Earth Our Only Home, Inc.
Earth Our Only Home, Inc.
Sea levels are rising due to the warming of the oceans, and since hot water expands due to
its lower density, so are the oceans. According to Global Change Magazine for Schools (4-
27-2007), “About 80% of the heat which has been added to our climate since 1961 has
been absorbed by the oceans.” This also influences the formation of tropical cyclones such
as hurricanes and typhoons since they gain more energy from warmer ocean surfaces. As
we officially enter hurricane season, we must be mindful of how we are driving our
We have seen our CO2 levels increase three times faster between 2000 and 2004 than in
the 1990s, reports Robert Boyd of the Edmonton Journal (5-22-2007). Major headway is
not being made against emissions of greenhouse gases. Professor Peter Wadhams, in
personal communication with me, fears that we are not addressing the problem
Our world governments are establishing half-baked measures and drawn out emissions
standards. Wadham’s recent research shows that if we continue on the same path, we will
likely lose all Arctic summer ice within 13 years. Scientists believe that if the Greenland
Ice Sheet were to melt, global sea levels could rise by about 22 feet. Likewise, according
to Drs. Eric Rignot and Tony Payne when the W. Antarctic ice sheet melts, we could
experience another 16-19 foot rise in sea level.
The US population is 4.6% of the world population, but we produce 24% of the earth’s CO2
output, due to burning fossil fuels to heat and cool our residences and businesses. http:
It is also a result of our use of cars. Did you know that a gallon of gasoline weighs six
pounds but when burned and combined with oxygen in the air, the resulting compound
weighs nearly 20 pounds? In fact, Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, which weighs almost
two tons, emits over three times its body weight in CO2 per year (John DeCiccio, People’s
Weekly Newspaper, 9-21-2002).
What can we do to keep our planet cool? We can ask our elected officials to stop
supporting ethanol, sometimes referred to as biofuel. This, just like fossil fuels, release
CO2 and uses large carbon emissions to produce and transport them. It also takes away
valuable land from food crops in order to grow fuel crops.
We must begin to think in terms of “buying ourselves time”. The tipping of nature’s
balance may be happening faster than our ability to make the necessary social and
technological changes. Although there are some brilliant research ideas for alternative
energy, reducing CO2 (The Economist, June 2-8, 2007, p. 87) and photosynthesizing CO2
into clean fuel (MIT), these measures are not yet in place and may be several years in the
making. Green roofs, planting trees, changes in building technology and shifts in our living
patterns will also make a difference. However, none can have the impact of stopping our
emissions at this moment in time.
During an African Summit last year, China took 800,000 vehicles off the road in Beijing for
about 4 days. The city felt an immediate improvement in its air quality. Imagine if we
could stop using our cars one day a week, all around the world in order to hold our CO2
levels steady. We could walk and bike more creating a neighborhood economy, have more
time with our families instead of rushing off and in the process, we can eliminate the
addition of greenhouse gases.
Could Boston and Massachusetts lead the way? While our elected officials are debating
what should be done, could we start a grassroots movement to stop using our cars one day
a week? Perhaps alternating from Saturday to Sunday every other week? Could we do an
experiment? Try this for six months and see how much we can reduce our emissions,
improve our air quality, and reap wholesome benefits for our family life, our local
communities and our planet. Please let your voice be heard - contact your legislators. Let’s
take a step forward, one day a week.
This article recently appeared in the W. Roxbury Transcript (8-15-07).
|One Day a Week
Karen L. Weber, Editor