Dr. Bill Atwood

Making earth better

Yesterday was Earth Day. I did not celebrate it. Frankly I find the whole notion somewhat silly. The holiday came about in 1970 with a couple of people who were self-proclaimed environmentalists who decided that we needed to do something to save the world from us.

We now hear about global warming, climate change, sea levels rising, glaciers melting, and the end of the world as we know it.

Actor Ted Danson sat before Congress almost 25 years ago warning that we only had a few years before we were doomed. People cite studies that tell of the warming and even after it is explained that the studies they cite are flawed they don’t even want to engage in a friendly discussion. They attack any of us that don’t see the end of the world as eminent as fools, deniers, stupid, mislead or a combination of all of those descriptors.

I remember during my high school years in the late 1960s being told that the next Ice Age was coming and we were doomed. Nowadays everything is tied to global warming and many of the major supporters of that agenda are making a tidy sum of cash telling us of the dangers.

Getting back to the real issue at hand is the conservation of our natural resources. When I was a young boy and was a member of Troop 139 of the Boy Scouts of America in North Hollywood we would routinely practice acts of “conservationism.” During every outing we were expected to leave the area better than when we found it so trash was always gathered up, including what was there when we arrived, and carried out in our backpacks. We would make it a point to stay on the hiking trails lest we create a start of erosion. We spent many an afternoon building “check dams” that halt erosion in creeks and we learned how to camp in the wilderness without leaving a polluted mess in the area or the water of the creek flowing by.

I remember well the taunts that would follow me at school because I was doing those conservation activities while the “cool guys” were doing whatever it was that they did to be considered cool. I wonder how many of those people who made fun of my scouting friends and I are now deeply invested in the global warming/climate change movement.

What I see as the greatest need to help our environment is simple and doesn’t really cost any of us much. Don’t litter and pick up after yourself. If you see trash and you can readily pick it up and discard it in a trash receptacle then do so.

Recycle as much as you can. My wife and I have drastically reduced our output to the landfill. We have gone from multiple trash cans each week to one for Emadco to haul off. I deliver the plastic, paper, bottles, and cans to a local recycling operation. Carol and I don’t profit from our endeavors but we feel better leaving the planet a little better off. During the summer we collect the cans, bottles, and plastics from our street and haul it to the recycling center in Coarsegold. The money paid for those efforts were donated to Oakhurst Elementary School for some of their projects and to some teachers for classroom supplies.

I think we need to check the lack of common sense of many in the environmentalist movement who value a fish over humans and who would rather see water pour out to sea rather than for people to have fresh water for their needs. Farmers get the shaft in the news about being the biggest users but that only is true when the skewed reports from the state are used that ignore what is used for environmental and recreational purposes.

We haven’t been able to build a new dam in decades because of environmentalist groups. We can’t dredge the reservoirs we have of the silt deposited in them over the years because the environmentalists lawsuits. We can’t have nuclear powered desalinization plants on the seacoast because of those same groups.

But these are the same people who will talk of environmental change coming as a result of the internal combustion engine and Ronald Reagan. Only last week I was reading about the scarring of the seafloor off the coast of Florida by icebergs. These scars occurred about 20,000 years ago. Sorry Al Gore ... Reagan and the gasoline engine weren’t to blame.

If they want renewable fuel sources to be developed I am all for it. I suggest they fund the research, design the technology, build the systems and sell us the energy for equal to or less than we are paying now and the free market will stop the flow of oil and will make the new energy giants very wealthy.

While we are at it I suggest we turn off the flow of water from Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy to San Francisco. Then after it’s done we can share with Nancy Pelosi what it will be like to not have water.