Wise suggestions

Earth Week is an occasion like an aunt’s or a cousin’s birthday, you feel like you should probably do something, but you don’t know what. Here is a suggestion: once a day make a trip on your feet or your bike rather than in your car. Motor vehicles are responsible for most of the increase in carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere and for a substantial portion of the oxides of nitrogen that deplete our tenuous ozone layer defense against ultraviolet radiation.

Americans add more automobile pollution to the air than any other peoples on the planet. Changing the atmosphere can’t be blamed on heathens from elsewhere or on some malevolent industrialist, we all contribute. Of course you may belong to the Sununnu school of environmental science and claim that global warming and related issues are fictional. However, consider that every major scientific organization and society in the world agrees that global warming and ozone loss are real and major environmental problems.

Also, think about what you are saying if you claim that polluting the atmosphere will have no impact on climate. We understand very well the mechanisms that allow carbon dioxide to trap heat in the air. Increasing its concentration in the air inevitably increases energy trapping in the atmosphere. So if you think no change will occur in global temperatures, then you must also believe that there exists some unknown process for balancing the heat gained from increased carbon dioxide by a heat loss in some way. And you believe that this balancing act will be perfect, so no change will occur.

John Sununnu may have information from some higher source, but science knows of no balancing process at the present time; and the assumption that the balance will be perfect seems somewhat optimistic. Certainly there are unknowns, but when faced with risks, how do you usually play it when the stakes are high? Why not leave your car at home once a day? Take a walk, enjoy the fresh air and the break from a motorized schedule.

Paul Loubere

Geology/Environmental Science