Thursday, April 10, 2008

Childhood Memories, Disconcerting Division

I grew up in the Seneca-Babcock community of Buffalo, NY. During my childhood [spent mostly in the 1960's], it was a very busy industrial district, with businesses running the gamut from America's largest windshield-wiper manufacturer [now based in Mexico], to the nation's largest producer of denim dyes [on a busy day, the smell of rotting eggs from the plant was overwhelming], to an oil refinery. I don't think it's illustrated in the photo above, although it certainly reminds me of it. I'd like to tell you that the orange hue in the sky was from a sunset; truthfully, though, I doubt it.
The oil refinery was at the end of Babcock Street. A few blocks up the street was a Boys [eventually to become a Boys and Girls] Club. I spent almost every weekday after school there, heading home after dark [around 8 - 9 PM]. The skies were frequently that shade of orange, or darker. The effect on a cloudy night could, to a child's imagination, be incredibly frightening. Until you realized that the orange skies were nothing more than burning oil wastes reflected off clouds.
Forget for a moment all the fascinating things in the air around my little town. Ignore the high percentage [observations based on admittedly anecdotal reports] of cancer, and birth defects, and breathing disorders, in this rather small community. Just imagine the amount of fire thrown into the sky. The amount added to the world's greenhouse gases. And this was thirty, forty years ago. None of the issues addressed by opponents of Global Warming are new. But with the exponential increase in Greenhouse gas emissions, the steady industrialization of the previously under-developed areas of the world, and the growing realization that the clock is running on finding a solution, even those of us who don't spend a lot of time considering these matters realize that action must be taken, and taken NOW.
If you click on the banner over the EntreCard, you'll be taken to You'll be offered an opportunity to join the "Virtual March" on Global Warming April 22nd. I'm in. It's a nice idea. But more than symbolic action is needed. Consider this: on April 22nd, take part in the "Earth Day Initiative" [Disclosure alert: the radio station I work for is partnering with a corporate sponsor here in Buffalo to encourage our listeners to support the Initiative. I couldn't be prouder of my employers]. Carpool. Take the bus, or the tram, or the subway, or the train to work. You'll reduce Global Warming in a measurable way. And who knows, you may enjoy not driving [I know I prefer the freedom I get from busing to and from work]. It's cheaper and, while it may not be as convenient as using your car, you'll be making a difference. Anyone who wants their children and grandchildren to be able to have a world to grow up on can appreciate that. If you don't, do it anyway, then tell your friends and family how righteous you are. That should be fun.


heidi said...

Hello fellow Babcock person! I'm on the other end, north of Clinton where the railroad switching yard is. We live in a small world, don't we. The refinery is still there, but there's no more orange glow. I do, however, remember the days of growing up in Blasdell, a stone's throw from Bethlehem Steel. The sky was always black in the middle of the day. People were willing to risk the health hazards knowing that a black sky meant that there was food on the table for a lot of families. Buffalo definitely was a great industrial city, it's too bad it never really recovered with the new economy. It's hard not to long for the old days, as non-ecologically friendly as they were! But it is nice seeing a blue sky.

Kath said...

It's Kath from insertgoodname, here to check out your blog and thank you for your comment!
You seem a very cool person, and I like your blog also, you make some very good points! I have feedwatched you!

Thanks, and toodles for now!

SheR. said...

Hello! Yes. We should start supporting Global Warming now! Every little effort counts!