Friday, February 9, 2007

Global Warming: A Hot Issue that's Burning Me Up

Talk of global warming has escalated in the past couple of years, as we all know. From scientists proclaiming that this biproduct effect of burning fossil fuels will doom the Earth, to other scientists who say this issue is complete rubbish, everybody's got an opinion. It's for this reason that I firmly believe we need to change the subject.

To me, the concept of global warming has become a political issue that has lost all of its meaning. I say this because, if, indeed, we humans are destroying the Earth by burning fossil fuels and creating global warming, then quite frankly there's not a whole lot we can do about it now. If scientists who predict a rapid increase in worldwide temperatures, resulting in harsher storms, higher water levels, and a general imbalance in all that is good in nature, then it's too late for us to change anything in the foreseeable future because we're in way too deep.

Instead of arguing about global warming, let's focus on the other major issues that are directly related to burning fossil fuels:
  • Health: Can anybody in their right mind honestly say that pumping smoke, exhaust, and other fumes into the air is good for us? Sure, some yokels out there couldn't give a plugged nickel about this issue, but on the whole we're threatening our lungs with carcinogens and other garbage. Asthma, cancer, emphysema, etc. are all exacerbated by having polluted air. Just look at this tiny little gem from the Philadelphia Inquirer today, and see if you feel a bit less content with the pollution we're creating....
Group blames Sunoco for carcinogenic pollution An environmental group said nine oil refineries - including Sunoco Inc.'s operation in South Philadelphia - that have 15 percent of the nation's refining capacity accounted for one-third of total carcinogenic pollution emissions reported by the oil industry. The Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group in Washington, said Sunoco's Philadelphia refinery released 87,009 pounds of carcinogens into the air in 2004, ranking the plant eighth on the list. A company spokesman said Sunoco was proud of its record on health, environment and safety issues.- Harold Brubaker
  • Economics: Imagine you could drive a car that would cost you nothing, nil, nada to drive as a result of not having to fill up on gas, ever. I personally, and unfortunately, spend about 50 bucks per week filling up my car, and that's using a fairly efficient car (Ford Focus) by today's standards. If everybody could pocket that money instead of literally burning it into thin air, imagine how much better off people would be the world over. Obviously this is an extreme example, but the big shots at big oil don't seem to be in any rush to change this setup because they're rolling deep in dough due to our thirst for gasoline. I'm not even going to get started on the notion of funding the terrorists and Middle Eastern nations....
  • Aesthetics: Close your eyes for a moment and think back to the last time you heard somebody say, "Boy, I wish there were more smog in our sky." Or, "This city would look so much better with more black grime from smoke on the buildings." Sadly, people from old cities are pretty much accustomed to buildings looking grimy, but go to a cleaner environment and the difference is immediately noticeable. The polluted air affects the way things look, and subsequently gives people a less favorable outlook on the world.
Undoubtedly, the ability to burn fossil fuels has made our lives better in many ways, such as giving us hot and cold air to make weather extremes more tolerable; enabling us to cook foods more easily; providing a way for us to get place to place; etc. But now's the time to break out of the fossil-fuel-burning mode that we're stuck in. And if we are able to cut back on fossil fuel burning because of the aforementioned reasons, perhaps we'll lessen the global warming effect to boot. Then maybe we'll all breathe a bit easier.

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