Emissions are global too

Pollution moving across the oceanYou can file this one under “think global, act local.” We like to keep this blog pretty well focused on things that individuals can do because that’s the part that interests us. But sometimes, it’s worth looking at the bigger picture (in the form of beautiful pictures from NASA) to remind ourselves why it’s worth doing.

NASA has some great satellite pictures of pollution crossing the ocean from China to North America. From the article (via Treehugger), but emphasis mine, “we estimated the amount of pollution arriving in North America to be equivalent to about 15 percent of local emissions of the U.S. and Canada.” It’s not enough to just cut emissions where we are, although that’s great too. We need to elect leaders who are willing to actually lead and start encouraging and helping other countries to curtail their emissions as well.

This isn’t a jab at China. A lot of those emissions are from forest fires and that “pollution also flows from Europe, North America, the broader Asian region and elsewhere.”

To me, this highlights the importance of getting a move on here in the US regarding our own emissions. We can’t directly control what China and Europe do, so we should reduce our pollution to levels where we can cope with additional stuff from overseas. Think of it as emission independence to go along with oil independence. If we can show other countries how to effectively act sustainably, they’ll almost certainly follow which is good for everyone.

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