours and dragging tubs of coal. They used to go on doing this even when they were pregnant. And even now, if coal could not be produced without pregnant women dragging it to and fro, I fancy we should let them do it rather than deprive ourselves of coal. But most of the time, of course, we should prefer to forget that they were doing it. It is so with all types of manual work; it keeps us alive, and we are oblivious of its existence. More than anyone else, perhaps, the miner can stand as the type of the manual worker, not only because his work is so exaggeratedly awful, but also because it is so vitally necessary and yet so remote from our experience, so invisible, as it were, that we are capable of forgetting it as we forget the blood in our veins. In a way it is even humiliating to watch coal-miners working. It raises in you a momentary doubt about your own status as an ’intellectual’ and a superior person generally. For it is brought home to you, at least while you are watching, that it is only because miners sweat their guts out that superior persons can remain superior. You and I and the editor of the Times Lit. Supp., and the poets and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Comrade X, author of Marxism for Infants– all of us really owe the comparative decency of our lives to poor drudges underground, blackened to the eyes, with their throats full of coal dust, driving their shovels forward with arms and belly muscles of steel. (P 31)
The men who had fought had been lured into the army by gaudy promises, and now they were coming home to a world where there were no jobs and not even any houses. Moreover, they had been at war and were coming home with the soldier’s attitude to life, which is fundamentally, in spite of discipline, a lawless attitude. There was a turbulent feeling in the air. To that time belongs the song with the memorable refrain: There’s nothing sure but The rich get richer and the poor get children; In the mean time, In between time, Ain’t we got fun? (P 127)
Comment: I often wonder why soldiers are so successful. Here is the answer. They have a lawless attitude. They are not constrained an handicapped by laws.
Lawrence tells me that because I have been to a public school I am a eunuch. Well, what about it? I can pro- duce medical evidence to the contrary, but what good will that do? Lawrence’s condemnation remains. If you tell me I am a scoundrel I may mend my ways, but if you tell me I am a eunuch you are tempting me to hit back in any way that seems feasible. If you want to make an enemy of a man, tell him that his ills are incurable. (P 152)
Carbon dioxide, plant density, climate and geographical change
Carbon dioxide is the main ingredient for plants. When carbon dioxide increases, vegetations increase. Deserts turn into grasslands. Forests become lusher. The earth becomes greener. After all, carbon dioxide is a green house gas.
Vegetations absorbs more solar energy than rocks and sands. With greater coverage of plants on the earth, plants absorb more solar energy. Surface temperature declines and air becomes more moist. This will increase rainfall, which will lower temperature further. With the increase of vegetation and the increase of rainfall, temperatures increases in most places are modest, if at all.
The temperature increase caused by the increase of carbon dioxide mainly occur in cold areas and cold season. Higher temperature shortens the time period of snow covering. Soil and vegetation reflect less solar light than snow and ice. This further increases the surface temperature. The positive feedback may cause significant temperature increase in cold areas and cold season. The increase of carbon dioxide makes winter season a little bit milder. The increase of carbon dioxide makes the bitter North a little bit gentler.
The increase of vegetation increase the absorption of water. The increase of vegetation turns more rocks and sands into soil, which absorb more water than sand and rock. With the increase of vegetation, more water is fixed on land. This will offset, at least in part, the melting of ice in cold areas. This is why the feared predictions of huge sea level rise have to be put into further and further distant future.
The increase of carbon dioxide increases vegetation density and increases the amount of arable land. This increases the global agricultural output. Due to the increase of carbon dioxide, less plants are hungry, and less people are hungry. Carbon is the foundation of life. This is known to every organic chemist and should be known to every academics.
Carbon dioxide is a green house gas. The increase of carbon dioxide makes the earth a greener place. It is an irony that the Green Party campaigns so hard against a green house gas that makes the world greener.