Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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June 10, 2013

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

(Continued)

I don’t like reading these facts because I don’t want to acknowledge them. I want everything to be perfect. I see sunny skies. I had robins make a nest on my porch. My sons are going to camp, swimming, playing outdoor games and they’re happy. Nothing is wrong — right?

One thing I recently thought about is that we as a people might be ignorant about certain things but we are also ignorant about what we should be concerned about — knowledge vs. emotion.

We as a society are not future thinkers. It’s tough to plan our summer for vacation and now we have to look into a future that might be hotter, wetter, more violent due our lack of thinking futuristically.

What saddens me is we (general term) only think about economy.  We — like Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s $100,000-a-day CEO, said that environmentalists were “obtuse” for opposing the Keystone pipeline. He announced the company planned to more than double the acreage on which it was exploring for new hydrocarbons and said he expected that renewables would account for just 1 percent of our energy in 2040, essentially declaring that the war to save the climate was over before it started.

He added, “My philosophy is to make money.”

At least he’s honest. Dang it.

Money is good, important for our day-to-day lives, but it doesn’t produce air, water or food… But to be futuristic we can’t think that way. Desire for making money is not the problem, but we need to couple that desire for money with stewardship and care for the earth.

According to atmospheric scientist Ralph Keeling, director of the CO2 program at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, “Before the industrial revolution, we started at about 280 ppm. One hundred years ago, levels had risen to around 300, and they crossed 350 in the late 1980s. We think the last time concentrations were as high as 400 ppm was between 3 and 5 million years ago, when the world was much warmer.”  

He also concernedly said, “Crossing from below to above 400 will play out over years, partly because there is a natural up and down with the seasons. But this time next year it will be higher still. In a couple of years we’ll never get below 400 again.”

Mr. Gore also said after crossing that milestone of 400 ppm, “Now, more than ever before, we are reaping the consequences of our recklessness. From Superstorm Sandy which crippled New York City and large areas of New Jersey, to a drought which parched more than half of our nation, from a flood that inundated large swaths of Australia to rising seas affecting millions around the world, the reality of the climate crisis is upon us.”

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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