Earth Day: All This Focus on Global Warming Bothers Me

It may seem strange, but one of my environmental pet peeves is the focus on global warming. And this Earth Day, the focus seems to be especially strong on global warming.

This bothers me.

Why? Because it’s so easy to turn global warming into a political issue. And that turns it into something debatable. Even if we establish that global warming is happening, debate turns to whether or not humans are causing it, and whether or not humans can do anything about it anyway. Then the debate ensues over whether anything really should be done.


Personally, I think the focus should be on air quality
.

Instead of global warming, let’s focus on air quality. No one is disputing that breathing bad air is bad for you. And there is no doubt that there are plenty of practices that pollute the air. Many of them involve burning fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has rolled back a lot of clean air requirements. But we don’t focus on that so much because we’re focused on global warming. There are solid steps that we can take to improve air quality, including requiring cleaner emissions and developing renewable energy, rather than relying on old-fashioned fossil fuels. And, of course, this will take care of global warming as well.

The environment should be a public health issue. Not a political issue. And as long as we keep the rhetoric focused on global warming, very little will be done.

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8 Responses to Earth Day: All This Focus on Global Warming Bothers Me

  1. Good point re: Global Warming vs Air Quality. I have a hard time getting really passionate about either because the issues are so large and it feels like there just isn’t enough that I can do, in my every day life.

    sigh.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Denise. Sometimes the issues are large. But the beauty of the air quality is that you can talk to your representatives about it, and get others involved. It is something that can be tackled.

    And, of course, every little bit helps.

  3. Hi Miranda. I’ve been reading your blog for about a month, but this is my first comment. And actually, I am really responding to Denise’s comment.

    There is one thing…one small “every day life” thing that little people like us can do to improve air quality.

    Drive Less. It seems impractical, I know, but is it really? Can we think of one thing we could do to reduce our driving by one trip per day? Maybe bring a sack lunch to work so we don’t drive during the lunch hour? Small things make a huge difference. Especially when lots of people are doing small things. 🙂

    And Miranda….I agree. Air quality is tangible and something everyone understands and cares about (because it’s “In your Face”).

  4. Thanks for sharing, Gina! I was so disappointed last fall when the tax for the roads passed, but not for public transportation. Sort tells you that people aren’t willing to give up their cars.

    But you are right, driving less can help. I’ve done trip consolidation to help with this, and my husband rides the bus home from school. And walks the mile from the bus stop.

  5. Hey Miranda, you sound like me! (obvious and self serving link to my own thoughts on the issue: http://twurl.nl/w4scp0)

    And Denise, there are things we can do. Driving less is a good start. Basic recycling, watching how much energy we consume, all of the conservation things we’ve been taught about for years all help clean up our planet and, ultimately, help us save ourselves.

    What a great post, Miranda!

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