Sunday, March 25, 2012

What time is it there?

We think about time in many different ways. The main way many students access time is by looking at a clock and thinking, "How much longer is this class going to take?"
What do you know about time changes? If I look at the clock on the computer I'm typing on right now, it says 6:09 PM, but if I ask someone here what time it is, they will tell me it is 20:10.
What does that mean? What time is it here in Nova Scotia and why is it different from our time in Chicago?

Time has many intervals. Sometimes a second or even a part of a second has great importance. (Think about races.) Sometimes we count the hours, days, weeks or months and the seconds tick by without notice.

Tonight, at the beginning of this expedition, we talked about climate change, what it means and whether the efforts we make can change the course of Earth's systems and its components. In this discussion, years are irrelevant, hundreds of years, too. Geologists think in millions of years and the changes to the Earth as a system and its components (including us) over that amount of time.

What kinds of time are important to you? How do you measure them? Do you like to zoom in to a second or think in terms what Earth will look like long after we're gone?

1 comment:

  1. I just read the NYT article about how people were responsible for the extinction of large mammals etc in prehistoric Australia which changed the habitat and then the climate over time. Before people, things were relatively stable. I hope we can change enough now to at least slow down some of the ways the Earth has been impacted by humans. I wonder if it is the nature of our beast to throw things out of balance. To me, time is a continuum, a systemic flow if you will. In this sense we are just a moment that shifts things ever so slightly in our lifetimes but continues to have a increasing impact over the flow of time. That is why it matters to me what we do in the Now of time-- to think of one's actions as needing to have integrity Now and for the future too.

    Susan, I hope you are enjoying being in the flow there. We'll be in touch from here.