Yah, but what about…?
-Fred Stock         

          Coming home from a job the other day I was following a large truck with a logo and slogan that touted environmental responsibility! As he made the corner, I noticed that the truck was belching a continuous plume of black diesel smoke. It was so thick it hung in the air long enough for him to get two blocks distance away!

          It reminded me we had recently experienced “Earth Day”. We had heard all the great speeches calling for “earth day every day”. Then the great speech makers got into their gas-hog SUV’s and drove to their jet planes to make their get-a-ways!  Isn’t there something wrong with these pictures?

          I recalled a realization I once had in church. The teacher was advising everyone to be courteous and loving to everyone. Make the world a friendlier place. All the heads were bobbing up and down as each point was carefully crafted. How could you argue with logic like that? Then the service was over and the congregation went to the parking lot to leave. Brakes squealing, engines gunning, fingers flipping and gas pedals stomping, the cutting off and roaring past began! “Get out of my way, I go first! I have right-of-way! Why, you…”

          We don’t even have to go that far to see it. Imagine the amount of gasoline and green house gasses we would save if all the stop signs and signals were changed to “yield” signs. IF people were courteous to each other, we could clear up the smog in a week! And it wouldn’t be just the gas and oil; think of the amount of electricity conserved without those sustained red lights at intersections. Hasn’t it ever occurred to you as it has to me, that stopping, idling and then accelerating back to road speed for another two blocks, wasted gas and electric power for the lights. Especially at 3:30 A.M. ! There isn’t anybody around at all but you and the traffic cop watching you!

          We recycle our plastic bottles and aluminum cans, we separate the paper and cardboard, then carry it all to the curb, feelin g g ood about our contribution to clean air and ground water. Then we climb into our clunkers and leave a trail of oil drops and fumes behind us as we chug away. Oh, the rain will wash it away! What does the guy on the Sopranos say to us, “What dah %&@?$’s da mattah witchew?”

          Do we long for the “good old days” before gas guzzlers and traffic lights and OPEC and Con-Edison? Maybe, but we probably wouldn’t give up our own conveniences to do anything about it. Global warming or not, rain forest depletion aside, we have to think about this sliver of earth-surface livable environment on this one single planet. We’d better do that soon. -fhs