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Kirk Tolfa speaks

Global Warming Reality Check
Community Forum on The Day After Tomorrow

Sixty-three people attended the community forum on the global warming disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow, held June 9. Speakers included: Dorothy Friedel, professor at SSU and a paleoclimatologist like the hero of the film; Alan Strachan, Santa Rosa businessman; Vicki Videk-Martinez, Rohnert Park Council member; Sister Michaela Rock, Founder of Centers for Social Change; and Kirk Tolfa, 6th grade student who offered the youth perspective.
see a letter to the editor about this presentation

Presentation made by Kirk Tolfa

June 9, 2004
Kirk Tolfa is eleven years old, and is in 6th grade at Salmon Creek School in Occidental. Last summer he made presentations to teachers about composting, and was on a youth panel at Solar Sebastopol. He was also quoted in the climate protection report produced last year for Sonoma cities. Kirk wrote all of the presentation below himself.

Hello. I have been asked to give my views on global warming, so here goes.

First I am going to give my opinions on the movie The Day After Tomorrow. First of all it scared me into doing some research, which showed me that the movie wasnt exactly the same as the models that scientists have made, but it did give an example of what may happen, just in extremes.

What I did learn was that this kind of happening would cause economic distress and disorder. This kind of thing would actually be caused, ironically, by global warming. This would cause global cooling, because the polar ice caps would melt and dump millions of gallons of fresh water into the ocean right on top of the great oceanic conveyor.
Just a little about the great oceanic conveyor, it is driven by dense cold salt water sinking to the bottom of the ocean creating circulation. The conveyor carries the top layer of warm water around the world increasing temperatures everywhere. If a load of freshwater is dumped into the ocean the cold water wouldnt be as salty decreasing the density, slowing or even stopping the great oceanic conveyor. If this were to happen it would lower Earths average temperature five degrees Celsius. This would throw the Earths economy and agriculture into chaos. What does that mean, if you think about it that means that in many, many countries crops would unable to be grown that means that possibly millions of people would die of starvation (including some of us). The only question now is this going to be one hundred years, fifty years or ten years.

Now Im eleven and Im learning this, what am I supposed to do with this information by a few barrels of rice? The bottom line is we have no idea what we will do when this happens and we need to start considering all the possibilities. I dont think that most people know about this and that is actually why we are having this forum people need to learn about this so they know what to do to help and what to do to get ready for it, because it is coming.

The next topic that I am going to address is what I would like to see adults and the government do to stop or even reverse global warming. First of all, Ive said it before and Ill say it again, our dependency on fossil fuels has become so intense that even though we know it is horrible for the environment if another form comes up to fuel our cars differently the companies block us from it. For example a few months ago a design to run cars on air came up, that design should have been in every car company the night after it was discovered, but instead nobody has heard about the design. Something that I would like the government to do is make a law against making cars that are not fuel efficient (even if we have to use fossil fuels we could at least make fuel efficient cars, but were making cars that have worse mileage per gallon than cars were getting twenty two years ago). Finding alternate ways to run our cars and increasing cars gas mileage are some of the things that I would like to see happen to repair global warming.

Now I know that adults have been trying for a long time to get laws to lower the greenhouse gas emissions out of cars, but for a long time all the big corporations and the government have thrown all of our attempts out the window, stating that we just werent going to do it. As we know we were signed up to sign the Kyoto protocol, but when Bush became president he just said that we werent going to sign it, because we didnt have enough money. Just to put this into the light we are the richest country in the world, but we didnt sign it. One other thing we said that we werent going to do it and yet countries such as Hungary, Iceland, Slovakia and Ukraine were ready to sign. This is an example of what lengths the government is going to go to, to make sure that oil companies keep making money and so that big corporations can keep making cars that have horrible gas mileage. This is just what I have learned about the government and what they are doing to make sure that global warming keeps happening for a long time.

Last I am going to give three main responses I got to the question what do you feel when you think about global warming. From my fellow classmates. One response that I got was that they would be dead and long gone so they really didnt care. Another response that I got was from the people who I knew did more research on the topic; the response was I am terrified, because nobody knows exactly what is going to happen they just know its not going to be good. Finally the last response that I got was from the people who didnt pay attention to any of this kind of stuff so they said that they just didnt care. These have been the response that I got when I questioned my fellow classmates about global warming. These are some of the things that I have found out by researching the topic.

I have stated my opinions about this topic. I am very glad that I went to the movie The Day After Tomorrow, because I have learned so many things and developed a few hypotheses for myself.

Honestly my personal feelings on this is that I am really worried, because the people that I see gaining power arent doing anything good with it at all, this really scares me, and I wish that this country could look at what type of officials were electing and realize that we have to start thinking more in terms of the environment not just all me, me, me.

Im happy that I am getting this opportunity to give my views and to put out into the open what I have learned so that people may start doing there part in helping to heal the environment, thanks. I am so glad that I was asked to speak here, thank you.


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