Laurie David takes readers' questions on environmentalism.

News and commentary about environmental issues.
April 25 2008 2:34 PM

Earth Chats: Laurie David

"It's not about everyone doing everything; it's about everyone doing something."

(Continued from Page 1)

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Dunn Loring, Va.: When was the last time you rode in a private jet? Rode in an non-hybrid SUV or limo?

Laurie David: Most of my air travel is on commercial planes and I drive a hybrid car. Believe me I'm not perfect, but perfect is the enemy of good. Lets get to the true nature of your question...which is your expectation that if someone is an environmentalist that somehow means they must live up to an impossible standard of perfection. The real truth is that we are all environmentalists, we all love a beautiful spring day, cool summer nights, snowy winters, clean air and clean water. My point is that its not about everyone doing everything, its about everyone doing something. Its impossible to live in today's world and not be a carbon emitter so we are all guilty and we all have to be part of the solution. If we all did something we would be well on our way to solving this mess.

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Rockville, Md.: Is there any chance that we may want a warming trend in our climate? Perhaps to stave off another ice age? I don't see anything on that part of it. Just disaster, disaster, disaster. But I do admit to not keeping up with the scientific literature since I retired a year or so ago from being a science librarian.

Laurie David: I think what we want is for nature to take its own course and for us, humans, to be conscious of interfering with that.

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Danbury, Conn.: On assignment (I'm a reporter for a small Conn. newspaper), I once interviewed Dr. Robert Cess, who worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He told me that given China and India's thirst for fossil energy, coupled with our own complacency, the best we can hope for at this point is to slightly slow global warming. Is there truly nothing we can do to avoid the bleakest of outcomes?

Laurie David: All of the scientists I know, and I know a lot of them, believe that we can avoid catastrophic climate change if we act now. They won't be saying that five years from now if we've done nothing. That's why this upcoming election is so important and that's why its so critical that the United States start showing some serious leadership so China and India will follow our lead.

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Vienna, Va.: It has been stated that this climate crisis is the greatest public health concern currently facing us. As such, this awareness campaign should be faced as a public health issue like smoking, AIDS awareness, and lead poisoning, but on a much more global scale. So, is your awareness campaign using, what they call credible sources, like 'opinion leaders' or 'influentials' to get this message to all citizens as did these other public health campaigns?

Laurie David: The thing with global warming is that it literally affects everything. Its a national security problem, its a public health problem, its an economic problem, but I love your idea of taking the public health piece and doing an awareness campaign based on that. I would like to see it broken down even smaller where we would have marketing campaigns about not using plastic water bottles, banning plastic bags, encouraging people not to idle their car and making conservation cool again. In a way we're seeing the beginning of this with the green movement, but we are just at the very beginning. We need to think about where things come from, where they go when they're thrown own...the concept of waste and packaging needs to be completely rethought. We need a gigantic shift in consciousness that will permeate everything we do, buy and make.

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Washington, D.C., re plastic bags: We are required to dispose of our trash in plastic bags. So I use the plastic bags in which stores place purchases for this.

If stores stop using plastic bags for purchases, I'll just have to buy them instead unless the rules for trash disposal are changed. Comment, please!

Laurie David: This is exactly my point...everything needs to be rethought. We need to come up with new, better ways of doing things. There are all of these new plastic items that are being made from compostable materials. So how about a plastic bag that will biodegrade? Consumers have to demand them and when the products become available they have to support them by buying them.

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Laurie David: Thanks for your all of great questions...lets chat again soon. Go to StopGlobalWarming.org and join the Virtual March!

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