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How's the Air Up There?

The title of this blog makes me bristle a bit. I am reminded of the taunts I heard as a child in school, as I was always at least a head taller than everyone else in my class. I never had a clever comeback. I probably was born tall. I don't really remember my birth. I suspect it was painful. But I digress.

I am a big fan of our planet. We all need one, right? I know I am a hypocrite though. I eat meat. I don't always recycle. I drive a gas guzzling, fuel-inefficient piece-of-crap SUV. During my 30-year career in nonprofit management, maybe as a form of atonement for my human failings, it turns out that I worked primarily with groups dedicated to protecting natural resources. In the fall of 2017, I had the opportunity to see my favorite headliner — former Vice President Al Gore — speak at a Climate Reality Leadership conference in Pittsburgh. From his first book Earth in the Balance as then Senator Gore, to his movies on the subject, his life's work focuses on the grim topic of potential mass destruction of life on Earth. Despite this, he remains hopeful.

I learned a lot that fall in Pittsburgh. Things like:

  • The two fastest growing occupations in the U.S. are solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • One revolution of a wind power turbine can power a house for a day, and

  • One hour of the sun's rays can provide the world's power needs for an entire year.

That's right — one hour of intense heat and you're good for a year! Coincidentally, that's pretty much how my love life's been going these past few years. But I digress yet again.

Last month marked the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Environmentalists used the opportunity to advocate for investing those trillions of stimulus taxpayer dollars into rebuilding our economy in a healthier and more sustainable way. The news cycle focused primarily on the environmental impact of stay-at-home orders around the globe. For example, an article from CNET describes how coronavirus shutdowns have given the Earth a chance to clean up its act. It appears that without humans mucking things up, the air we breathe is cleaner, our waterways have become clearer, and wildlife is making a comeback around the world.

How's the air up here? Much cleaner for now. Thanks for staying home.

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