This interview features Thomas Manaugh, PhD, senior principal scientist at the Integral Scientific Institute (ISI).Thomas earned his doctorate in medical psychology with a minor in anatomy from the Oregon Health Sciences University. He has been a college educator, a consultant to companies selling environmentally responsible products and equipment, and an inventor who has been awarded four patents, including three dealing with facilitation of production of green energy.
1. You’re one of the rare scientists who believes that rising sea waters can be stopped or slowed. Why are other scientists reluctant to agree with you?
From knowledge of fluid dynamics and physics, we have deduced that it would be feasible to slow the sliding of glaciers into the ocean by pumping super-cooled seawater into the “grounding line” space under a glacier where melting is occurring. The grounding line is where friction from a moving glacier, grinding against bedrock, slows sliding of the glacier. Our proposed intervention would re-establish conditions similar to the conditions that prevailed prior to the warming of seawater and the melting of ice on the underside of the glacier by the warmed seawater.
That such intervention could work is a hypothesis that must be tested. Scientists are justified in being skeptical about the truth of any unproven hypothesis. No glaciologist who has actively worked in Antarctica has shown any interest in our proposal. We have reached out to several but have yet to receive a single reply.
Only recently have we heard about another scientist who has proposed that melting of glaciers could be slowed by keeping warmed seawater away from the grounding line.
2. In a previous article, you wrote the following: “Needed are breakthrough attempts to find solutions to global warming that are large and ambitious enough to actually give hope that global warming can be stopped. Incremental advances are important, but they are now coming too slowly to meet the challenge of rapidly deteriorating environmental conditions. We need to think bigger.” How can humanity think bigger on global warming?
The vast majority of scientists believe that rising sea waters cannot be stopped or slowed. The evaluations of judges at MIT and, more recently, research at Princeton provides evidence that we are years ahead of other scientists in our thinking. However, we need to capture the imagination of potential supporters who understand the danger in the status quo and who value forward-thinking solutions. They are aware that business-as-usual, incremental thinking is clearly failing. Not everybody will hold back if their imagination is captured.
3. How do you, and the team you work with, maintain a positive momentum when searching for solutions to our environmental problems? In other words, how do you not become discouraged in the current political atmosphere?
Why should we pay attention to fools and hucksters? Eventually, they will be discredited.
4. Besides the short, feel-good soundbites put out by the media for new activists, do you have any concrete, achievable steps that environmental activists can take?
Three things: Don’t vote for climate change deniers. Make donations to nonprofits that collaborate with other nonprofits in fighting climate change. Sign this petition.