Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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June 10, 2013

SHADES OF GREEN: Think about the future and lower CO2 number

Conversation between a son and a dad.

Dylan (my 10-year-old son): Hey Dad, the neighbors went to the Indy 500 and I wish I could go some day.

Paul: You know son, I really don’t like the whole idea of driving around in circles, using a bunch of gas and producing a lot of CO2 — especially in this day of climate change. (CBS News says “33 cars started, 21 cars finished, for a total of about 13,250 miles driven. At an average consumption of about two miles per gallon, that’s 6,000 or 7,000 gallons of fuel. Not counting all the utility vehicles, and transporting all those cars and pit crews to the Brickyard, plus the spectators burned plenty to get there.” Not the best mentoring …)

Dylan: Well then I’m going to create a filter that you can put on the tail pipe that will capture the exhaust so that you and I can go to Indy 500 some day!

I love that Dylan is thinking about alternatives. But as adult we need to think about alternatives — now!

Last month we crossed a huge milestone without much fanfare.

On May 10, The Huffington Post quoted former Vice President Al Gore, who now is founder and chairman of the Alliance for Climate Protection, which is beaconing us to think. “For the first time in human history,” Gore said, “concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary global warming pollutant, hit 400 parts per million (ppm) in our planet’s atmosphere. This number is a reminder that for the last 150 years — and especially over the last several decades — we have been recklessly polluting the protective sheath of atmosphere that surrounds the Earth and protects the conditions that have fostered the flourishing of our civilization.

“We are altering the composition of our atmosphere at an unprecedented rate,” Gore continued. “Indeed, every single day we pour an additional 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the sky as if it were an open sewer. As the distinguished climate scientist Jim Hansen has calculated, the accumulated man-made global warming pollution in the atmosphere now traps enough extra heat energy each day to equal the energy that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-scale atomic bombs exploding every single day. It’s a big planet — but that is a lot of energy. And it is having a destructive effect.”

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