Letters to the Editor – March 29, 2011

Be good global citizens

As winter melts away, I’d like to share a few thoughts.  At low temperatures not seen for many years, we had experienced an almost forgotten phenomenon:  ice fog.

Gases otherwise invisible became quite visible as they poured out of power plants, furnaces, and motor vehicles.  From high vantage points, one could see all these combustion byproducts form a thick blanket over the city.  One could not help thinking, thousands of people live, work, and breathe within that blanket of pollution.  Granted, much of it was harmless water vapor. Yet the mix also included toxic carbon monoxide, various oxides of nitrogen, and climate altering carbon dioxide.

People should make themselves aware, that while this blanket of pollution becomes starky visible only under certain conditions, it is generated and exists YEAR ROUND.

Each year, mankind generates 7.9 gigatons of CO2.  Photosynthesis and ocean absorbtion recycle and sequester 4.6 Gt of it.  The atmosphere is still burdened with a not inconsiderable load of 3.3 Gt.  How many more years will Gaia be able to absorb all this, before lashing back at us through environmental changes and disasters?  These reactions have already begun, and only threaten to get worse with time.

Even an economy car will contribute 8 tons of CO2 annually. Other vehicles easily add twice that.  Multiplied by the millions, the problem becomes apparent.  While modern societies cannot do without carbon fuels, we can at least try to minimize our use of them.

It is incumbent on all global citizens to minimize their carbon footprints.

Thank you,

Paul Tengan

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