Islands’ Sounder Letters to the Editor | April 15

The Earth is cooling

There is mounting scientific evidence that the Earth will continue the cooling trend it has been experiencing since 1998.

This physical evidence is contrary to the popular view that man-made carbon dioxide is causing catastrophic warming of our planet.

Reasons for the cooling can be found in multi-decade temperature data from satellites, in surface temperature records obtained since the invention of the modern thermometer in the 18th century, and in five-million years of the geologic record, using surrogate temperature indicators such as sediment cores and isotopic markers like beryllium-10, which is a proxy for the Sun’s activity. Taken together, these data indicate that global mean temperature correlates with sunspot activity – but not with atmospheric carbon dioxide, whether natural or man-made.

For most of the last 600 million years, Earth’s climate has been steady at an average temperature of about 22 degrees C, apart from periods of ice ages. Temperature changes have consistently preceded carbon dioxide changes. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have been 10 and 20 times higher than they are today, and global mean temperature has swung within a range of about four degrees C. In comparison, warming over the 20th century has been 0.6 degrees C.

Earth receives virtually all of its energy from the Sun in the form of short-wave radiation. It cools by emitting long-wave radiation to space. When the Sun reverses its magnetic polarity (about every 11 years on average), a new sunspot cycle begins. Solar Cycle 23 began in May 1996 and should have ended by now, making it the quietest sun in almost a century.

Based on historical sunspot records, this two-plus year delay in the start of Solar Cycle 24 signals a potential cooling of the Earth in the second decade of the 21st century.

Sheridan Johnston


Hoping to start weekly community potlucks

In these tough times, we can tend to focus on our own problems. But it is the need for community that brings us together, and what better way to build a strong community than to have once-a-week community potlucks at perhaps the Oddfellows or the Orcas Senior Center.

It’s an opportunity for working and non-working folks to network for jobs, work-trades, and everyone gets fed and has a good time as friends and neighbors.

I am more an “idea man” than a “doer,” but perhaps someone can take the ball and run with it. I do have certain cooking skills that I would be willing to donate to make this happen. Cooking for a crowd is what I do. I can be contacted at PO Box 1972, Eastsound Wa., 98245.

Dave Dunlap


Orcas Family Connections can help those struggling

There is nothing as humbling as finding yourself in the position of needing to ask for help.

Can you imagine having just $25 to feed your family for the next 10 days? Your spouse has been laid off months ago, cannot find work and is sinking into depression. You have been cut back to part-time. No one in the family has medical insurance. You do not know how you are going to pay your rent/mortgage payment, electric bills or even feed your family. You are scared! You cannot sleep, which is not helping, and you feel sick and helpless.

This is not an isolated event; many families right here on our own island are going through this now, today!

Orcas Family Connections is the place to go for help. You can call Erin O’Dell at 298-2456. OFC provides resources and services to empower island families. We can help you to fill out the health insurance form for your child, and get you started on the application for the food stamp program.

We can guide you to the food bank, rental assistance, heating assistance and other resources.

The stress and fear can be overwhelming. Without guidance and access to these local resources life could be devastating.

OFC was able to support this family, which went from hanging on by a thread to being supported by our local network. Thank you to all of you who give of your time to help those in need.

If you wish to help our local families, please give to Orcas Family Connections, PO Box 931, Eastsound. If you would like to learn more about how you can help, call Ethna Flanagan, OFC Board President at 370-0593 or Sage MacLeod, OFC Grants Manager at 370-0592.

Ethna Flanagan

Orcas Family Connections

Rollerskating ends

successful season

It’s that time of year again – the grass is growing, kids are playing ball and it’s time to take a break from Friday Night Rollerskating. The PTSA recently concluded another fun year of Friday night skating sessions. Thank you to the many volunteers who helped staff the evenings, and to those of you who came with your kids and enjoyed the fun. We had lots of beginning skaters this year and are looking forward to picking up where we left off again in September! Special thanks to Dawn Light, Kyle Ater and Bob Connell, who joined me at virtually all of the skate sessions to staff and run things. Also, extra thanks to Orcas Kiwanis Club, for contributing to renovating our well-used skates.

If you’d like to help, there will be a skate repair party this Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Old Gym. Bring a socket set, screwdriver or pliers, if you have them, and join the PTSA and Kiwanis Club as we refurbish all the skates we can. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 376-3930.

Barb Skotte,

PTSA President


Thank you to Rosario Resort

Thank you to Rosario Resort and Christopher Peacock for providing the Discovery House – without charge – for a community sale that involves 15 families and organizations. We are very grateful to the resort for their generous attitude.

Thank you to Paul Carrick, master chef who will sell his famous barbeque ribs and other foods at this celebration. Paul’s proceeds will be donated to the cancer cure walk that will be held later this year.

You can express your support and appreciation to Rosario Resort and Paul Carrick by attending the community sale on Saturday, April 18 at the Discovery House starting at 11 a.m.

It is a pleasure to live on Orcas Island where the community spirit is strong and vibrant.

Karen Ritter

Orcas Island

Thank you for Teach-in

On Friday, April 3, Orcas Island Prevention Partnership hosted the first ever Prevention Teach-In for 5th and 6th graders from Orcas, San Juan and Lopez Islands. But it couldn’t have happened without the willing collaboration, effort and commitment from many different groups and individuals.

Huge appreciation and thanks go to Camp Orkila’s Director and staff, Dimitri Stankevitch, Beth Wangen, Thomas Swinden; and Kaitlyn Richards for providing the camp buildings, assistance in planning and implementation, and helping to coordinate transportation. Also, thanks to Orcas Elementary School Principal Tom Gobeske and Joyce Nigretto for bus juggling!

Thanks to volunteer workshop presenters: Rena Patty, Laura Trevellwyn from DVSAS, Winnie Adams, Jeanna Carter, Lopez School Counselor, several members of PointBlank from Orcas High School, Julie Pinardi and Martha Sharon, Also, thanks to workshop leaders Jim Duffield from the Pacific Institute, Seattle, and Michael Goude from EarthTribe Percussion.

I was assisted throughout the day by several great volunteers who lead groups, shuffled chairs, unloaded and loaded 100+ drums and percussion instruments and just “flowed” with last minute scheduling glitches and logistical changes. These include: Pat Hunt, Cheryl Kummer, Eziekal Barr, Lerner and Davis Limbach, Michael El Fattal and Ken Salt. Many thanks to all of them.

Lastly, thanks to all of the teachers attending with their students. All were kind spirited, excited and supportive throughout the day. It was a wonderful opportunity for island kids to “mix it up” with kids from all schools.

Marta Nielson

Director, Orcas Island Prevention Partnership