We are a few people among the many trying to address the crushing problems we face.
We are asking, when will something be done to address and face our problems?
The other day I was talking to my neighbor, which is something we all might do a little more often. We were talking about Climate Change, the Economy, the price of Oil and the War, all big problems we now face. He said “there is absolutely nothing I can do about any of it” and odds are he was probably right, but because you think there is nothing you can do, does not mean you should do nothing. It means you should do something, anything, because it is better to fail at doing something than to succeed at doing nothing. A while back I drove over to Houston to the Progressive Forum to hear author Bill McKibben speak. He wrote the first book on Global Warming “The End of Nature” over 20 years ago. A few years back I heard Al Gore speak at the Progressive Forum about “An Inconvenient Truth”. In those few years we have come from an Inconvenient Truth to a Deadly Truth. Global Warming and Climate Change are here now, much sooner than Scientists had predicted and hoped. For centuries explorers searched for a Northwest Passage, a way to sail from Europe to Asia north of Canada, last year they found it, you can now send ships all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific above Canada and Alaska. Recently there have been food riots in 20 countries across the globe, partly worldwide drought partly because our farmers now use some of our corn crop to produce ethanol which might supply 2% of our oil some day and which means they plant less soy beans, wheat and other commodities, food prices are doubling and tripling. For most of us it is a pinch on our wallet but for most of the world who live on around a dollar a day it’s malnutrition or starvation. Climate Change may help bring on some new pandemic a Bird Flu mutation or SARS or allow some old disease to resurface like the mosquito borne Gangue Fever epidemic in Bangladesh and Brazil. Warmer temperatures have allowed beetles to destroy millions of trees in Canada and other northern forests, they have begun to melt the permafrost in northern latitudes which free more methane a greenhouse gas. If you think Climate Change will not effect you, buy a boat because much of Southeast Texas will likely be under water by the end of this century or sooner, along with the rest of the coast line around the entire planet. With the melting ice caps and warmer ocean temperatures the oceans are expanding. When I heard Al Gore speak several years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island had broken off of Antarctica, when I heard Bill McKibben speak, a piece the size of Connecticut had broken off, in a few years pieces the size of Texas will be breaking off of Antarctica and melting. “Scientists are in a state of panic”, they see the data every day, they study the Ice Core samples drilled from the Greenland ice sheet which give a climate record into the past for near a million years and from that record they have deduced that the climate goes awry when Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere goes above 350 parts per million. Our atmosphere is now at 385 ppm and rising. The Western US has been in a drought since 1999 it has rained and snowed this year but many trees are already dead. There will be more forest fires as well as stronger Hurricanes. The average computer climate model predicts a 7 degree temperature rise in Southeast Texas by 2100 that’s 107 to 109 degrees in the summer. No one knows what the future holds, the earth may be entering a cooling period, then warming the planet might help offset that cooling or theGreenland Ice Sheet may melt, flooding the North Atlantic with fresh water that may stop the Gulf Stream and Deep Ocean Currents causing Europe and the Northeast U.S.to freeze. If we say their is nothing we can do and do nothing we will be absolutely right. James Hanson who is NASA’s top Climate Scientist wrote recently in Science Magazine ” If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted Paleoclimate evidence and on going climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from it’s current 385 ppm to 350ppm”.
We better get off the couch and change the world not the channel. What can you do, you tell me, may be start by going to www.350.org. My son is 6 years old what kind of world will he inherit. If there is nothing I can do it won’t be because I didn’t try something.
Hal J. Ridley, Jr.
THE MULTI-FUNCTION CONSTRUCTION AID
RAIL CRANE EMBODIMENT