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The Wasatch Behind: Ice age global warming

Sun Advocate Columnist

The king of Neanderthals called the meeting to order with a rap of his bison bone mallet. His followers, sitting on rocks in the damp cave, turned to face their leader.

"The earth is warming up," king Algore told the assembled crowd. "Our wooly caterpillar weather scientists are predicting thousands of years of warmer temperatures and retreating ice sheets. It will be a disaster. Glaciers will melt and the earth will be covered with grass and trees. Frozen rivers will become running water. The sun will shine through the clouds and something called "summer" will change the world forever. Cave bears, mammoths, and saber tooth tigers will become extinct."

The Neanderthals sat in silence, pondering the news.

"And we know what is causing the world to get warmer," the Neander-king proclaimed. "It is our fault. We are ruining the environment with our campfires. Campfires warm the air and warm air is melting the ice. We can't let this happen. In the old days our fathers lived close to nature and they didn't use modern conveniences like fire. There was plenty of ice back then and temperatures remained below freezing where they should be. The effect our fires have on world temperatures is obvious and we know what we must do. We've got to ban fires to save the planet. Let's do it for the children."

The crowd clapped and cheered, charmed by his perfect Neander-logic.

But then, some guy from the right side of the valley interrupted.

"Excuse me, sir, but this is only one of several ice ages in the past million years. Are you sure global warming is our fault?

The king of Neanderthals glared at the man coldly.

"Every cave in this valley has a fire," he said. "Multiply that by hundreds of valleys and thousands of caves and you can surely see the cause of global warming. Campfires are filling the atmosphere with tons of warm air. Our ice age environment is being ruined and it's because of our selfish wish to stay warm and eat cooked food. We should be ashamed."

A roar of applause filled the cave.

"But lightning burns whole forests every year," the doubting Thomas argued. "I'm not convinced that campfires make that much difference. And besides, our ancestors lived in Africa where they could do without fire if they really needed to. We will freeze in the dark if we give up fires now. We have adapted to fire. Our survival depends on it."

A roar of anger came from the crowd and a mammoth bone whistled past the man's head, thrown by a member of the Tolerance Tribe delegation.

"We have consensus," the Neanderthal king shouted above the din of the excited mob. "This issue is too serious to debate. We will not allow opposition. Be it resolved that from this day forth we shall build no fire and shall live as nature intended. We will eat our meat raw and huddle together for warmth and ban all flint and fire-making devices. We shall live in harmony with nature and all wild creatures. We will glory in snow, ice, and glaciers forever. We will preserve our frozen planet."

The crowd exploded.

"Yes," they chanted in unison. "An end to fire - we demand ice, snow, and cold forever!"

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