What we can do about global warming
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-01-16
Among the responses my January 14 column (Korina�s "The inconvenient truth") received is this email from Dr. Benigno D. Peczon, who has a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Dr. Peczon provides very practical suggestions on how you and I can help prevent the catastrophic effects of Global Warming.
Dear Mr. Esposo:
Your column in today�s Philippine STAR (January 14, 2007) is very timely. As Al Gore pointed out, Man may be behaving like a frog which is placed in a vat which is slowly being heated up. The frog does nothing until it is rescued. By contrast, a frog placed in uncomfortably hot water will jump out. We must not behave like the frog in a slowly heated vat; we must act for nobody may rescue us.
While you pointed out the observations which show that global warming is upon us and warned your readers of the consequences of global warming, only one paragraph is devoted to what we can do. Many people may fall into the notion that global warming is too huge an issue to tackle. There is quite a bit that we can do as individuals and as groups working in concert. The ideas to pursue revolve around prevention and conservation.
A huge percentage of global warming is due to the carbon dioxide emitted by burning of fuels. Carbon dioxide emission can be reduced by:
1. Legislation placing corporate limits on vehicle emissions. Japan requires car companies to have an average vehicle in their total car output to travel more than 50 miles per gallon (around 21 kilometers per liter). Higher mileage with a given volume of fuel means lower carbon dioxide emissions. Several other countries have similar legislation. Does the Philippines have legislation regarding corporate vehicle gas mileage?
2. Purchasing energy efficient vehicles. Purchasing right sized vehicles.
3. Car pooling.
4. Planning of travel needs to minimize use of vehicles.
5. Walking or riding a bicycle instead of using a fuel burning vehicle.
Burning of farm wastes, vegetation and trash
Every day, I see farmers burning farm residues. Every so often, I see the work of kaingineros on mountainsides. Dumpsites often burn trash. A pity. Not only does burning produce carbon dioxide, the material which is burned can be converted to useful products, such as fertilizer.
1. Like the mayor of Los Ba�os, Laguna, convert farm waste and other organic material which is otherwise burned into fertilizer.
2. Disseminate composting methods to as many people as possible. Implement the existing laws regarding burning. (Attention: LGUs and personnel at the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources)
Homes and buildings
1. Architects and builders can utilize breezes instead of building totally enclosed buildings which require air-conditioning. Consider the possibility of green roofs.
2. Utilize solar panels to trap energy.
3. Install efficient lighting devices such as modern fluorescent bulbs instead of inefficient incandescent bulbs.
4. When it becomes time to replace appliances, replace them with energy efficient ones.
Too many homes have refrigerators and freezers which are too large for everyday needs. For people with easy access to food supplies, thought must be given to appropriate capacities. Do you really need a freezer for 50 kilograms of food for a family of five? Is there really need for a refrigerator in the bedroom when there is already one in the kitchen?
5. Purchase air conditioners which cut off the cooling cycle when a predetermined comfort level is reached. Nudge the thermostat a few degrees higher. In a few days, the body becomes comfortable at the less energy draining temperature. Seal air-conditioned spaces. Cool air lost by seepage keeps the cooling cycle on longer.
1. Plant trees. They capture carbon dioxide. There are all sorts of possibilities. Nurture the trees you plant.
2. Boycott products of companies which irresponsibly add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
1. Follow the lead of Ilocos leaders who built windmills to capture solar power.
2. Convert trash into usable energy (by production of methane). The information for such conversion is available at the Department of Science and Technology.
3. Create a consortium to pump up cool water from the deep Philippine Trench to be utilized in cooling buildings and homes and perhaps generate enough cool water to raise salmon economically.
Too many people are not even aware of global warming. Worse, some people whose paycheck depends upon the energy sector create doubt about the inevitability of global warming, much like the tobacco industry utilized doubt regarding the known effects of tobacco.
1. Educators may hold contests to generate the best ideas to mitigate global warming.
2. Organizations involved in keeping the environment friendly to mankind can place more emphasis on global warming, perhaps by holding symposia and other information dissemination mechanisms at their disposal.
3. Forward this email and similar information to people on your list to sensitize people on the importance of global warming.
Legislation and public executives
1. Identify legislators and public executives who include global warming in their agenda. Mr. Esposo, as an opinion leader, you can really help with this. Once people realize the importance of issues, they become more rational in electing officials.
I am sending this email to people on my email list. As in Wikipedia, I hope people add to the items I have written or modify what may be based on erroneous assumptions. I write this email with the hope that more people wake up to the fact that we must address the global warming issue lest it becomes too late.
Your co-passenger on Spaceship Earth,
Benigno D. Peczon, Ph.D. (Chemistry)
It is heartwarming to receive responses like this email from Dr. Peczon, especially on an issue like global warming which many Filipinos are not aware of or perhaps do not even care about. Dr. Peczon�s response is not a spur of the moment reaction but obviously an expression of genuine concern that also reveals that he is an advocate of the campaign to prevent global warming.
Dr. Peczon is right � we are all passengers on Spaceship Earth. We all have a duty to see to it that Spaceship Earth does not get destroyed, with us along with it.
You may email William M. Esposo at: firstname.lastname@example.org