Diridon: God, forgive us for squandering your gifts
FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2011 file photo, raw coal from a coal mine pours off of a conveyor belt near Trinidad, Colo. (Mark Reis/The Gazette via AP)

    Please forgive us God, Jehovah, Allah, Yahweh, or whatever we each respectfully choose to call the Universe’s guiding spirit.

    We’ve ignored the multiple warnings that you’ve shared and are destroying our wonderful blue haven for warm blooded creatures. You created the nurturing environment in which we evolved and thrived. You’ve tried to guide us during this period of impaction as we overused carbon-based energy and we lacked the insight and courage to correct the error.

    And now it may be too late.

    We’ve been advised by your greatest scientific minds for decades that the industrial revolution’s commitment to carbon-based energy (petroleum, coal, wood, etc.) has accumulated carbon in our atmosphere far exceeding the natural ability of our planet to renew itself.

    We began doing serious studies about the causes of climate change as far back as the late 1900s. The Mercury News reported on August 8, 2013 that 51 objective scientists from UC, Scripps, Laurence Livermore Labs, NOAA, and others declared petroleum burning transportation the causes of about 40 percent of the problem nationally.

    But our unique over-dependence on the automobile contributes near 50 percent of the carbon burden in California. Indeed, now it may be too late.

    Time Magazine’s October 22 issue on page 12 stressed that we have only 12 years left before the point of no return has been breached; the point beyond which no amount of remedial action can ultimately save the earth for mammals.

    Over Thanksgiving weekend, the NOAA and eleven other federal agencies announced that the climate change disaster had progressed much faster than projected.

    That the public’s cost to combat the now-rampant effects of climate change-induced forest fires, coastal flooding, droughts, crop failures, infrastructure degradation, accelerated health problems, and so on could bankrupt the nation and the world.  Recently the United Nations Climate Council agreed and identified the polar ice as melting far faster than expected.

    The Earth is in crisis and what’s to be done?

    We know that the other significant sources of climate change pollution, such as manufacturing, can only be controlled by governmental action which has been only moderately effective and with even those modest regulations recently relaxed at the national level.

    But we also know that we can individually reduce the nearly 50 percent of the carbon created in California by transportation by installing home solar panels, living in transit villages, driving electric cars, using mass transit, riding bicycles, or walking.

    So nearly half of the crisis in our state is within our personal ability to fix with actions that are healthy and cost effective.

    God, we know that each of those remedial actions is affordable, practical, and overdue. For the sake of our children and theirs, might you give us the moral guidance and courage to each act, individually, in the best interests of this unique and wonderful blue planet that you’ve entrusted to us?

    Help us all to try very hard; like there may be no tomorrow.

    Rod Diridon, Sr. is the past chair of the Transit Cooperative Research Board of the National Research Council, past chair of the national Council of University Transportation Centers and past chair of the American Public Transportation Association.

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