Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth Day... small steps and giant leaps

For Earth Day the fifth graders concocted biodegradable cleaning products (from ingredients such as vinegar, water, baking soda, salt). They tested different mixtures to find the most effective combinations. Now, the kids diligently make labels for their greener cleaners from their recycled homework. Soon they will 'sell' their products to their classmates by creating television ads. Media may be a big part of the solution to the woes of our planet, at least in generating recognition. (Look at the success of An Inconvenient Truth)

Small steps to reduce our energy use are no longer enough to stop the growing concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Writers at Grist ( point out some of the failures toddling along toward sustainability, sure people may be willing to switch light bulbs or water their lawns at night, but will most volunteer to do anything more drastic? Most electricity consumers wouldn't want a surcharge on their energy bill if they exceeded a mandated energy use standard. (USA-TODAY)

Economist, Andy Keeler of OSU's John Glenn School of Public Affairs spoke on campus this month about the Science and Policy of Greenhouse Gases. Keeler predicts the US will have a Cap and Trade System (in whatever administration is next). Cap and Trade limits GHG emission with permits or allowances consistent with the cap. This createw a price for carbon dioxide emissions and "makes the market tell the truth."

Other potential policy solutions include taxing all things associated with carbon dioxide production (including the production and transportation of goods along with the fuel itself) & or mandating the use of certain products such as fluorescent bulbs, or vehicles that meet high fuel efficiency guidelines ... the problem with this is that new technology may be even more efficient, but unexplored with stricter product regulation.

Whatever the mechanism it's time for some big leaps to go with our small steps. Small steps should not be halted. (The look on any fifth graders face holding their own earth friendly cleaner revels this!!!) Small steps, particularly from children, build awareness. We are the solution.

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