The Global Warming Problem Has Millions of Solutions
problem itself couldn't be simpler - there is too much carbon dioxide (and
methane) in the air. These are the "greenhouse gases" that are polluting our
atmosphere, preventing solar heat from dissipating out into space, and warming
the global climate, causing a cascade of catastrophes, detailed constantly in
the news and in such books as
An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore,
Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert and
The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery.
Before humans started messing with the atmosphere, carbon dioxide and oxygen
stayed in balance. Growing plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen,
storing carbon in their tissues. Animals consume oxygen and exhale carbon
dioxide. Balance was lost when humans began using fossil fuels - coal, petroleum
and natural gas. Oil and gas contain carbon stored by plants over millions of
years, and through combustion in power plants and internal combustion engines,
release the carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, far too much of it for
contemporary plants to absorb.
Scientists have warned us for decades about the problems sure to ensue as the
imbalance increased. Politicians have interfered with turning these warnings
into practical solutions at the governmental level. The predicted catastrophes
are well under way, and governments have not even devised, much less
implemented, effective solutions. The United States, by far the largest energy
consumer, is the worst offender in creating the problem, and is the most
recalcitrant nation in even acknowledging the existence of global warming.
Neither the congress nor the administration have come up with any effective
global warming problem is so huge, it seems like a given that only huge forces,
like governments, can deal with it. Luckily that is not so. Global warming is a
problem of consumption, and we are the big, the ultimate, consumers. Blame giant
corporations all you want, for this and other problems, but always remember -
THEY CAN'T SELL IT IF WE DON'T BUY IT. We hold the solution to global warming in
the decisions we make in our daily lives. We can drive less, heat less, cool
less, light less, and use less (of many things that soak up energy in their
manufacture and marketing). Now, these actions may seem to detract a bit from
our quality of life, but one major reduction in energy consumption will also
bring about a major enhancement in the quality of one super important and
constant component, and that is eating!
Eat Here, by Brian Halweil, for some shocking statistics on how far our food
usually travels on the way to the table. See,
What You DON'T See... And transportation is only one component of the giant
energy bite taken by our current food delivery system. Think of all the cold
storage warehouses, fork lift trucks, factories making shipping cartons, and
air-conditioned supermarkets are involved. All of these energy gobblers, plus
endless lines of semi trucks pulling refrigerated trailers add exponentially to
the energy cost of food.
can grow quite a bit of our own food.
Start Now Gardens on Bloomington Avenue is testament to that fact. We can
buy most of the rest of a wonderful and varied diet from other producers close
by. Many of them are listed on this website. Everything we grow for ourselves or
buy from local producers is fresh, and consequently the very best food there is.
Buying local is a big boost for the local economy, and we benefit from the
increased net worth of our home community. And every bit of food that isn't
shipped is a drop of fuel not burned, a bit of carbon dioxide not polluting the
atmosphere, and a step toward the solution to global warming.
Maybe what I do isn't much, but I am one of millions, and when millions do it,
are used to asking "the government" to take care of problems for us, and
whenever we do that, we give away our power. In our own yards at home, we can
take a stand, and start to reclaim that power. The Organic movement is getting
very large, and is dominated by giant corporations.
See chart. But none of that corporate
Organic food is local. It exacerbates global warming and it doesn't deserve our
dollars. Give your time to your home garden and your dollars to your local
producers, and win the fight for life on earth.