A GREAT DANISH AMERICAN BIRTHDAY - DR. JAMES HANSEN
James Edward Hansen (Born March 29, 1941) formerly Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he directs a program in Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions. Dr. Hansen is best known for his testimony on climate change in the 1980s that helped raise awareness of global warming. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards including the Sophie and Blue Planet Prizes. Dr. Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power and for outlining actions needed to protect the future of young people.
In his upcoming book Sophie's Planet Dr. Hansen writes...
Sophie’s Planet is the world that will be inhabited by today’s young people, their children,
grandchildren and the “seventh generation” that Native Americans evoke in calling for conservation and love of nature. There is no good reason that this planet cannot continue to be a spectacular world in which humans co-exist with all other life.
Yes, I understand well that climate change is a rising threat. Extreme climate events – floods, storms, heat waves, fires – are becoming more extreme. Sea level is rising and threatens coastal cities. The subtropics in summer and tropics most of the year are becoming uncomfortably hot. If we let these effects continue to grow, pressures to emigrate from low latitudes and coastal cities could make the planet ungovernable.
Moreover, a warming world incubates pathogens and infectious disease. Disease vectors – living organisms that can transmit disease to humans – can survive winter and spread to higher latitudes and altitudes. So, if we don’t reverse the warming, the great outdoors will be less welcoming to humans than it once was. The Covid-19 pandemic provides us a wakeup call, revealing that we need to appreciate better our interactions with other species.
Sounds depressing? No, it’s invigorating, once you understand the situation and know what we must do! The things we must do are not painful. In fact, it will be kind of fun. We must go back to a climate more like that in the middle of the 20th century, or slightly cooler. So, don’t throw away your skis – you might ask your grandparents what climate was like back then.
Dr. James Hansen Website
And, Dr. Hansen writes about his Danish heritage...
Ingvert and Karen Hansen, my great grandparents, emigrated from Denmark in 1860.
Ingvert was born in Ribe County, Lihme, in rural Denmark in 1836. At age 19 he was converted to the Latter Day Saint (LDS) religion14 by Mormon missionaries. He served four years as a Mormon missionary while he worked as a carpenter in Denmark. At age 23 he married Karen Pietersdaughter of Holme, Denmark, and in 1860 they used her small inheritance to pay for their trip to America, where they hoped to contribute to the building of Zion, the Promised Land.
Ingvert, Karen and 729 other ‘Saints’ – converted Danish, Swiss and English Mormons – set sail in May 1860 from Liverpool on the William Tapscott, a three-deck sail ship usually used for freight. With unfavorable winds, the trip took 35 days on rough seas, during which 10 passengers died, 9 marriages occurred, and four babies were born, one of these to Ingvert and Karen. They named their first child William Tapscott Bell, after the ship’s captain James Bell, which may have helped assure that the newborn was declared an American citizen by the captain. The captain had sole authority to declare whether a child was born close enough to shore to be a citizen. The most arduous leg of their journey, by oxcart from Omaha to Utah, required 21⁄2 months. They reached Salt Lake City in October 1860.
Ingvert’s carpenter tools, carried from Denmark, aided their pioneer struggles in the forbidding Utah landscape. But Ingvert and Karen became disillusioned with Brigham Young’s version of the Latter Day Saint church, especially its polygamy (more precisely polygyny, plural wifism). From an apostate Mormon, Alex McCord, they learned about a smaller offshoot of the Latter Day Saint church – the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, RLDS15 -- with members located mainly on the eastern banks of the Missouri River in Iowa and Missouri.
The RLDS religion was closer to the church the Hansens thought they were joining when they left Denmark. So, in 1864, now with three children, Ingvert and Karen set out with their oxen on the Mormon Trail in reverse. Their goal, on the advice of McCord, was to homestake in western Iowa, which in 1864 was tallgrass prairie, with tree groves growing mainly along the streams.
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