We (humans) can do little things that become big goofs. Some things look big, but are actually small, but still can be a big goof.
Two articles in today's Birmingham News show us that this is true.
One article is about the oil spill. How big is the spill?, the headline asks. Let's put it in context, the headline answers.
The Mississippi River pours as much water into the Gulf of Mexico in 38 seconds as the BP oil leak has done in two months.
For every gallon of oil that BP's well has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, there is more than 5 billion gallons of water already in it. That's 1:5,000,000,000.
If all the oil that has spilled were poured into the Superdome, it would only fill it one seventh of the way up.
If you live in Alabama you know Kudzu. The sprawling vine covers 61,295 acres in our state, according to the U. S. Forest Service. The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service estimates estimates over 250,000 acres in our state are covered.
There are 52,419.02 square miles = 33,548,172.8 acres in Alabama. Using the U. S. Forest Service estimate, that's 1:547 acres of our state are Kudzu covered.
(Depending on where one looks for information and whether just land is counted or all area, land and water, the number of square miles in Alabama varies, by the way.)
Kudzu first appeared in the U. S. in 1876, and was used as an ornamental. In the 1930's is was decided it could be used to control another human goof up (soil erosion from improper agricultural practices in the Southeast) and so 85 million (85,000,000) kudzu seeds were shipped to southern landowners.
Now we learn that Kudzu may be responsible for some of the ground level ozone that affects our air quality and gives people like me fits on days when we are warned not to go outdoors in Jefferson County.
So, here's my point. Republicans and other contrarians that deny global warming have said that we cannot affect the climate, that human action is too small compared to the expanse of the world and air that surrounds it. Republicans and other petro lovers have said that the Gulf oil spill is not that big a deal and are still screaming drill baby drill. Tony Hayward said the spill was "relatively tiny" compared to the "very big ocean." Technically, as has been shown, he was right.
There are two kinds of people in the world (really there are many kinds, depending on what one is talking about), those who care about the environment and those who do not. Of the ones who care about the environment there are two kinds, those who understand that little things we do today, can have a huge impact tomorrow, and those whose concern about the environment goes no further than what they see at the moment and their perception of a more immediate future.
A little ornamental vine that was exhibited at an exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 has turned into a monster that affects our health as a result of human activity.
The relatively small amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico is going to forever change some of the most fragile and important lands in the coastal states, and affect many species in ways we cannot predict yet. The root of this problem is human, also. Human greed.
Republicans have called for less financial regulation, in the aftermath of a financial crisis that was caused in large part by lack of regulation.
Now they want to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, and are critical of the president's halt of deep water drilling.
Here's the deal. America has to wake up. Quit putting off the development of alternative energy sources while saying we have plenty of fossil fuel and time to slowly make the changes. And quit drilling in the Gulf...really forever, but at least until you can assure us that you know WTF you are doing!
Here's an idea. Add a $4.00 per gallon gas tax and let the proceeds go toward alternative fuel research. We made a drastic and relatively quick change from horse and buggy to steam engine to gasoline powered vehicles and I'm sure the horse traders and horse feed producers didn't like it one bit. The industrial revolution changed the way goods were produced and I'm sure that as the factories were beginning to manufacture what we needed (or wanted) the cottage industry folks were concerned about their way of life.
It's no different now. A big change is going to come about. It's just a matter of who will accept it and learn to change along with it, and who will be kicking and screaming because they can't adjust.
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