The convenient truth
Dear Editor:Whether one considers Gore’s new movie the truth, science fiction or merely a political ploy is irrelevant. The convenient truth is that most of the actions being recommended to mitigate global warming are good ideas in their own right. Reducing fossil fuel consumption is the most obvious one. Coal burning, for example, is the leading cause of carcinogenic forms of mercury in the environment, in addition to causing smog, acid rain and other problems.According to the National Cancer Society, over 200,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. A woman’s chances of getting breast cancer is one in eight and for surviving is one in 33. In 2006 over 40,000 women in the U.S. alone will die of breast cancer. This disease alone should be cause enough for drastic changes in how our society uses fossil fuels, to say nothing of all the other forms of cancer and respiratory problems caused by fossil fuel combustion. Our dependence on fossil fuels has also been at the root of two recent wars in the Persian Gulf, which have directly claimed over 500,000 lives to date.On the cheery side, reducing our consumption of nonrenewable energy can save us money and improve our quality of living and national security. In the 1990s the U.S. Department of Energy calculated that it would be theoretically possible to reduce U.S. consumption of electricity by 75 percent if state-of-the-art technologies were implemented. Rocky Mountain Institute’s Amory Lovins did a similar calculation showing that even higher reductions could be possible. Since the late 1970s Mr. Lovins’ projections have consistently proven to be much more accurate than other energy experts, giving us all good reason for hope.Another reason for hope is that more and more thoughtful Republicans are seeing that the government has a role and responsibility to deal environmental concerns. But make no mistake, the political leaders in Washington and elsewhere are taking their cues from the people at the local level. In the Roaring Fork Valley we have the opportunity to express our environmental concerns and to demonstrate to the world that solar energy, public transportation, efficient homes, healthier living and other changes can make a huge difference. Lets switch into high gear for the environment, reduce our extreme wastefulness now, and create an example for Washington and the rest of the country to follow! Conveniently, we’ll all be better off for doing so, and that’s the truth.Scott ChaplinCarbondale
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Novelist John Grisham, the master of the legal thriller, is in Aspen this week to give the keynote at Tuesday’s Aspen Words Book Ball at the Hotel Jerome.