On polluted air, cleanup requires both a will and a way

So, my car has a dead battery. Last evening, I raised the vehicle’s hood and had a look. Even though externally the battery looked sound, internally it just wasn’t delivering the amps (amperage) needed to start the car. Using a volt-ohm-meter (VOM) I purchased years ago, with an analog display no less, I measured the battery’s voltage across the terminals only to find the meter display indicated about 10 volts. My car’s battery is rated at 12 volts. I then compared this to a known good battery. Using the same VOM, the meter reading of the good battery was 12.5 volts. So, the remedy is simple: replace the defective battery with a new one. If only all fixes were this straightforward. If only.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Take, for example, cleaning the air. Unlike replacing a used battery with a new one, when it comes to air cleansing there just is no quick fix.

In “Air (and its repair) in the care of the many,” the commentary’s main point is that it takes multitudes working together to effect the kind of positive change sought – in this case cleaner air. In fact, in this op-ed, here is what I concluded:

“It is my observation that many forces have been at work that resulted in air pollution being present.

“Question: To undo the damage, what’s it going to take?

“Answer: The work of all clear-the-air forces combined will result in success.

“Question: Can the air ever reach a state of good repair if no one cares – or tries?

“Answer: Here’s a clue: the work of all clear-the-air forces combined will result in success.”

So, who could these forces be comprised of? Anyone and everyone who pollutes.

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking there are ways to pollute less or not at all (depending on the situation) if presented with viable programs or products that, respectively, are less or zero pollution intensive.

I’ll use my own lawnmower as a relevant example.

My current mower is a cordless electric version. When I want to mow the lawn I recharge the device’s battery. I would not call this process zero pollution intensive because to recharge the battery for use, this requires plugging the recharger into a 110-volt wall outlet. That the recharging electricity produced is coming from somewhere, how that electricity I am using to charge the mower battery is generated determines whether or not the entire process of recharging the battery and then mowing the lawn is low- or zero-pollution intensive.

320px-Giant_photovoltaic_array[1]What I can tell you definitely is that for 2012, my utility supplied energy was made up of renewables such as biomass and waste, geothermal, small hydroelectric, solar and wind with non-renewable supplied energy coming from such sources as large hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear and other unspecified sources. (See: energy.ca.gov/consumer). In California, 33 percent of electricity supplied to state consumers must come from renewable sources by 2020.

What else can be done: From “Air (and its repair) in the care of the many,” on the mobile side of the equation, resolutions could include:

  • Adjustment of the transportation/land-use paradigm to reduce vehicle miles traveled
  • Technological advancement and innovation in transportation mode and fuel types
  • Better transport management strategies to make the network more efficient
  • Encouragement of non-polluting mobility types using incentivization
  • Discouragement of polluting mobility types using disincentivization
  • More reliance on alternatives and less reliance on fossil fuel use
  • Reconfiguration of the entire transportation network

… And on the other side of the equation which is the stationary side, fixes can include:

  • Technological advancement and innovation applied to emissions reduction
  • Technological advancement and innovation applied to waste management
  • Technological advancement and innovation applied to waste disposal
  • More reliance on renewable sources and less reliance on fossil fuels
  • Encouragement of non-polluting activities using incentivization
  • Discouragement of polluting activities using disincentivization
  • Improvement in building design and construction
  • More reliance on recycling

Before total success can be realized in this regard, the will must be there first and foremost.

As for that last stationary suggestion – recycling, the next report covers this aspect.

Image above: United States Air Force

– Alan Kandel