Consider taking these actions
Global climate change.
OK, it's real, now what do we do? The debate about its reality is over, as virtually all serious scientists agree. This would not include any scientists who accepted offers of $10,000 each from the American Enterprise Institute, an Exxon-Mobil funded think tank, to publish articles finding fault with the report summarized below, according to Britain's newspaper, the Guardian. (http:// www. guardian.co.uk).
The Oregonian's front page headline on Feb. 2 states, 'Life As We Know It Gets Blame for Global Warming.' Two full pages summarize a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 2,500 scientists from 130 countries. The panel confirmed that 'the primary cause of global warming is human production of heat trapping emissions.' Of these, they attributed 42.4 percent to the generation of electricity, 37.7 percent to vehicle exhaust and 19.8 percent to industrial, residential, and commercial sources. Or, as Pogo used to say, 'we have met the enemy and he is us.'
We in the Northwest are said to be particularly vulnerable, since we depend heavily on snowmelt for our water. Oregon Field Guide on OPB recently telecast a rapidly melting glacier right here on Mount Hood. So global climate change is just that - global. Especially at risk are coastal communities (like New Orleans), those who depend upon commercial agriculture (most of us), wildlife and all future generations of plants and animals.
The bridge between despair and hope is action. It has been said that the cause of all our troubles can be summed up in two words: Ignorance and apathy (I don't know and I don't care).
Here is a brief run-down on some actions we need to take:
Walk, bike, use buses and trains, car-pool, get a hybrid if you can, seek alternative powers for autos. Home Power.com Web site has an article on solar powering cars.
Turn off the lights! We use way more electicity than we need to. Switch to fluorescent lighting and/or arrange your home to receive more daylight. Home Power.com Web site and magazine feature articles on wind power, solar transportation, heat and hot water. They have been 'off the grid' since 1987 and often sell electricity back to the power company. These technologies are 'out there,' and have been for decades. Meanwhile, we can subscribe to the alternative powers that are offered by our power company, PGE.
Use recycled intead of virgin paper. Deforestation is another cause of global climate change, because live forests, like the ocean, absorb carbon and generate oxygen. Take cloth bags to the market, and re-use any paper bags you still have. Buy local and organic. Plant a tree. Share newspapers.
Mow lawns with a hand mower. Better yet, use the space to grow your own organic vegetables, if you have some sunshine. Don't use leaf blowers - rake the leaves, preferably to under the tree that dropped them (their natural source of food) Don't introduce synthetics into the environment.
Get programmable thermostats, turn off computers when not in use, change furnace filters once a year, wrap your hot water heater unless it says not to, lower the temperature of the hot water and, if possible, turn it off when not in use. Buy Energy Star appliances.
Our success in turning this crisis around will be measured by our children and theirs. I hope they will be able to thank us for what we do now.
Barbara Kelley is a resident of Lake Oswego.