Intrigued by the mention of the 1,382,855 ranked book by Michael Gartner, “Outrage, Passion and Uncommon Sense,” in last week’s Civic Skinny column, I quickly Google searched the subject. I found a 14-minute CSPAN2 video with the author. It was fascinating. I immediately ordered the book. Now I am half afraid to read it because I am concerned everything I may want to comment on in the future has already been commented on by much better writers in the past.
Health of the planet at stake
“Emissions from airlines endanger human health,” said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 10. Airlines produce 2 percent of the global CO2 emissions, but the industry and the emissions are growing. Because of this endangerment statement, the EPA will begin the long process of setting rules for emissions for commercial aircraft. However, due to many complexities — primarily the issue that the United States wants to include global aircraft, rather than just domestic aircraft — these rules will take years to be enacted. Meanwhile, the endangerment to human health continues to grow. We should welcome the EPA’s statement but encourage the EPA to develop rules quickly to cover domestic aircraft. The U.S. should set the standard for appropriate airline emissions. The health of our planet and human lives is of utmost importance.
–West Des Moines
The air we breathe
Your parents may have said, “We can hit two birds with one stone.” Though they were likely referring to some obscure parental references that you didn’t understand until baby Jenny was born, it’s still valid today. Ever since the industrial revolution, we’ve been pouring out extreme amounts of chemicals into our air. In light of this, you know there has to be some sort of negative affect, and there is. Across the United States there have been a number of “bad air days” which cause irritated eyes, noses and lungs. These days are even worse for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
There are two things I ask for you to take away from this. The first is to think about the amount of air pollution you solely put in the air every day. The second is to think about how you can reduce that. Hit two birds with one stone and take action. Get your pesky workout time done by biking or walking to different locations. Help both the respiratory inferior and superior.
Our little “nitrate feud”
As pointed out last week, we certainly need to take climate change seriously. Trouble is, it’s a global problem, and a global response will ultimately resolve it. Americans should do what we reasonably can, but try as we might, we won’t move the needle much unless the other big polluters join up. It’s their world, too, and their problem, too. And they may need to cook a bit longer in order to get them to play fair with us and shoulder their part of the burden honestly and in a way that is *enforceable*. (I have to say, I am impressed with Germany and China’s efforts so far — if they stick to their plans and promises.) However, it is a bit of a stretch to say that our solution to the local Nitrates-in-the-Water problem will be to stop the rain from falling by altering weather patterns through some sort of unilateral action the U.S. or EPA would take this year or next. The climate change problem took decades to develop, and even if we did everything possible, the problem will take years to correct using that approach. So I like the lawsuit being pursued by Water Works. Nothing gets the small-minded on all sides focused like the threat of a good, hard day in court sitting across from people you don’t like and don’t agree with. Sharpen your arguments, kids. Duke it out. Then let’s all get to a shared settlement of this issue that deals with the nitrates problem honestly and in this year, not 10 or 20 years from now — hopefully by sharing the costs and burdens of cleaning up the water fairly, between all concerned, as we already know we should. And let’s stop dumping it back in the river south of town!