Letters to the Editor

Letter: Optimism in the face of climate change

To the Editor:

Two recent national news headlines give us a depressing reminder of our addiction to fossil fuels … and climate change:

1. “Major oil spill off California coast threatens wetlands and wildlife”

2. “Toxic foam dumped into southern Illinois coal mine in attempt to extinguish fire, but toxins will stay in area forever”

However, a recent National Geographic posting quotes climate change scientist Katharine Hayhoe: “We have to practice hope. We have to seek out other stories to counterbalance the depressing drumbeat of news.”

A hopeful story: the electric car (and truck and tractor) revolution. “The revolution may not unfold as fast as needed to address climate change, but it’s definitely coming … .

“Even if governments take bold action to accelerate the energy transition, Earth will be hotter in a few decades, and seas higher and storms more intense. That’s because carbon dioxide sticks around once we put it in the atmosphere. Earth won’t stop warming until we reduce carbon emissions to zero. But other nasty side effects of fossil-fuel burning aren’t like that; we don’t have to get to zero to feel the benefits. Once demand for oil starts plummeting, we should see fewer oil spills and foul beaches. We’ll surely see less air pollution – which these days kills 7 million people a year worldwide.”

And don’t forget the noise. My wife and I especially notice the ugly sound barriers along Route 30 here in Kendall County (and on other major highways), built to shield homes from the traffic noise. Maybe someday, IDOT will tear them down.

On the long road to fixing climate change, our communities should get cleaner and quieter, and oil spills and coal mine goofs less frequent. Thinking about the future can be frightening, but let’s choose to see it as exciting.

Ken Mozingo