Returning to weather in Moscow

Many inventions and new technologies don’t prove to be as beneficial as they seem.  An example is the chemical DDT.  DDT was first used to eradicate malaria for troops in WWII by killing mosquitos and lice.  It was extremely successful and was then used agriculturally all around the world when the war ended.  But a few years later, it was found to have seriously harmful effects.  It is known to cause cancer, birth defects,  and destroy soil.  Also, it is harmful through the food chain, which means everything in a DDT environment is hurt by it.

Thinking about how new technologies can have harmful effects made me think more about the idea of changing the weather, which has already begun in Moscow.  During the class I taught first quarter, we started by talking about this but we weren’t sure if what Moscow was doing would have any environmental impact, so I found an article that talked about how Moscow planned to change the weather.  Moscow’s plan is to make the clouds rain/snow by dumping chemicals on the clouds.  The chemicals and substances they will dump are iodic silver, frozen carbon dioxide, cement and liquid nitrogen.  These chemicals will make the clouds slightly heavier causing them to dump their rain or snow.  Moscow and the scientists that invented this technology claim that these chemicals are harmless because they are in such low quantities.  

In order to play down the harmful effect of their chemicals, they talk about the much more harmful car exhaust that people breath in everyday.  This is true, but the problem is that this technology is so new that we can’t be sure there aren’t any unknown side effects.  Just like DDT, this is a technology that seems without flaws, but there might be some kind of horrible side effect that we can’t even understand yet.  It’s the human attitude of complete control and confidence that can cause problems like this.  Lots of ideas are correct in theory but when they are put into real situations they fail.  Because the scientists in Moscow tested the chemicals to make sure they are not harmful, it is most likely that this technology will do no harm, but because it is a new technology that is not completely understood, there is that chance that it could have horrible side effects.  And if it does have horrible side effects, we could be in a lot of trouble.



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