James Hutton’s famous Uniformitarianism statement of 1783, ‘The Present is the Key to the Past’ has served for more than 200 years to guide interpretation of earth history and its natural processes. It is the basis of geology. Without this understanding, there would be no successful exploration for deeply buried and hidden energy resources that sustain civilisation, for the minerals buried deep in the earth, Hutton’s concept that we interpret earth history and predict its future, and through it, our future.
Today, most do not understand the concept, as with religious zeal many attempt to foist the problems of existing in a naturally and constantly changing world onto the shoulders of humans. In contrast, understanding that the earth has it own dynamic systems, huge energy systems, that cannot at present be significantly affected by human activities, would permit adaptation to the global environment and provide for mitigation of natural effects on our human population, with an enhanced standard of living for all.
Lee C Gerhard is a geologist, formerly state geologist and director, Kansas Geological Survey, retired, and currently an independent geologist working with Thomasson Partner Associates.