I recently viewed an Al Gore Global Warming sequel at the Summerfield Cinema. I urge you to go see it and purchase the accompanying book. They are both powerful. Al Gore is an amazing, uplifting, positive, perseverant human being. It has been 11 years since “An Inconvenient Truth” and much has changed. The Globe has become even warmer to near no return, but the world leaders have acknowledged the problem [our own President not included] and agreed in Paris to advance technology to reduce green-house gases, particularly with solar energy. I will write a follow up article soon about the current state of affairs, high-lighting Al Gore’s documentary and book, and the change from 11 years ago. Following is the article that I wrote in 2006. Enjoy
THE HEALTH OF THE PLANET – GLOBAL WARMING – WHAT CAN WE DO?
Go see “An Inconvenient Truth”! Al Gore’s documentary on global warming is playing at the Rialto, and purchase the accompanying book at North Light Books. The film depicts the warming of our planet earth in an overwhelmingly visual and clear way. The need and urgency for a value change in our way of life is shockingly obvious if we wish our quality of life to continue. We must reduce our energy use from burning fuels, which produce greenhouse gases that are warming our planet. Of course this is inconvenient, when our life styles have become used to cheap convenient energy from burning oil, gas, coal and wood. But the change is necessary and soon.
Scientists throughout the world are all in agreement that the planet is heating up at an unprecedented alarming rate. Of the 21 hottest years in recorded history, 20 of the 21 have occurred within the last 25 years, including the last 12 in a row. 2005 was the hottest year recorded during the entire period. This alarming increase in world temperature parallels the dramatic increase in CO2 levels in our atmosphere. CO2 is the main greenhouse gas produced by burning fuels.
The glaciers are melting on every continent. The glaciers from Alaska to the Alps, the Himalayas to the Andes are rapidly receding. The snows of Kilimanjaro in Africa are disappearing. Antarctic and Greenland ice shields are much reduced and recently melting faster than any computers had predicted. The Arctic ice is dramatically thinner, and the North Pole has become open ocean much of the year. For the first time polar bears have been drowning in significant numbers. Such deaths have been rare in the past. But now, these bears find they have to swim much longer distances from floe to floe. In some places, the edge of the ice is 30 to 40 miles from shore.
If ice continues to melt at the present rate, it will cause worldwide flooding within the next 50 years, including San Francisco Bay and most of Southern Florida. Increased ocean temperatures cause an increase in the number and intensity of storms, hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and typhoons in the Pacific Ocean. Hurricane Katrina increased in intensity to unprecedented levels while crossing the warm Gulf waters. In 2004, for the first time ever a hurricane formed in the South Atlantic and hit Brazil.
What Can We Do?
Gore’s positive attitude is empowering, considering the grave problem the film illuminates. The scientific evidence that Gore portrays is staggering, but he gives us hope by summarizing ways to stop the warming trend with energy conservation and new energy technologies that don’t burn fossil fuels.
Reducing our own individual energy use, lowers our own costs [a big saving in our pocket book], while reducing global warming. It is a win-win. Every little bit of savings adds up to a massive amount when added up nationally and globally.
Save Energy At Home
One of the easiest savings is to replace regular light bulbs in your home and office with compact fluorescent lights. They last 10 times longer and use 66 percent less energy. If every home in the US replaced even one light bulb, it would have the same effect as removing a million cars from our nation’s roads. Lighting accounts for 33 percent of our nation’s energy use. Keep lights off when not in use. Install motion detectors for security lighting.
Choose energy-efficient appliances, called Energy Star, when making new purchases. Conserve hot water. You can cut energy use by setting your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees F. Take showers rather than baths, and install efficient aerating showerheads. Save energy by running full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine. Use the cool or warm setting rather than the hot. When you have time, wash your dishes by hand, and use a clothesline to dry your clothes. Over the last year, I began to frequently hang dry my clothes and I am amazed at the reduction in my PG&E bill. Adequately insulate your house, seal any air gaps, insulate hot water pipes and replace single pane windows with double pane.
Get Around on Less
Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking mass transit. I am lucky to live only three miles from work, so I ride my bike. It doesn’t take any longer, I get daily maintenance exercise, I save money on gas and it is fun. Drive smarter. Avoid gas-brake-gas brake type driving. Avoid unnecessary idling and keep your car in good running order. Make your next vehicle a more energy efficient one.
Consume Less, Conserve More
Energy is consumed and greenhouse gases are produced in the manufacturing and transport of everything you buy. Buy less. Buy things that last. Buy local products and produce [or grow your own] as much as possible. The farther a product travels, the more energy is used. Recycle. Compost. I produce more than a cubic yard of rich soil every year from composting kitchen scraps and paper.
Support Alternative Energy Sources
Solar, wind and geothermal are great alternative sources of energy. We are lucky to have the geysers in Sonoma County. Solar panels have become efficient and cost effective over a number of years. They actually give energy back to PG&E.
Support energy efficient green building; Windsor recently began selecting new construction based on green design. Sonoma County is actually a leader in the energy reduction process. Our nine largest cities, including Cotati and Rohnert Park have ratified the Kyoto Treaty on their own and are implementing policies to reduce global warming pollution below the levels required by the protocol. The Kyoto Treaty, which reduces Greenhouse gas emissions, has been ratified by 132 developed nations. The U.S. and Australia are the only advanced nations not to sign the Treaty.
We Need To Lead The Way
In the past, The U.S. has led the way when there has been a global concern. The protective ozone layer was being depleted by chlorofluorocarbon emissions. CFCs were the major chemical used in refrigeration since the 1930s. In 1987, with a Republican president, Ronald Reagan and a Democratic Congress, the U.S. drafted a treaty, secured worldwide agreement and began elimination of the problem chemicals. To date CFCs levels in the atmosphere have stabilized or declined. The ozone layer is in the healing process.
Our nation and the world need a unified commitment, much like our effort during WWII. Our nation came together under that world threat; everyone sacrificed for each other and the greater good. Global warming is an even greater threat - just not as obvious, yet.
Quoting Gore, “There was a storm in the 1930s of a different kind: a horrible, unprecedented gathering storm in continental Europe. Winston Churchill warned the people of England that this was different from anything that had ever happened before and told them they needed to prepare for it. There were many who did not want to believe his warning and he became impatient with their dithering. And he said this: “THE ERA OF PROCRASTINATION OF HALF-MEASURES, OF SOOTHING AND BAFFLING EXPEDIENTS, OF DELAYS, IS COMING TO ITS CLOSE. IN ITS PLACE WE ARE ENTERING A PERIOD OF CONSEQUENCES.”
Winston Churchill, 1936.
So let our nation awaken, and begin a commitment to reducing Global Warming!
Remember to brush, floss and see your dentist and hygienist regularly. You will reduce global warming by reducing halitosis. By eliminating bad breath, you will have more friends as well as improving the environment.
Enjoy Life and Keep Smiling!
George Malkemus has had a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. #585-8595 firstname.lastname@example.org