Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I meant to post this yesterday, cut didn't get around to it. What are you doing to fight climate change?
Today is Earth Day. The theme this year is climate change.
It’s pretty obvious that the climate of the earth is changing – we are experiencing more violent storms and higher average temperatures, the oceans are warmer and the polar ice is melting.
I believe that human activities are causing, or accelerating, this change. The climate on earth has changed before, but never as rapidly as since humans starting using fossil fuels to power their electrical plants and automobiles.
I read an interesting book some time ago called Collapse by Jared Diamond. He writes about the collapse of previous civilizations, such as those that flourished on Greenland and Easter Island. Diamond says, very convincingly, that these societies collapsed after they cut down all the trees. Trees also take carbon dioxide from the air; so fewer trees mean more carbon in the atmosphere and more warming. Will we cut down enough trees to cause an earth-wide collapse of civilization? It’s possible.
Diamond also speaks of the problems associated with the United States’ addiction to big cars and big, climate-controlled homes. He says the real problem is that the developing world wants the same cars and homes. He suggests we imagine what the world will look like when every Chinese family owns an SUV and every residence on the sub continent of India is air-conditioned. Even if the US froze their carbon emissions where they are today, would the rest of the world also freeze theirs? It’s going to be difficult to say, “We will keep our cars and air-conditioning, thank you, but you can’t have the same things because of global warming.”
Our Congress could set strict fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and institute a carbon tax to help control carbon emissions from power plants, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. So I’m not sure what we can do, except make small changes individually to use less fuel, and to save as many trees as we can.
My kids are doing their part. My daughter does not own a car. She depends on public transportation. My son has volunteered to help a group that plants and tends trees in California. They are both moving to smaller, more efficient apartments this summer.
I have enough trees in my back yard to call it a carbon sink. I drive a small car. Other than that, I can only pray that the world wakes up to the problem of climate change before it gets much worse.
I don’t have any poems about climate change, so I am sharing one, just for fun, about squirrels.
Another Squirrel Tale
With them being all around my house
and even coming in at times,
how could I not have another squirrel
caper to report?
What I wanted to say of them was, that
I think they can give blessings. Surely
they are like little angels nesting in trees,
who like nuts.
I think they might even be able to
foretell winning lottery numbers, or
point out a good person to date, if you
But you have to be kind to them, or
they will never divulge they can talk.
From A Year With Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky