Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Full speed over the cliff

I had a uneasy feeling driving home along interstate 94 from Illinois to Minnesota. I sensed that we, as a nation, and world, are going full throttle... off a cliff.  You know, kinda like the lemmings are known for with their group plunges into the ocean. Out of the car's window I witnessed shriveled fields of corn that were caught in the severe drought that is being experienced in Southern Wisconsin and elsewhere across the nation.  Yet, despite the dramatic climate change as caused by CO2 emissions, it appeared little if any change in human behavior was occurring on the highway.  Many cars and trucks jammed the road, traveling well beyond the posted speed limit of 65 mph.

Train going into Chicago
I tried my best to keep my speed to the posted "Maximum" of 65 and was passed by hundreds of vehicles along the highway.  The very few vehicles I recall passing included a decades old RV from Saskatchewan, Canada, a minivan towing a UHaul trailer, and a white station wagon driven by an elderly man. Seems people aren't all that concerned about saving fuel or reducing emissions. According to research by Edmonds.com drivers can get up to 35 percent better fuel mileage by taking it easy on the accelerator.

While visiting Chicago we enjoyed taking the train into town from our hotel.  It was nice to leave the driving to others while enjoying a safe and smooth ride. Wouldn't it be great to have high speed rail between our nation's cities?  Now, with the great unemployment rate could be a great time for such investment in infrastructure.

Given dramatic changes occurring in the climate, and with a vast majority of scientists agreeing that this is being impacted by human behavior, one has to ask, what will it take for us to change our behavior? Just going faster in the wrong direction will not help.

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