What do tailpipes and cigarettes have in common? More than you think….
The easy answer here is: Pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels, like from cars, trucks and fossil-fuel power generation, causes lung cancer, heart attacks, childhood asthma, dementia, psychosis, diabetes, childhood leukemia, brain tumors, learning challenges, renal failure, Alzheimer’s disease, fetal-development problems, higher bone fracture risk, lower sperm quality, etc.
Does that sound like some of the side effects from cigarettes? I mentioned that this is the easy part of the comparison. Now, here’s “The Rest of the Story.” Anyone remember that radio guy Paul Havey and his “The Rest of the Story” segments? He’d tell a semi-interesting story and then hit you with something you were not expecting. OK, most of us understand all the years and misinformation/lies from Big Tobacco, right!?! Furthermore, how over time the truth came out that cigarettes did cause lung cancer and a ton of other health issues.
Here’s the CRAZY part. Big Tobacco hired a few scientists: Frederick Seitz, Robert Jastrow and William Nierenberg, to testify to Congress and fabricate “junk-kine” science reports that there was no link to tobacco and cancer. Very well documented in the book “Merchants of Doubt.”
Most of us can easily understand the coverup and the harm Big Tobacco did to people in its denial and in hiring “experts” to bolster their lies and further harm people by casting FUD: (Fear, Uncertainly and Doubt)! Harming people here on Kaua‘i. OK, that’s interesting, Steve, but is THAT the “Rest of the Story”!?!
NO! The CRAZY part is…. Wait for it…. The fossil-fuel industry not only took a page out of Big Tobacco’s play book, THEY HIRED THE SAME THREE GUYS TO SPREAD FUD. Again, well documented in “Cranky Uncle VS. Climate Change.”
And the fossil-fuel industry continues that today. I’m not OK with that, are you? So, what are we to do here in Hawai‘i?
So, glad you asked! Just bringing up your awareness helps a lot. Maybe you can think about not idling your car or truck so much, especially when you’re around others, especially keiki and kupuna.
Another great solution that can also save YOU some MONEY, is found in EVs (Electric Vehicles). Today, EVs are cheaper than FFV (Fossil Fuel Vehicles) when you consider the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Soon, less than three years, EVs will be cheaper to purchase, and soon after that it will be cheaper to convert your current car to EV than maintain your old FFV.
By the way, converting FFV to EVs is happening a lot in parts of Africa, where it’s a whole lot cheaper to drive EVs than FFV. That’s some serious good news! It will save us and our local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, the CEO of Ford recently said their new all-EV F-150 will be their most powerful F-150 yet AND will save fleet owners 40% on their TCO! So, why would anyone buy a brand new FFV when EVs are cheaper, faster, almost 10x safer, and mo fun to drive!?! You, me, KIUC, lifeguards, and the County of Kaua‘i should not be spending any money on brand new FFV. Especially in light of the fact that climate change is currently kicking our okole big time! For example, there was a great recent article in The Garden Island newspaper: The stones are falling, describing the loss of beach and parking lot at Wailua Beach due to sea-level rise. If you’re concerned about climate change TAKING our coast and beaches away from the next generation, this is a great way to fight AND save $$$. And that is the rest of the story. Now you know, so PLEASE consider what you can personally do in the fight!
Mahalo nui loa, onward and imua.
Steve Parsons is a resident of Wailua.