Gary Schofield - Public Speaking
- Delivered the ANZAC lecture on the topic of Gallipoli at Georgetown University, 2005.
- Delivered Gallipoli lecture at the Australian Embassy and the U.S. War College, 2007.
- Addressed American veterans of five wars, including the current conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan, at the Veterans Medical Center Washington D.C., 10th September 2004 on the topic of “Those Who Served Honoring Those Who are Serving”.
- Wrote and delivered “The Big Picture”, a multi-media production at the New Zealand Embassy on behalf of film producer Roger Donaldson in 1994.
There is a direct correlation between the love a student has for History and the way it is taught. What could be more engaging and fascinating than the real lives of exceptional people who have shaped nations?. What could be more interesting than the humanity and decisions both war and peace bring? Nothing compares to the immediacy of war or the fragility of peace.
1 Primate Combat "Line Up!
2 Out Flanked "lines overlap "
5 King on the Battlefield "My right hand man"
7 Accountability "May it rain on your parade, not mine"
8 The Real Nature Of Civilization "Driven to expand"
9 War on a Massive Scale "When it all goes horribly wrong"
10 Peace, the Final Frontier "The possibilities are endless"
Graphically and simply the show benefits from the US Army Military's historian Dr. Andrew Birtle and his simulations of conflict through history. We have available to us not only military miniatures from every period in history but also terrain and topographical features from all the battles of history. We could show, in an entertaining way, all we wish to illustrate.
1 Primate Combat "Line Up!
So we have a line here and a line there facing each other.
8 The Real Nature Of Civilization "Driven to expand"
The word civilization itself conjures up all kids of noble deeds and aspirations.. and that is all true but I have a philosophical challenge for you:
There are two very important things this institution teaches you:
1, to learn how to learn.
This leads to life long discovery.
2 critical thinking.
This is so you will not go through life easily duped, swayed by every advertisement or slogan and susceptible to propaganda.
You are constantly bombarded by money and power, financial and political agenda.
Your critical thinking is your anchor in this storm and your protection..
For example: Has anyone ever asked you;
“Do you believe in Global Warming?”
There is no place for the word “belief” in Science. “Belief may belong in religion or opinion or myth but there is no place for it in Science. Global Warming is an established fact.
There was some debate in the 1960’s. Mostly disinterest but this is an unsettling thought to civilization, to say nothing of powerful energy and finance companies. As the evidence has become overwhelming “the deniers” have largely shifted their position from “Global Warming is not happening” to
“Global Warming is happening but IT IS NOT US…. It is something else… something natural.”
Of course, in a sense, everything is natural, including us.
Failing to come up with evidence and science to support this claim has lead to all sorts of their bizarre theories such as Sunspots and the like. If we travel beyond Science we are in the realms of Magic.
There is no place for personalization in Science.
This issue is not about Al Gore. I have met Al Gore I find him a very honorable man. He was Vice President and was voted President of the United States but it doesn’t matter what any individual thinks, how passionate or how convincing they speak. It doesn’t matter what I say. All that matters is the science behind the words.
Our atmosphere did not come with the planet.
It is easy to think it all came as a complete package. We look up and see the big blue sky stretching into infinity but it is an illusion created by the atmosphere scattering light in the visible spectrum.
Climb a mountain and it is colder because the air is thinner… go any higher and you are going to need oxygen. You can travel for thousands of miles around the earth but you don’t have to travel very far straight up to be in space.
The atmosphere is a thin veneer around a huge Earth and its composition has been changed by the evolution of life itself.
The Early flora created the O2 in the atmosphere and with a preponderance of flora and high O2 levels in the Carboniferous Epoch arthropods grew to be huge with some insects measuring feet across and with lightning storms that literally exploded.
Climate Change is the way in which we divide the Geological Time of the Earth into Epochs. You have probably heard of some of these:
Mesozoic, Cambrian, Cretaceous, Jurassic?
Catastrophic changes in Climate and atmospheric composition and mass extinction actually divide eras of time relatively stable over thousands and sometimes millions of years.
These catastrophic events are often linked to an extra terrestrial event (Yes, a UFO as I am sure they were not correctly identified at the time) or catastrophic volcanism.
We have one of these changes now on planet Earth: temperature change, mass extinction and a change in atmospheric composition but where is our extra terrestrial event?! Furthermore this is happening in only one human lifetime, not even a blink of the Earth’s eye.
We haven’t been hit by a comet so what can this catastrophe be?
Perhaps it is a species that has changed the topography over the entire inhabited land surface?
The Milankovitch Cycles the natural cycles that largely determine glaciation and global temperature places us 6,000 years along a cooling period which should continue for another 23,000 years and yet we are warming!
Incidentally I enjoy coming to enlightened schools like this one where I do not need to also explain evolution and that the earth is older than the biblical 4,000 years.
Here is something to ponder. Given that nearly every religion is based, in some way, on the natural world, how would religion be changed by a hostile changing climate?
Now we are living in a new era. We have global temperatures measured from space by NASA. The Earth is surrounded by a haze of satellites.
We have measured CO2 pouring into our atmosphere and it has been carbon dated. It is OLD carbon as in Fossil old, as in Fossil Fuels, as in us. We are responsible for pouring trillions of tons of CO2 into our thin veneer of an atmosphere.
Furthermore SCRIPPS Oceanic Research has measured a corresponding decrease in the amount of atmospheric O2.
It is a scientific fact that CO2 and other greenhouse gases absorb long wavelength electromagnetic radiation. They keep heat in. If we take a broader look we see the Earth in space with two neighbors orbiting the same order of distance from the Sun. Both planets are dead worlds. Venus, our sister planet, you would expect to have a climate not too different to the Earth and yet temperatures there melt lead!
Why? Because the greenhouse gases of methane and CO2 trap the Sun’s heat energy.
On the other side of us is the barren and cold Mars.
Mars did have liquid water, an atmosphere and life but the loss of its atmosphere diminished all three.
The moon, we know now, has water but among these celestial bodies we are the only beautiful, blue jewel of life. If we are changing that AT ALL we can upset the natural balance.
Here is the most absurd and difficult thing the deniers are asking us to BELIEVE and they want us to believe this without any supporting evidence to their claim that:
‘”we can pour trillions of tons of CO2 into our thin veneer of an atmosphere and it will do NOTHING WHATSOEVER.”
Changes in the atmosphere are nothing compared to changes in our mighty oceans.
We are an ocean planet our weather comes from the oceans, life came from the oceans and the surface layer is measurably warmer.
CO2, when it dissolves in water, becomes carbonic acid, H2CO3. The more CO2 the more acidic and the less alkaline the oceans become. Very low on the food chain, supporting all those above, are delicate creatures that flourish or die depending upon Ph.
For example; take any quiet stream. Just by changing Nitrogen levels a few parts per million kills many delicate organisms.
You may have heard “we don’t have to worry about ice melting in water as the water level will not change”…. but what about ice on land, like Greenland for example? Or glaciers melting all over the world, ice thousands of years old thinning. The loss of aldedo; all that white no longer bouncing the Sun’s heat back into space.
All this has a direct effect on us. E.g.; There are billions of people at risk should the Tibetan glaciers, the source of the mighty Ganges in India and the Mekong and Yellow rivers of China, continue to shrink.
You have heard Al Gore’s graph shows global temperatures preceding CO2 levels and not following them.
This can not be determined from that graph. The graph is at an angle. There is error within every date, within all experimental data. Sometimes temperature appears to precede others times to follow.
All that can be said is that the graph shows is a definite correlation between CO2 levels and temperature.
If you would like to view graphs a few seconds search will show you increases in atmospheric CO2 levels since Industrialization, but dramatically since the 1960s. CO2 levels have even increased further since Al Gore's graph.
Now back to the Big Bang
Not long ago, about 13 billion years, the Universe began. That is not a lot of time when you consider that 4 billion years ago the Earth formed and life evolved 2 billion years later. Every molecule in you and me and all around us had to come from another star that had lived and died before us.
The Sun has only Hydrogen and Helium. We are made of heavier elements, the products of a nova, a stellar explosion.
So about 13 billion years ago our universe began and had been expanding ever since so the obvious question was will this expansion continue or will the gravity of matter in the universe slow this expansion and the universe finally crush back in on itself?
Just as we discovered there was enough matter in the universe to slow down this expansion we also discovered the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate! What is this but the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.
Einstein was trying to find one equation that defined the laws of the entire Universe. It was thought that magnetism and electricity were separate forces but they are part of the same force; the Electromagnetic force. This force in turn combines with the nuclear weak force at high energy. So scientists thought there may be an equation that would unify all laws and String Theory was created to unify these laws for the very small, Quantum Mechanics, to the very large in Cosmology.
String Theory mathematically proposed new dimensions to explain why gravity is so weak. One little magnet can defy the entire gravitational pull of the Earth!
This lead to an understanding that our universe is attached to a three dimensional membrane or 3brane. Gravity, the theory explains, not attached to this membrane, dissipates into the other dimensions…not only other dimensions but other universes and that we are one of a Multiverse of universes with different physical laws.
It was discovered our universe has a Cosmological Constant. It seems almost perfect and allows matter to exist but with only a little change to this constant, matter, (stars, galaxies and therefore us,) does not form at all.
But of course it is perfect. We are looking at it. We exist and are here to perceive this constant.
Here is an analogy to ponder; A golfer hits the ball onto a huge green. There is nothing special or preordained in that from the golfer’s perspective, but from the one blade of grass’s perspective, hit by the ball, it is a miracle of chance and physics.
Wait for it:
A current cosmological understanding of the universe is the Anthropic Principle. We exist and so our universe had to have the correct Cosmological Constant for us TO exist.
In a way we are the consciousness of the Universe.
Man now can be found even in the cold, dispassionate understanding of Physics just as our species has created the Anthropocene; our current era in Geological Time.
We evolved in the last moments of Geological Time and our existence is very fragile. Our present and future is determined almost solely thorough the civilization we have constructed.
Civilizations work the opposite way you would expect. We tend to personalize everything even countries and give them human characteristics but in fact an individual behaves differently to a mob, a tribe and a country.
We, as individuals, have the luxury of choosing to be happy. To be glad of what we have, appreciate it and be content. We may not but we have that option. Countries do not. They must always expand and take another’s resources. It is part of their 5,000 year design, much like a company. Countries expand and the thousands of years of wars and causes of conflict no longer seem such a mystery.
Humans have compassion. The first reaction to seeing your neighbor injured on the side of the road is compassion, to help. When a country’s neighbor falters the reaction is to “expand into the vacuum”, divide it up and take its resources.
In fact most wars throughout history are fought against neighbors and people the same. It is only relatively recently, through naval power, that we have been able to go to war with people who are different.
For your Global Perspectives question ponder: Why is New Zealand here?
Two events made the British colonization of New Zealand possible:
The loss of the Spanish Armada (mostly accomplished by the weather)
and The Battle of Trafalgar.
All empires fall. We have developed a flawed system. This should not come as a shock. Furthermore we think the leader runs the country but actually the country runs the leader.
Ponder this: take out every name in the history books so those people never existed and surprisingly history would be basically the same. Other that hearing slightly different music all the technology would be the same as would the collisions between nations simply because of these underlying principles we seem powerless to control.
I will leave you with a pressing Climate Change and energy dilemma I would like you to solve for me:
The well-meaning Green Party and the nuclear crisis in Japan have done away with Nuclear Power’s future in both Germany and Italy, with other countries likely to follow.
Nuclear Power does not create CO2 but currently we have no alternative primary, high energy fuel source. Nuclear power is far from perfect but we need a short term solution now before alternatives can be effective.
We could not run a 900 Gigawatt civilization like the US on wind and solar power. Solar power is a finite resource per square meter. Panels would be the size of cities or larger to run cities and they themselves create ecological problems to say nothing of the loss of albedo from the panels themselves.
Even the advanced solar powered Prius requires 8 hours standing in the sun to drive 30 or so miles down the road.
What are we going to do? It may well be up to you.
It has been a pleasure speaking with you on science and superstition and I will be happy to send the student concerned about the end of the world in 2012 an email after 2012.