Ken Collins: See it before judging
February 17, 2014
Steamboat Springs — A man named Ryan kayaked the whole Colorado and wrote about what he saw first hand in Wednesday's Steamboat Today. And he gets railed at by a bunch of locals who I wonder; have they done that, seen what he saw?
Have you personally witnessed the disappearing icecaps and glaciers? I have.
Have you seen the salinity of our irrigated grain fields getting so high that less is usable every year?
Are you that great of Sunday-Scientists that you know more than 10,000 scientists of every type, world-wide, that have been studying the effects of humans on our climate for decades?
Have you used ice drilling down so deep that you can read CO2 levels changes thousands of years ago? Can you actually think that dumping millions of tons of toxic chemicals into our atmosphere and our rivers/lakes is no problem?
The fact that our civilian and agricultural run-offs into the oceans, killing coral reefs, bringing many species to extinction, warming the ocean temps to the point that Katrinas and Sandys are becoming common place is just a coincidence?
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We’re fouling our air and water with the dirtiest energy on earth — coal and oil. And now the Keystone Pipeline could raise the bar of toxic pollution to a level beyond what a lot of scientists say is sustainable.
No one is saying this will kill us in a couple of years, just before very many more generations get their chance at life. What possible benefit, financial or otherwise, would these scientists get from their findings and warnings? What possible benefit would Exxon or Peabody Coal or Monsanto get out of spewing their poisons for another decade or so?
There is a thing called “environmental debt” (look it up) that states that entities that are destroying our environment should have to pay for that damage up front instead of getting off Scot-free.
Who pays now? The people living downstream of the toxic spill in West Virginia, the folks at the tars and spill in Arkansas, the farmers who are losing livestock near fracked wells due to groundwater pollution, pregnant mothers who have a 30 percent higher chance of birth defects if living near a methane-leaking fracked well (a 25 year study of 250,000 women in Colorado), the fish and wildlife of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan from a Keystone spill, the victims of Katrina and Sandy. I could go on.
Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are investing millions in alternative energy methods to offset their “debt." No, it is not sunspots or ancient volcanos or just another cycle. It is not just weather. Don’t show me a bunch of websites. They can say anything you want.
The cost of these climate disasters is breaking our collective bank. Droughts, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes. How much have this winter’s ice storms cost us in repairs and lost work?
The cost of finding alternative energy methods is dwarfed by what we are spending on dirty energy's havoc-wreaking the last decade or so.
Job killer? There are more people working in the solar industry now than in the coal industry. We’ve got to move off fossil fuels and use what the Earth offers in alternate fuels.
Here’s what I can’t figure out. Even if you don’t believe thousands of scientists, or their studies, or the disappearing water table and arable acreage, the increasingly devastating storms, why in the world would you laugh all this off and say we should just carry on as usual? Exxon/Peabody would love that.