Like tastes and temperaments, people’s values and priorities varied. But that didn’t mean freedom of choice was an unlimited right; it didn’t mean exploitation was okay. Some people’s tastes and choices were taking up too much space and using too many resources, not leaving enough for others to even survive, Caitlin thought as she passed a slow-moving logging truck loaded with trees. Natural habitats were being destroyed at an alarming rate, but by the time anyone took the problem seriously, it might be too late to avert widespread disaster—which wouldn’t benefit anyone.
What would be the point in ruling the world if there’s nothing left of it? Who would be impressed by your beauty or wealth or achievements if everyone is sick and dying? Who would supply your food and manage your empire? There wouldn’t be anyone left to conquer and exploit—or talk to.
Chapter 82, A Moment of Time*
Our decisions in the present influence the course of the future—for ourselves and for others. People who are concerned with leaving a legacy that will benefit future generations often take steps to ensure the continued availability of valuable resources, protection of endangered species, and commemoration of human achievements. Historical societies preserve sites and landmarks that are deemed important; parks and nature preserves allow conservation of natural habitats; museums collect and display artifacts, specimens, and works that are scientifically, artistically, or culturally significant.
Long-term viability requires the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Change, after all, is the one certainty we can count on. The founders of the United States, for example, adopted a constitution with enumerated rights and broad principles that are interpreted and applied to situations that could not have been envisioned 200 years ago.
In the natural world, mutations and adaptations are part of the evolutionary process. Organisms and systems compensate as best they can before they finally collapse when the essential elements that support life are damaged or destroyed.
The Earth has undergone dramatic changes over billions of years, and species extinction is not new. Volcanic eruptions can wreak havoc on the environment; ash blocks sunlight, ruins crops, and pollutes the air. Eruption of the Laki volcano in 1783, for example, lasted eight months. In Iceland, thousands of people died and livestock perished. Sulfurous gases blighted crops, resulting in famine. The effects were felt in Europe, with crops damaged in Scotland and the Netherlands.
Ice ages occur cyclically, as the amount of solar radiation changes. (Shifts in the Earth’s rotation and axis are affected by the gravitational pull of other planets). The last ice age ended about 7,000 years ago, permitting the flourishing of human civilization and all that that entails.
Human ingenuity has resulted in some remarkable achievements—and also in widespread environmental degradation. I won’t list details here; if you are reading this post, you are probably all too aware of diminishing water supplies, rising rates of disease, polluted oceans (and fish), disappearance of species and rain forests, extreme weather patterns, soil erosion, radioactive waste, et cetera. The problems are immense, and they are not going away any time soon.
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.” Recently, the AAAS’s CEO unequivocally stated, “If we don’t move now we are at tremendous risk for some very high impact consequences.”
The Association’s twenty-page report outlines some of the risks and remedies. All is not lost; effective measures can still be implemented to minimize impacts, but potentially irreversible changes lay ahead if we don’t act now.
Some of the measureable changes noted by the AAAS report include:
- Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising
- Temperatures are going up
- Springs are arriving earlier
- Ice sheets are melting
- Sea level is rising
- The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing
- Heat waves are getting worse as is extreme precipitation
- The oceans are acidifying
None of this is good news for the health and well being of Earth and her inhabitants. The bottom line? Our current wasteful way of life is unsustainable.
In nature, adaptation occurs automatically. In our bodies, temperature is regulated and the balance of acidity and alkalinity adjusts to stay within the ranges needed to sustain life. When our diet is lacking in essential nutrients, the body will attempt to compensate. Women may stop menstruating, for example, with excessive weight loss or malnutrition (secondary amenorrhea). Calcium is drawn from the bones when blood levels of calcium drop too low.
When it comes to our lifestyle choices, however, individuals must be willing to adapt to changing circumstances; stubborn insistence on continuing wasteful practices—or clinging to denial—only impedes constructive solutions. At some point, adjustments will occur; change will be thrust upon us. At that point, our options are limited. If we anticipate the problems that are likely to develop, we have greater choice in how we implement changes to minimize negative impacts. We have more opportunity to plan how we will respond to harms if and when they occur.
For most of us, unwelcome changes are resisted. We postpone starting a new exercise or dietary regimen; we put off doing our taxes, paying our bills, or getting a divorce for as long as we can. But the longer we allow problems to persist, the worse they often become. Debts mount. Pounds (of flesh, that is, not currency!) accumulate. Tumors grow. When facing a crisis, we must put aside all the things we would rather be doing (or believe we “must” or “should” do) and address the situation, which has by now become unmanageable. Most of us do not do our best thinking in a crisis. We panic; we overreact; we resort to desperate measures, rather than adopt well-thought-out strategies that are designed to achieve and maintain long-term stability and health.
Some problems are so huge that solving them is beyond the ability of any one person or group—and, so, people do nothing instead. The willingness to make sacrifices and to change habitual practices requires a change in thinking; it requires accepting the need for change.
Take the opportunity now to plan for the future. Investigate what measures are within your budget and means and adopt sustainable practices wherever possible.
In this context, sustain means to maintain and supply with necessities for continued existence. Nourishment is required to sustain life; the hope of a brighter future helps people sustain their efforts in spite of challenges and setbacks. If a method, practice, or lifestyle is unsustainable, it cannot continue indefinitely, often because the activity depletes resources that are finite and limited; once gone, the activity will cease. Think of a gold mine; once the gold has been extracted, the mine is abandoned.
Renewable resources are those that can be replenished. Humans consume fish, but fish can reproduce. The challenge arises when the rate of consumption exceeds availability. Supply cannot keep up with demand. Wind, hydroelectric, and solar technologies, among others, are renewable and readily available. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form, and the use of fossil fuels contributes to global warming (and pollution).
Sustainability is an approach that can apply to many endeavors and activities. Sustainable agriculture minimizes the use of chemical fertilizers and replenishes the soil through crop rotation and other means. Economically, the idea of living within your means is an example of a sustainable approach to managing your finances.
The concept of sustainability does not forbid growth; growth is an essential part of a thriving system. Sustainable development requires cooperation and vision; it requires looking beyond short-term gains that benefit the few and anticipating adjustments needed to maintain balanced and productive economies, healthy ecosystems, dynamic social and political forums, and diverse cultural expression. It requires a willingness to address matters of global concern and recognizes the interrelatedness of government policy, industrial practice, environmental impact, and the welfare of humans and other life forms.
The Rules Must Change
In a competitive economy, business enterprises seek to win customers and dominate the market. When taken to an extreme, other values suffer. Does preventing the other guy from gaining an advantage mean preventing the other guy from make a living? Sometimes the potential market is limited and not all who enter will succeed—but that is not always the case. Do consumers need branches of competing chains across the street from each other? More likely, consumers would benefit more by having one store at one end of town, and the other store at the other end of town. Oh, but then one of these stores might lose customers to the other guy! This mentality produces “jobs” in the short term as new stores are built and opened to great fanfare, but when the market is flooded and the economy experiences a downturn, storefronts will sit vacant. What has been lost? Farmland to produce food for an ever-expanding population, for one thing.
One might hope that city planners would exercise discretion in awarding construction permits—but municipalities need revenue too; many wouldn’t dare to impose limits that might discourage companies from building in their town—they might go to the next town over! Same mentality: don’t let the other guy win. Ever.
Corporations, not being held accountable in the same way individuals are for their offenses, factor into their profit margins the costs of unethical (and illegal) behavior. Let’s see—we can fix that design defect, but it’s going to cost us. We’re better off paying damages on the other end; our profits will outweigh the costs for the rare cases of harm that can actually be traced to us and proven in a court of law after our teams of lawyers drag proceedings out for years—most consumers won’t have the stamina or resources to persist in their arguments; their time, energy, and resources are limited—but we’re not human, so we can just keep going and going and . . .
Legislation is one means of controlling potentially damaging consequences—and, like it or not, complex societies and industries require coordination, oversight, and leadership. Freedom is not an unlimited right; behavior that threatens the welfare of the whole group must be constrained. So why is it that even when the vast majority of citizens favor certain measures, politicians do not enact them? Legislation is resisted when regulation of industry does not increase profits. When a political system is corrupted by special interests, politicians rely on the support (i.e., financial contributions) of powerful (i.e., wealthy) individuals and organizations. We may all be allotted one vote—but some votes count more than others.
The legislative process, by its nature, takes time, and adoption of new technologies is costly and also takes time to implement. Legislation will never fully address the large-scale challenges facing many nations today; the issues are too broad and complex, and enforcement is lacking. Voluntary cooperation is needed, as well as pressure from consumers and watchdog groups.
Individually and collectively, we tend to find our limits be exceeding them; then, we draw back and, if we are wise, respect appropriate boundaries. Unwillingness to alter our ways leads to extreme measures: expulsion, conflict, war. At some future time, the prospect of going to war over oil when alternatives are available will seem as ludicrous as claiming that slavery is an economic necessity.
Unfortunately, that time is not yet upon us. Education and awareness are necessary if we are to achieve a balanced and sustainable system that allows everyone a chance of earning a decent wage and maintaining good health. People may choose to ignore what is happening, but the mounting evidence of the deleterious effects our lifestyle is having upon the environment is undeniable.
The Decline of the Bees
In recent years, bees have been disappearing at alarming rates in many parts of the world. So what if we lose a few bees? Bees pollinate crops. Approximately 1.5 million bee hives are needed to pollinate almond orchards in California , and farmers have been forced to rent hives from commercial beekeepers. As the populations of bees dwindle, the costs of the hives increases—and are passed along to consumers.
Experts believe that the decline (colony collapse disorder) can be attributed to several factors, including parasites and pesticides. Consider this line from a Time magazine article: Pesticides “seem to be harm bees even at what should be safe levels.” “Should be” safe levels? According to whom? Did anyone consult the bees about what levels were safe for them?
This kind of thinking is what brought us mercury in dental amalgams and vaccine preservatives. We can claim ignorance (scientific studies fail to demonstrate a link to satisfy required degrees of statistical significance)—to a point. Government policy should be based on verifiable data, and not on conjecture. But, seriously, it doesn’t take a genius to anticipate some of these problems from the outset.
The problem arises from the preference for short-term profit at the expense of quality of life, from the failure to consider long-term costs in worker productivity and burdens upon health care systems and creation of environmental wastelands. Those will be someone else’s problems to deal with so why worry now?
Concerned citizens need to educate themselves and exercise good judgment before deciding to live near high-voltage power lines, nuclear power plants, or landfills. Before allowing installation of smart meters or consenting to the administration of vaccines, make sure you are adequately informed about the risks and benefits. Modern life is complex, and we rely upon oversight by regulators—but we cannot assume that all products put into the stream of commerce are safe for us to use. And where children are concerned, we must be even more vigilant.
Getting the Lead Out
The widespread contamination by lead is a case in point. Long used in manufacturing, paints, ceramic glazes, stained glass, and pipes, lead is a heavy metal that accumulates in tissues and bones. It is also a neurotoxin. Exposure often occurs through inhalation of lead dust from deteriorating paint containing lead or by drinking water from pipes (or faucets) that contain lead solder; in the soil, residues of lead-containing gasoline, engine oil, or pesticides, and pollution from certain industries can contaminate food. Lead poisoning, whether chronic or acute, can result in a variety of symptoms, including gastrointestinal, neuromuscular, and neurological problems. In children, learning disabilities and behavioral problems can result from very low levels of exposure.
Though its hazards to health (human and animal) have been known for centuries, only in the latter part of the twentieth century were laws enacted to reduce exposure to lead. In the U.S., the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recognizes that “No safe blood lead level has been identified” and emphasizes preventive measures. The CDC had set the level of concern at 10 micrograms per deciliter or higher for children under the age of five; however, this level was reduced to 5 after an advisory committee report issued in 2012 demonstrated that adverse effects occur at lower levels than 10 micrograms.
Lead solder is no longer used for sealing tin cans of food in the U.S., and lead additives in gasoline and paint have been phased out. As a result, blood levels of lead have declined in the U.S., demonstrating the effectiveness of united efforts when problems are taken seriously and legislators are willing to impose limitations upon industrial practices that endanger public health. “Regulation” does not always mean stiff penalties for failure to comply with new standards; governments can provide financial incentives (such as renewable energy loan guarantees ) to encourage desired behavior.
The Industrial Era introduced manufacturing on a large scale; together with the rise of capitalism (accumulating capital for its own sake) and urbanization (large numbers of people living and working together in huge metropoleis**), the way humans live and work dramatically changed. At the time of the Civil War in the U.S., the Northern states were more industrialized (established industries included shipbuilding) and had a stronger infrastructure (including railroads) than the Southern states, giving the Union a distinct advantage over the Confederacy. Though it has brought many benefits to modern society, industrialization has created new problems for humanity.
Legislation has been enacted to protect the environment and regulate industrial pollution, but exemptions are not uncommon  and government subsidies provide support to some of the worst offenders. The top 100 dirtiest plants in the U.S. produce 3.2 percent of the world’s carbon emissions (comparable to the amount produced by all passenger vehicles in the U.S.).
If people do not speak up and demand stronger policies that favor people over profits, cherished freedoms will be eroded and basic necessities will be in short supply. Soon, people will be required to take whatever vaccines are deemed necessary by public health officials. The varieties of plants will all be patented and owned by some corporation (therefore it will be illegal to grow your own food)—that may be true of chickens, turkeys, fish, and cattle as well. Wild game will become scarce as habitats disappear. The glaciers will all have melted, endangering species such as polar bears and penguins (and destroying island nations). The bombardment of chemicals from power plants, industries, aircraft, hydrofracking and mining activities will contaminate air and water, and deterioration of the ozone layer will result in increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, creating serious health risks.
New technologies can solve some of our problems, but the responsible use of technology requires enlightened leadership. A paradigm shift is needed, and it must begin with each individual.
Each of us, especially in Western cultures, needs to take responsibility for adopting energy-saving and conservation measures. I’m not just talking about recycling, but while I have trash on my mind, I wonder how many people take the time to safely dispose of batteries, unused prescription drugs, and other hazardous wastes. These pollutants end up in aquifers and water supplies when safeguards are not taken. How many plastic water bottles do you discard in a week? Purchase a reusable container and either invest in a home filtration system or fill jugs at a local store. (Many Walmarts even have reverse osmosis machines for filling your own containers.) Small acts add up—for better or for worse.
Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Driving a car, using electricity to light and heat your home, and throwing away garbage all lead to greenhouse gas emissions.” “Green power” is “environmentally friendly electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and the sun.”
The EPA provides information about steps Americans can take to generate or obtain green power and create a greener home.
Which Type Are You?
Some people seem to view the Earth as a waste dump; they throw trash along the side of the road, and their houses reflect a similar mentality. They treat their bodies in like manner, ingesting artificial products that not only do not provide the nourishment needed to be healthy but that must be processed by the liver and kidneys, which eventually become overloaded. Lives that are devoid of meaning and purpose are depressing, so people seek stimulation and comfort where they can. They may turn to pornography or violence, seek thrills and distractions, and self-medicate (legally or illegally). Often, they develop addictions and diseases. (Is there any doubt that consuming excessive amounts of sugar will stress the pancreas and put someone at risk of developing diabetes, or that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol damages the liver, much as smoking large quantities of manufactured tobacco increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer?) People in this category are powerless to effect change on a large scale; they are often ill-informed and sometimes are unconcerned with politics and social issues. Their views are oversimplified. That’s not a judgment; there are reasons why they are in the situation they are in. They may suffer from low intelligence and be poorly educated; they may not even know how to read and write. If they have come from another country and culture, they may not speak much English. Many struggle to survive; they don’t have the luxury of leisure time. For any of a variety of reasons, they are stragglers. Unable to keep up with the dominant culture, they are left out and left behind. If they would focus on improving their own lives and circumstances, then at least they would neither drain scarce resources nor create a blight on the environment. Some stragglers are angry and disillusioned and may be a danger, to themselves or others; many could lead productive lives with guidance and assistance but lack the skills to thrive without aid. They are stuck in a hopeless cycle; ignoring them and cutting aid programs will not help them advance. Education and opportunity and compassion change lives.
Other people see the Earth as a treasure waiting to be plundered; these pirates and captains (of industries and of armies) seek to mine, claim, and hoard resources for their own benefit, without regard for . . . well, much of anything that falls outside their short-term objectives and personal interests. They do not value life, and they do not care about consequences. Winning today is all that matters. Their fortunes may rise and fall, but these people are tenacious and often very clever. They may exert tremendous influence. If they would focus their talent, resources, and energy on contributing something of value to society, they could do a lot of good in the world. (I’m not anti-business, and some military leaders are models of honor and service who make many personal sacrifices—I mean no criticism or disrespect of individuals who are attempting to make the world a better place, by whatever means are at their disposal, and using whatever talents and resources they have.) The people I’m referring to here have no noble aims in mind, and if they claim to, it is only because their claims will win them the support of unsuspecting individuals. I’m talking about the people who knowingly bilk investors of their life savings, and politicians who withhold critical information while profiting from the support of industries that pollute and threaten the essential benefits of living in a civilized society: clean air and fresh water; safe schools, work places, and neighborhoods; access to education, health care, communication networks, and just systems of dispute resolution. The attitude of these people is: I bought it, I own it, I can do what I want with it. But when destruction of rain forests by clearcutting, devastation of farmland and water supplies by hydrofracking, overuse of insecticides and herbicides, chemical dumping, improper storage and transportation of hazardous wastes, emissions from coal-fired plants, effluent from sewage, and byproducts from agribusiness go unchecked and unrestrained, the harm to the public is immeasurable. At this level, the need is for strict legislation requiring cleanup by polluting industries and enforcement that ensures offenders do not profit by violating or skirting measures designed to protect the environment.
Then there are the consumers that drive most economies. Many of these people are educated and live comfortable lifestyles. They pay attention to the news, and they care about their communities. They may join groups that pick up trash along the side of the road, or volunteer their time and energy in church groups or hospices or provide other forms of aid and donations. Some may want to help but not know where to begin, how to contribute. They may feel powerless and expect someone else to solve the world’s problems; they pay their taxes and support their families, but fail to consider the cumulative effects of their lifestyle choices. Because of their large numbers, they have the ability to influence corporate practices (especially if they are shareholders) and the legislation supported by their elected representatives—if they make their views known.
Finally, there are those who view the Earth as a living being, the host and mother of all the creatures that call this planet home. The Gaia principle (a term proposed by scientist and inventor James Lovelock) expresses a holistic view that recognizes the interdependence of all life forms; the Earth is seen as a single organism. People for whom this concept resonates attempt to live in harmony with nature rather than to dominate it. They recognize that the health of the whole—be it the economy or the ocean—affects everyone, sooner or later. Those who are committed to putting their principles into practice often seek out other like-minded individuals with whom they can create cooperative ventures. These are the environmentalists. They gather in intentional communities and actively pursue new approaches and technologies that minimize waste and pollution. They experiment with building materials and promote renewable sources of energy and reduced consumption. Some have opted out of conventional lifestyles; some never bought in. They eat organic food and shop at local farmers markets—some of them grow their own food and raise chickens and keep goats. Many start small businesses—making goat cheese or installing solar panels. Some experiment with permaculture and biodynamic farming and composting toilets. They install systems to recycle graywater or harvest rainwater. They may have differing views about God and religion and whether consciousness survives death (some believe in reincarnation and karma and this belief provides an incentive for acting with integrity, even when “no one is looking”), and they may have different ideas about politics and social reform, but some common themes emerge. Sustainability is one of them.
Living in Harmony
Living requires resources. We take in nutrients, we discharge waste products. In the natural cycle, those wastes are reused. Humans breathe in oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. Plants take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Amazing, huh?
People who desire to live simply and in harmony with the Earth and with each other generally do not devote a lot of time and resources to defensive measures; as a result, peaceful peoples tend to be conquered and subjugated by the pirates and captains, who have no qualms about using violence, deception, and whatever means are necessary to achieve their aims. (And don’t think that modern pirates wear a black eye patch and appear unkempt; they are slick and, judging only by appearances, may even be attractive!)
When the balance tips, when critical mass is achieved, the majority will reign in the few who seek to destroy the common good; unethical behavior that harms others will not be tolerated.
Sustainable lifestyles are those that minimize the negative impacts of human endeavors upon the natural world. Even better: make a contribution! Leave the world a better place than you found it.
So What Can You Do?
What you do matters, and not just to you. Collectively, your choices over a lifetime form patterns. Some are productive; others are not. Most diseases do not develop overnight. Our bodies can adjust to small insults, but when unhealthy choices persist, year after year, the body’s ability to compensate is weakened. Eventually, we succumb to disease.
Recovery is possible in many instances. Prevention makes more sense.
Are you brave enough to question what your parents taught you? The wealth of available information increases exponentially and continually. What your parents learned in school—what I learned in school—has been superseded by new information, clearer understandings. Yet we cling to outworn ideas and beliefs like old slippers—they are comfortable, and we don’t want to take the time to shop for new ones. We don’t want to invest in something we may not like; we don’t want to look too different from everyone around us. It’s so much easier to follow others, even when they urge us to act dumb (when we are really smart), to give up our power (because they don’t have any), and to keep our real thoughts and opinions to ourselves (so they don’t feel threatened).
But what if there’s fungus lurking in those old slippers? What if the lack of support is harming your feet, your knees, your back? Would you rather know about it, so you can make an informed choice, or would you rather remain ignorant and take your chances? You may reason that you might not develop a problem and if you do, you’ll deal with it “then.” By “then,” the problem may be more serious and harder to treat or correct. Learn from your mistakes; find the courage to take a hard look at what you are doing and why—at what you believe, and why.
Get involved with your local school or neighborhood. Support local farmers and businesses. VOTE. Ask questions—don’t settle for easy answers. Look at what people do and not just what they say they are going to do. Look at the effects of their choices and actions over a period of time—some initiatives take time to bear fruit. Some risks are worth taking; some outcomes, unknown. Other results, however, are predictable. What will be the effect of fewer firefighters or meat inspectors? Hmm, don’t be surprised when response times are longer for crews to arrive at a fire, or more outbreaks of food-borne illnesses occur.
Steps You Can Take Now
Educate yourself. You may need to find sources of news and information that are less biased than the standard media outlets, which are controlled by fewer and fewer corporations—especially if you want a fuller picture than can be delivered in a sound bite. In this age of information overload, plenty of alternatives are readily available.
Take only what you need. Reassess what you ‘need’—it may not be as much as you think.
Get involved. No one has time to stay up-to-date with every important issue—find something that you feel passionate about and support it in a way that you can manage, whether that means volunteering for a local organization, donating money to a not-for-profit organization, following developments on an issue and contacting your representatives when important legislative measures are being considered, or installing solar panels and energy-efficient appliances, selling your huge gas-guzzler for a smaller and more economical vehicle, and/or using public transportation when possible. Support local farmers and patronize businesses that do the same. The food you eat will be fresher and more nutritious, and you will be contributing to the local economy as well as reducing the amount of produce that must be transported across long distances (and reducing packaging materials and associated costs).
Spread the word. If you sign a petition or read an article that is compelling, let people know about it. Social media makes re-tweeting and ‘liking’ and forwarding simple and easy.
Happy Earth Day.
* In A Moment of Time, U.S. Department of Justice attorney Caitlin Rose embraces a holistic worldview after her eyes are opened to new realizations.
** yes, that’s the plural form of metropolis!
 Walter Sullivan, ” Eruption in 1783 Offers Challenge,” New York Times (July 15, 1984)
 “Long Debate Ended Over Cause, Demise of Ice Ages? Research Into Earth’s Wobble,” ScienceDaily (August 7, 2009)
 See, e.g., “Global Climate Change,” National Aeronautics and Space Administration website (Accessed April 22, 2014)
 AAAS Board Statement on Climate Change (December 9, 2006) (Accessed April 22, 2014)
 John Upton, “Scientists to Americans: This Climate Change Thing Really Is a Big Deal,” Grist (March 18, 2014)
 See note at 
 Dan Mitchell, “Why Disappearing Bees Mean You’ll Pay More for Almonds,” Modern Farmer (Nov. 19, 2013)
 Dan Charles, “Bee Deaths May Have Reached a Crisis Point for Crops,” npr (May 7, 2013)
 Bryan Walsh, “The Plight of The Honeybee,” Time (Aug. 19, 2013)
 Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., Alan Schell, M.A., David Bellinger, Ph.D., Alan Leviton, M.D., Elizabeth N. Allred, M.S., “The Long-Term Effects of Exposure to Low Doses of Lead in Childhood: An 11-Year Follow-up Report,” New England Journal of Medicine 322: 83–88 (Jan. 11,1990) (Low-level lead exposure children is associated with deficits in central nervous system functioning that persist into young adulthood.)
 “Lead” Factsheet, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Biomonitoring Program
 “Blood Lead Levels in Children” Factsheet, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 Laura Barron-Lopez, “Feds to Provide $4B in Green Energy Support,” The Hill (April 16, 2014)
 “The new Solar Market Pathways program launched by the administration Thursday will help fund the multi-year plans to spur solar market growth, reach 100 megawatts of installed renewable energy on federally subsided housing, and help businesses identify low-cost financing for solar.” Laura Barron-Lopez, “Obama puts $15M into Solar Power,” The Hill (April 17, 2014)
Opponents complain that the plan “is one-sided, favoring cleaner energy sources over coal and other fossil fuels.” So where’s the problem?
 One example is the “Halliburton loophole” that exempts fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. See, e.g., “Safety First, Fracking Second,” Scientific American (Oct. 12, 2011)
 Bill McKibben, “Payola for the Most Profitable Corporations in History,” Huffington Post (April 5, 2012)
 John Light, “How Close Do You Live to America’s Dirtiest Power Plants?” Moyers & Company (September 18, 2013)
 “Protection of the Ozone Layer,” Climate Action, European Commission website (Accessed April 22, 2014)
 See “What You Can Do,” Climate Change, United States Environmental Protection Agency website (Accessed April 22, 2014)
 See “What You Can Do: At Home,” Climate Change, United States Environmental Protection Agency website (Accessed April 22, 2014)
 As part of the process of photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and carbohydrates; plants also use oxygen, but they produce much more than they us. See, e.g, “How come plants produce oxygen even though they need oxygen for respiration?” UCSB ScienceLine (Accessed April 22, 2014)
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