Global warming has a bad rap; it’s a political issue, thanks to our inherent tribalism which casts big developing problems not as something to be fixed, but spun. It’s either unassailable, or unthinkable, depending on one’s political blueness or redness.
What about energy independence, then? Buying oil from Krazystan doesn’t do us any good, when the Krazies are the ones funding the jihadists. Can we come to a purple conclusion getting out that situation is a good idea?
No? Afraid of change are we, or happy with our Humvees, or “supporting the President” are we? Or irrationally opposed to the thought of nuclear power, maybe?
Well, pollution, then? Can we agree that smoggy air is really counter to the whole idea of living in the Northwest? That haze doesn’t belong in the Columbia Gorge? Turns out, a growing cause of the haze that’s increasingly obvious here, is the slew of poison spewed into the air by China.
Let me for the record say — that’s a bad thing. Clean air, good; polluted air, bad. I don’t how you vote or what whack-job political commentators you listen to — I don’t care — but my 3-year-old daughter shouldn’t have to breathe China’s dirty air in her Columbia Gorge backyard.
Or any dirty air, for that matter.
Now, to connect the dots: Clean air, energy independence and global warming are the same issue. To put it another way, they are three pressing concerns with a single potential solution, which is an American technological revolution. A new energy revolution that create jobs by the thousand, and builds new clean-energy technologies that we can export. To places like — just off the top of my head — China.
Wind power’s great. Biodiesel? I salute you. But these are small, hesitant steps. We need a running leap. A concerted national project that harnesses the power of the market, and the direction of the feds.
The idea’s been proposed; and proposed again. Perhaps someday we’ll even elect someone at the top who digs in his toes and starts the sprint. Meanwhile, the Western states’ governors have started s..l..o..w..l..y, but started, to think about tackling the idea regionally.
That’s encouraging. Perhaps some local officials might consider clean air a worthy cause, too, and put an end to the ridiculous Wild-West notion that open burning — of leaves, garbage, diapers, what-have-you — is acceptable in town. The Dalles, I’m talking to you.
I just hope the haze doesn’t get much worse before we take this seriously; I’d hate for my daughter’s daughter to wish her granddaddy’s generation had done something about it.