Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Part of the problem, or part of the solution

Let’s talk about our environment for a minute

Let’s talk about our environment for a minute.

For hundreds of thousands of years, the level of CO2 in our atmosphere had never gone over 300 parts per million (ppm). In 1950 we had reached that level again, largely due to the increase in man-made pollutants to our atmosphere with the burning of coal and oil. In less than 100 years we had an astronomical increase to 400 ppm. From the 1850s to now we have had an increase of 1.1 C, not much in relation to daily or even yearly fluctuation, but of considerable concern when we realize that kind of increase would normally take many centuries, not decades.

We have inflicted irreversible damage to our atmosphere, locking in emissions that will stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and it doesn’t look like we can bring this to a sudden stop.

We need to: drastically reduce our carbon emissions by leaving at least 80 per cent of our carbon (coal and oil) in the ground; reduce our personal use of polluting vehicles (particularly cars and planes); decrease the consumption of goods that require fossil fuels in the making; move towards clean energy (solar, wind and ground source heating systems); force governments everywhere in the world to start making peace so as to eliminate the need for the continuous manufacture of military products; educate the populace towards a decrease in the number of children we have; save as much of our agricultural land as possible; move towards building higher urbanization rather than suburbanization; and stop eating so darn much meat!

We don’t want our great grandchildren asking, “Why did great grandma and grandpa have to go on holidays to Hawaii every year?” “Why didn’t you tell them they were screwing around with our chance of a decent life or a life at all?” “Why did they build a monster house when all they needed was enough room for themselves?” Why did they need two cars to get around when they could have used buses, or trains?”

As someone once said, “We are either part of the problem or part of the solution.”

Frank Martens