Friday, October 13, 2006
Global warming: the debate is over
Climate scientists have reached an overwhelming consensus: global warming is real, it is being caused by humans, and it will lead to runaway temperature increases if left unchecked. Saving our way of life for our descendents is one of the biggest challenges of our generation. But we can accomplish this if we all start now. Let's review some of our most important actions in Carlisle:
1. Information and motivation. Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, will be shown free to the public on Friday, October 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Union Hall at the First Religious Society (FRS). The DVD will be released in November (see www.climatecrisis.net).
2. Driving. Hybrids, running on gasoline and self-charging batteries, are low emission, fuel-efficient cars. Properly inflated tires save 3% of gas mileage. Driving 55 mph instead of 75 mph gives 25% better gas mileage. Telecommuting and teleconferencing eliminate the need to drive altogether.
3. The home. Free energy audits by gas and electric companies can pinpoint energy conservation measures, many of which they'll do for free. Efficient appliances and office equipment have the easily recognizable energy star logo. If every U.S. household replaced three 60-watt incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs), it would be like taking 3.5 million cars off the roads. (O'Connor's Hardware in Billerica has inexpensive CFLs).
4. Recycling. The mantra is reduce, reuse, recycle. Be especially concerned with heavy items, which have the most environmental impact. The Household Goods Recycling Ministry (www.hgrm.org) takes household items. Composting reduces trash while fertilizing the garden.
5. Food. Meat production uses valuable resources (land) and leads to air (methane is a powerful greenhouse gas) and water pollution. Buying fair trade, shade-grown coffee preserves the rainforests. An area the size of Pennsylvania is being cleared each year in Central and South America (this is a football field each second). Buying local (organic) food reduces transportation needs.
6. Businesses. Local, environmentally friendly companies include Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Sunoco. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) mutual funds buy stock in responsibly run companies (see www.socialfunds.com).
7. Alternative energy. Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal reduce CO2 emissions compared to fossil fuel sources (oil, gas, coal). The Cape Wind farm on Cape Cod would provide 3/4 of the Cape's electrical needs without producing greenhouse gases.
8. Activism. Many politicians are promoting action on global warming. Representatives enjoy hearing from constituents. Numerous environmental organizations are helping conserve on many fronts.
These simple, easy-to-perform acts have real impact, without requiring much sacrifice. Remember Margaret Meade's quote, "Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." For more information, see the Union of Concerned Scientists' web site, www.ucsusa.org/global_warming.
© 2006 The Carlisle Mosquito