Sunday, April 27, 2008

Today's Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Good morning, it's Sunday, April 27. And how are you feeling today about your planet?

Another Earth Day has come and gone, and with it a chance to reflect on what we're doing -- or not -- to preserve God's green earth.

There are encouraging signs that suggest we're taking this seriously. We've been recycling for years, we're now using more energy-efficient lighting and we're beginning to eschew plastic bags at the supermarket for re-useable cloth totes. Manufacturers are making products that are more energy and water efficient. We're waiting in line to buy fuel-efficient hybrid cars.

The Herald published an Earth Day story about Village of the Arts gallery owners Kevin Webb and Diane Montrose, who are transforming trash and found objects into their art. They've recycled everything from suitcases, birdcages and roller-skates to plastic and small toys for their work.

All these efforts count toward the preservation of our planet and are worth celebrating. But are we just scratching the surface? Will it be enough?

Satirical novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who passed away a year ago, once suggested the following message be carved into the walls of the Grand Canyon for the aliens who'll be arriving in flying saucers to survey our demise:

"We probably could have saved ourselves, but we were too damned lazy to try very hard . . . and too damn cheap."

It is difficult to fathom why it has taken us so long to embrace the green concept. It was 38 years ago when Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson, dismayed by government's ignorance of environmental issues, fostered the notion of a day to focus on the plight of our planet.

America is one of the world's worst polluters, yet our government has been dragging its heels for years over the environment. We managed to enact the Clean Air Act in 1970 and the Clean Water Act in 1977, and we continue to tinker with fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles. The dossier is not that impressive, and nothing has come easy.

I'm not sure Al Gore deserved a Nobel Peace Prize for "An Inconvenient Truth" but if the Oscar-winning documentary helped raise world awareness about global warming, he deserves more than a pat on the back. We've spent far too much time arguing over the very existence of global warning, and not enough time seeking solutions to repair or allay environmental damage.

We've been warned by a U.N. panel that global carbon emissions must begin to drop by 2015 or we risk catastrophic climate change. Yet President Bush, who balked at the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases after he took office, recently gave the U.S. a deadline of 2025. You've probably already figured out I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure those extra 10 years without mandated limits would not be kind ones to Mother Earth.

Our three leading presidential candidates all appear to be more supportive of the environment than the current administration. (It is, after all, an election year). It will be interesting to see who among them might raise the topic above the level of campaign rhetoric.

Meanwhile, we can keep plugging away. It's all right to feel good about the efforts we're making, but it's a long haul until Earth Day 2009. We shouldn't wait 365 more revolutions around the sun for our next move.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must take task with a lot of your items to help the environment. Things like compact fluorescent lites and totes instead of plastic bags have almost zilch effect on so called global warming. Those compact fluorescent lites are full of mercury and must be handled like hazardous material when you throw them out. Do you include in your savings costs the massive pollution in China caused by manufacturing that is not wanted in this country of those lights? The act of recycling alone uses a tremendous amount of energy, and much of the recycled material winds up in a landfill anyway. And how about nuclear energy? The most global warming friendly energy source is NEVER mentioned in any article in yours or any other news source. That is nuclear energy. With nuclear, you could truly have electric cars, however you would create a lot of ozone that would be another pollutant. And how about Dr. Gray who you always give lots of credit to each year with his hurricane preditions? He does not believe global warming exists. Wind, solar which you cover a lot are not answers. They will not work at nite, in calm winds. They are not a reliable source of energy period. We cannot have an honest discussion without including all of the discussion. I would hope you would see that. Not addressing that, affects your credibility negatively. I'm not just some nut. I hold a patent on solar energy controller for solar hot water heaters. I have solar hot water in my home and am a person that does as much as reasonable to save energy. But I refuse to use low flow water devices or go without anything. I will use them in the most efficient manner possible though.