From the Editor

Home sweet home

It’s a fragile planet. Love it or lose it.

My wife and I are beginning to sort stuff in anticipation of (one day) relocating from one house to another. We are incurable pack rats. Some of the treasures we have in boxes were never opened when we moved from Ohio ten years ago!
The need to take care of our living space takes on urgency when we consider the probability that the dwelling will eventually be put on the market. When you look at the place through the eyes of those who might put down cash to acquire it, you see things very differently.

That brought a fresh realization to my mind (underscored by a careful reading of Kathryn Christenson’s commentary piece, which appears next to this column). The realization is this: If (when) we remember that we’re living in quarters we’re going to have to hand over to someone else eventually, we’re faced with the need to take good care of them. Kathe and I were in a theatre in December where, before the main feature, a portly matron came on the screen and reminded us, “Those theatre seats you’re sitting on — they’re somebody else’s furniture. Keep your feet on the floor!”

Then there’s planet Earth, our temporary home. This is borrowed space. It’s not ours to trash. Americans need to be reminded of that. We are better than any other people on the planet when it comes to wasting resources. A visitor from Germany once took a ride with me along a U.S. interstate highway. He looked at the median and asked, “What do you grow there?” I replied, “Grass.” He asked, “What happens to it?” I said, “The highway department gets rid of it.” He said, “In Germany we’d plant that with oats, harvest it, and feed it to our animals.”

This is the time of year to think about new beginnings. I sincerely hope Americans can make a fresh start in 2007 toward figuring out (a) whether global warming is real; and (b) whether humans are adding to the problem. The CEO of ExxonMobil says global warming is “fake science.” The CEO of Shell Oil says the debate is over, that global warming is a serious problem we need to solve.

Home sweet home! Love it or lose it.