A funny thing happened to me as I left work on Friday. I got in my car and noticed someone had stuck something under my windshield wiper. My first thought was that those flyer distributors had really gone out of their way to advertise, but then I noticed it was an index card and it looked handwritten. It had obviously rained in between the time the card was placed on my car and the time I got to it, because the ink had partially run as well. As I began to read it, I first registered confusion, then, once understanding dawned on me, I found it a bit humorous. The note read:
“Carbon dioxide is like oxygen. A natural substance that is needed for life on Earth. But, if there is too much of either carbon dioxide or oxygen, it can kill living things and upset the balance God intended.”
Yes, confusing at first. Then I remembered the bumper sticker that adorns my car –
(Available at my shop on CafePress) and then I had to smile. Why? Because this bumper sticker provided such a passionate response in another human being that he or she had to stop, put pen to paper and place the note on my car. And, as artists, isn’t that what we all want? To cause people to respond, to evoke emotion and passion in others? I only wished that my respondent had left an email or phone number so that we would have been able to further discuss the issue.
Seeing as that’s not the case, I have decided to write an open letter to the deliverer of the drive-by diatribe. Who knows, maybe this will somehow reach him or her, or at least provoke comment and/or conversation here.
First, I agree that both carbon dioxide and oxygen are natural substances. Thus, neither can be called pollutants. A pollutant is described as “any substance, as certain chemicals or waste products, that renders the air, soil, water, or other natural resource harmful or unsuitable for a specific purpose.” I believe this definition encompasses substances that don’t occur naturally, such as carbon monoxide or sulfur. I don’t believe that either carbon dioxide or oxygen fit this description. Both are naturally occurring and actually necessary for life on Earth to exist, again something I and my mysterious missive manufacturer agree on. I also agree that if there is an imbalance, it’s not a good thing. But here is the point I’m trying to make – calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is not only incorrect, but dangerous. Let’s think this through.
Carbon dioxide is labeled a pollutant. The government puts cap and trade in place to stop big companies from producing too much carbon dioxide. But who else produces carbon dioxide? Hmm…let me think…oh, that’s right, people! So, the government can start taxing people for their carbon dioxide emissions. You want to have more than one child? That’s a bigger carbon footprint, so you’ll be taxed for that. You want to own a pet? Tax! Oh, wait, heavier people tend to breathe more heavily, so you’ll start getting taxed by the pound. Athletes expel a lot more carbon dioxide than do couch potatoes, so let’s tax them more as well. And, of course, the older you are, the more carbon dioxide you’ve expelled, thus the longer you live, the more you should pay.
Whew! That’s a lot of tax. You think that sounds far-fetched? We’re already heading in that direction, thanks to all the Chicken Littles who claim the sky is falling because people are still using incandescent light bulbs instead of the “eco-friendly” mercury-filled CFL bulbs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t mercury something you really don’t want around your house?
Now, before you all start thinking I’m the type that leaves the fridge door open all night just to waste energy, I am a Christian and I believe that we are stewards of the Earth and should take care of it. What I don’t believe is the hysteria that is emanating from the global warming front admonishing us to change NOW or be faced with the immediate melting of our ice caps! The Arctic icecap has lost 7% of its mass since 1980. But…the Antarctic icecap has increased by 43% in that time! Hmmm…amazing how no one ever hears about that. The world has experienced a cooling trend for the last ten years. Yet, somehow, that just proves global warming is real!
Here’s my thought on the whole global warming/carbon dioxide dilemma: If I remember correctly from my elementary school education, don’t trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen? That is the system God created, a system that works. So, how about instead of levying taxes for CO2 emissions, we plant more trees? It’s a system that has worked since the beginning of time, so why stop now? Have companies plant trees to offset the carbon dioxide they produce. Obviously, that’s only one small step, but I believe it’s a lot more positive than cap and trade.
But if you truly believe that the only solution is to tax carbon dioxide emissions, then stop polluting and hold your breath…