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Letter: We must use less in resources to ensure hospitable future
02282018 COAL PLANT

Recent articles in The (Gainesville) Times have reported details about plans for road improvements throughout Hall County, as well as the statistic that the Hall County population cracked 200,000. There certainly is a crack, and it will grow larger and become threatening as a result of the plans our county leaders are making. You have power and each of you can work to keep the crack from becoming threatening.

To use your power, you must commit to making some tradeoffs. You must be willing to be a bit less comfortable day to day. The long-range tradeoff is being much more comfortable with the environment in which you will live.

Each of us contributes daily to the carbon dioxide that is dumped into our atmosphere, using it as a sewer. Calculate for the entire planet, and you will find that we dump the equivalent of the weight of more than a thousand 737 jets per hour of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Go to this USA Today article, then do the math.

Anyone who thinks this amount of carbon dioxide dumped into our atmosphere every day will not be harmful is thinking poorly. Imagine if, instead of being a transparent gas, carbon dioxide were an orange gas. The problem is that carbon dioxide is not transparent to infrared radiation, also known as heat energy. The resulting heat trapped by the carbon dioxide we increasingly add to the atmosphere each day has been doing damage to our environment for a long time. This heating was predicted by a renowned chemist in 1896.

If our civilization is to remain as vibrant and dynamic as it is now, the effect of the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere must be addressed.

Part of your power involves how much gasoline you burn. When you drive your vehicle and burn 1 gallon of gasoline, you dump 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

You have the power to reduce the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere. Reduce the gasoline you burn each week from 25 gallons to 15 gallons and you will add 200 pounds less carbon dioxide to our atmosphere each week.

Some 66% of the electricity in Georgia is produced by coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants. Reducing the amount of electricity you use by 10% will significantly reduce the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.

If the leaders we have elected to make decisions about things that affect the future of our civilization refuse to change, we must elect leaders who are willing to change in response to the evidence. The evidence indicates that we must change to avoid devastating challenges that will alter our civilization. Your power gives you the ability to choose leaders who are willing to change.

Climate change is a nonpartisan issue. Together, we all face the challenges of climate change. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must act together to address those challenges.

Frank Lock

Gainesville

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