The world is not going to end tomorrow because of fossil fuels. Man’s use of fossil fuels has not been proven to be the source of climate change. Climate change has happened since climate began. All of these statements are very logical and true, but somehow those pursuing ‘green energy’ work very hard to periodically convince all of us that if we use fossil fuel, we are all going to die next week (while flying around in their private jets). Green energy is in theory a great idea, but I can’t help thinking that the search for a totally green source of energy is somehow related to the search for the perpetual motion machine. It’s a great idea, but it defies the law of physics. At any rate, we are doing better at keeping the environment clean today than we were in the early 1900’s despite much greater energy usage.
The article includes the following picture:
Horned Larks are cute little songbirds with white bellies and yellow chins–at least, now they are. A hundred years ago, at the height of urban smoke pollution in the US, their pale feathers were stained dark gray by the soot in the atmosphere. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the discoloration of birds in museum collections can be used to trace the amount of black carbon in the air over time and the effects of environmental policy upon pollution.
“The soot on these birds’ feathers allowed us to trace the amount of black carbon in the air over time, and we found that the air at the turn of the century was even more polluted than scientists previously thought,” says Shane DuBay, a graduate student at The Field Museum and the University of Chicago and one of the authors of the study. He and co-author Carl Fuldner, also a graduate student at UChicago, analyzed over a thousand birds collected over the last 135 years to determine and quantify the effects of soot in the air over cities in the Rust Belt.
…Birds were also ideal candidates for the study because they molt and grow a new set of feathers every year, meaning that the soot on them had only been accumulating for the past year when they were collected. And there was an apparent trend: old birds were dirtier, and new birds were cleaner.
The article concludes:
DuBay notes that in addition to the environmental implications of the project, their work also shows the importance of museum collections like those they used from The Field Museum in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology in Ann Arbor. “I hope this study exposes collections as a valuable resource to address present day environmental concerns,” says DuBay. “This paper shows the ways that natural history collections can be used, underlining the value in collections and in continuing to build collections, to help us improve our understanding of human impacts on the natural world.”
Fossil fuel is now abundantly available in America. We can use our scientific talents to make it as clean as possible. Like it or not, it is the basis of our economy.