This I Believe

Franz - Fresno,, California
Entered on December 23, 2007
Age Group: 65+
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This I Believe

Okay, so for ninety dollars we bought a “Solar Cascade Fountain.” It pumps water from a basin into a pot about 20 inches above it. From there, the water flows into the first of three bowls, each one below the other and back down into the basin. No extension cords, plugs, or batteries. The whole thing is powered by a 6 inch square solar panel on top of our patio cover. Once the sun comes up, it starts bubbling. Great! And now a family of finches have made a home of it; they dart in and around the bowls, chirping away, occasionally taking a drink.

A couple of weeks after we got it, we had a computer technician over to fix the lap top. Nice guy. After he finished, I asked him if he’d like to come out to see the fountain. “Sure,” he said, but after looking at it for a while, he turned kinda serious and puzzled and asks, “But aren’t you afraid you’ll use up the sun’s energy with this thing?”


You have to wonder if people like that ever realize that regardless of whether there’s a solar panel on anybody’s roof or not, the sun is gonna shine anyway. And isn’t it absolutely wonderful that we can generate renewable energy from solar panels like that without having to burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, or natural gas–which remain public enenmies numbers one, two, and three (in that order) as far as global warming is concerned. That’s because the chemical process of burning fossil fuels releases mainly carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It’s because we’ve been pouring so much of that CO 2 out into our atmosphere ever since the start of the industrial revolution–roughly 150 years ago–that it hangs out there around the earth like a giant insulation blanket holding in some of the sun’s warmth that used to radiate out into space. It’s that insulation blanket that causes global warming. THIS I BELIEVE.

I will say this. Since scientists started ranting about the threat of global warming, the opposition has shifted. They no longer dispute the fact that global warming is a fact–that the world’s average temperature is up, that oceans are rising, that climate patterns are changing. Now they simply insist that “Humans have nothing to do with it!” While they admit that burning fossil fuels releases CO 2 into the atmosphere, they simply deny that all that coal, gas, and oil we’ve burned in the last 150 years have had any effect on anything.


So that the next time my computer buddy comes over, I’m gonna ask him how come the North Pole is melting, and a hunk of ice the size of Manhattan fell off the northern part of Canada, and soon polar bears will be on the endangered species list.

“Good questions,” he’ll say. “It’s probably because of all those solar fountains you guys buy and set up. You see, they use up so much energy!”