I had not planned on having any debates with my right wing colleague, Mr. Mauldin, but his column of December 16 bears commenting on.
Mr. Mauldin, sincere as he may be, does himself and other right-leaning people a great disservice by bringing the discussion to gutter level with his "tree-huggers and hippies" reference.
To say that the above mentioned feel that they have to educate others, that is, the right, on how to conserve is actually, in all likelihood a true statement, since the political right, whose big guns are often the heads of big, greedy corporate concerns, does not care a bit about what they are emitting, dumping and spewing into the air and water.
I witnessed this myself years ago when I was a member of the Clearwater Group in the beautiful Hudson Valley.
Our great Hudson River had gotten so polluted by Monsanto and Tuck Tape with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), mercury and other poisonous substances that it was deemed no longer healthy to eat any of the fish that were caught in the river. Through the efforts of terrible tree huggers like Pete Seeger and others, awareness of the situation was heightened and the situation was dealt with in the courts and slowly the river has turned around.
Darn hippies probably can even bathe in it now, hmmm?
Mr. Mauldin also mentioned his displeasure at new laws passed taxing corporations by measuring their greenhouse gas emissions.
He uses China and India -- hardly poster nations for clean air (remember the recent Olympics in smog-filled Beijing?) -- as examples defending his opposition.
I would invite Mr. Mauldin, or anyone, to lock himself in a room with only those greenhouse gasses to breathe for just five minutes. If he was able to walk out, I would grant him his veto on the new tax laws.
The atmosphere belongs to all of us, not just industry.
What does coal do when it burns? What does anything do when it burns? It emits carbon and other noxious elements into the air.
A little science here: When the air is full of junk, rain falls through it and brings it to the ground. It seeps into the soil and water supplies and we drink it, or our cattle get it in the grasses and food they eat. If we haven't already developed lung cancer, leukemia or some other ailment, the food supply will kill us. It will happen, and the more that irresponsible countries like China and India, whose populations total seven times that of our country, keep spewing this stuff, the sooner it will happen. A sponge can only hold so much water and the atmosphere can only hold so much pollution.
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Annoy a liberal: Work hard, be successful, be happy".
Tree-hugging hippies have to work hard, too. Cleaning up the mess left by the big corporations is a tough gig, but someone has to do it, for all of our sakes.