Humans are in control of the world because of our ability to think. I suggest we humans start doing a good bit more thinking about the consequences of our activities. We’ve invented many marvelous machines and technologies that have improved our living conditions. Often throughout history, greed has caused harm to our world, but wiser minds sometimes prevailed. Early colonists looked at the forests of America and saw endless lumber for sale. Fortunately, we learned that we had to replant forests to replenish the earth and have lumber in the future. When scientists discovered the hole in the ozone layer and the harm it was causing, actions were taken to reduce the ozone-depleting substances. While it will still take many years for the ozone layer to completely heal, it is healing.
Now we are facing one of the biggest threats to our planet – climate change. The science is there, we know it is happening, but for several reasons, many of us want to deny it or ignore it. One reason is that it is just too scary to think about. Another reason is the reluctance to change our way of life to fix the problem. Some of us are too busy just trying to survive that we don’t even have the time or energy to think about the problem. Sadly, some of us just don’t care and want to keep making as much money as possible now, regardless of the harm that occurs. The good news is that we can reverse the climate change, just like we are doing with the ozone hole. In fact, the efforts to heal the ozone hole actually slowed down the climate change a little. A new book, already a New York Times Bestseller, argues that the solutions already exist, we just need to ramp them up. The book is call Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken. The book offers 80 strategies to battle climate change.
Renewable energy sources naturally play a large part in the plan. By 2050, we need to have all of our energy made by renewable sources. This means that we need to replace coal, gas, and oil by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Our common sense tells us that we need to do this. Unlike growing more trees, we cannot make more oil or coal – it takes millions of years for those fuels to form (hence the name “fossil” fuels). Even if they could be obtained without harming the environment and used without polluting, eventually they would run out. Workers in the energy industry are already being affected as coal mines are closed or being automated. Rather than promising to bring back more coal mining jobs and increasing oil drilling and pipeline building jobs, we need to offer real jobs with a future and those jobs are in the renewable energy fields. We need to stop subsidizing the dirty energies. We need to stop giving free water for fracking. They get the oil and we get stuck with poisonous water. We need to stop building pipelines for oil. Again, the dirty energy company gets the oil and we, the public, get stuck with cleaning up the spills. Representative Shimkus has taken $180,450 from the oil and gas industries, industries which need to be replaced by wind and solar. He votes against protections for our air and water from the dirty energy companies. The 15th District needs a representative who has our long-term interests in mind and is not swayed by companies who want short-term profit regardless of the harm done. The 15th District needs a representative who is looking out for everyone and not for a big corporate donor of an industry that is harming our world.[ Estrada, Francisco et al. http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n12/full/ngeo1999.html Statistically derived contributions of diverse human influences to twentieth-century temperature changes, Nature Geoscience]