I’ve been doing a little online research lately and depending on how reliable you think sites like Wikipedia and Science 2.0 are, then here goes. Did you know that there is an area in the Northern Pacific Ocean where the currents have created a small floating island of decomposing plastic and other forms of debris? Of course small is only relative to the overall size of the Pacific. According to Wikipedia, “recent research sponsored by the National Science Foundation suggests the affected area may be twice the size of Texas”. Did you know that there have never been more people in slavery than there are right now? According to Wikipedia, “There are more slaves today than at any point in history, remaining as high as 12 million to 27 million, even though slavery is now outlawed in all countries.” Did you know that our known oil reserves will run out in as little as 46 years, natural gas in 63 years and coal reserves in 119 years? That one came from Science 2.0. I didn’t know any of these facts until I took the time to do a little research.
So now I’m faced with some very inconvenient truths as Al Gore likes to call them. Regrettably, there’s not a lot I can do about trash in the Pacific Ocean except never throw away anything recyclable again. I would hate to think that something I pitched out years ago ended up in the ocean but I guess it’s possible. And there’s not much I can do about human slavery except make an effort to buy products that were not produced by forced labor. On the other hand, I can do something, however minimal, about fossil fuels. I can turn down/up the thermostat, turn off the lights and write about the importance of making a difference in this blog. We can all do something and, frankly, I think it’s time we all did.
Let’s think back to the Civil War for a moment. Half a million Americans died in the war to end slavery and yet it appears that we still haven’t eradicated that plague from mankind. America has made huge strides but can any of us say with total certainty that there are no slaves in America any longer? 150 years hasn’t been quite long enough, but maybe another 150 will do the trick. The reason I’m pointing this out is to establish a timeline for the sake of comparison. If 150 years wasn’t enough time then what are we going to do if oil does run out in 50 years? It seems to me we are all hoping for a miracle. I’m all for that but is that all we can do, just hope?
Here’s another interesting fact gleaned from Wikipedia, the City of Los Angeles will not have enough water to meet their projected demand by 2020, if no new sources are created. If I was living in LA, I would seriously consider moving out and soon. And just for the sake of clarity let me remind all of you, only 3% of the water present on earth is drinkable, the rest is salt water and desalinization is not economically feasible as yet. I would imagine that as LA gets closer to 2020 that price will go even higher as demand tends to do that. If you think $4 for a gallon of gas is high wait till you see $20 for a gallon of water.
The point I’m trying to make is pretty simple. We have huge global problems facing us in the not too distant future and none of us is going to get a pass. I guess it’s always easier to go through life without facing reality because we, “just didn’t know that” but guess what, that doesn’t change the future one iota. Maybe if you’re old like me and we die soon we will never have to actually face these critical facts but what about our kids or most certainly our grandkids? When will it matter to us? At what point do we change our ways so that the coming generations have a chance?
This isn’t intended to be some blatant scare tactic. I’m just as guilty as anyone else for not thinking about this sooner. It’s just that now that I know, I feel obligated to do something, anything to make a difference. In my case, that means I put it all out here on this blog and hope that people take the time to comprehend what I’m saying and then pass it along to others. We can change the future if we all decide it needs to be changed. We just can’t wait much longer to get started. The clock is ticking. Let’s use less of everything, let’s plant gardens, let’s take showers together (my personal favorite) and let’s give our kids the same chance for happiness that we have all enjoyed.
Now that I’ve opened up this can of worms I expect to be criticized by one and all. That’s good because it means people care and that’s the first step in the process of change. I’m just as troubled by this as you are but you know what, there’s an old saying that seems totally appropriate, “The truth hurts, but only when it ought to.”
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.