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Is climate change (formerly known as “global warming”) real? Whew, that one certainly splits many political discussions. Should we move toward better and more efficient options than fossil fuels? Probably a good thing, as a gradual move. Immediately stop making vehicles that produce carbon emissions and enact deadline dates for those moves? Uh, I dunno – maybe not so much. Maybe there are other options. Like this one, from the Washington Post: “Researchers want to create a dust shield in space to fight climate change.” I envision someone sitting on the couch watching the nightly news and hearing this amongst the weather and sports scores and thinking “WTH?!” I can also envision somebody like me, just catching a soundbite on this report and exclaiming to my wife, “Honey! Martians are gonna help us fight off global warming! We’re saved!”
Well, a recent study was recently featured in many news outlets, including the Post.
And guess what? This is not the first effort at implementing the concept. Back in the ‘80s, there was a proposal to place a thin, 1,250-mile shield between Earth and the sun. Well, how difficult could that be? Then in the mid 2000s, astronomer Roger Angel postulated a similar effect by sending trillions (not millions or billions) of small spacecraft with umbrella-like shields (Egad! A “Mary Poppins” flashback!) to block the sun. Others have thought of blasting a dust cloud from an asteroid between the sun and Earth. Those brilliant minds at MIT even proposed a raft of bubbles that could deflect the sun (and could pop without debris). They feel that if this method deflects 1.8% of solar radiation, it could fully reverse today’s global warming. I almost dropped the glass of a nice Cabernet that I had just poured to begin my “Watchdog” research!
Now, note that not a single one of these intellectual nuggets covered anything about the unintended consequences of blocking the sun’s rays from reaching Earth. Are they aware that 42% of adults in the U.S. are already vitamin D deficient (including me), 50% of children between one and five years old and 70% between six and 11 years old have low vitamin D scores? Also, 82% of African Americans are vitamin D deficient. “Houston, we have a problem.”
(Gen X and Millennials may have to look that one up.) But I digress.
In the race to provide better solutions, we need to look at the risk/reward. It is concerning that these ideas from people I would assume are pretty smart didn’t have those thoughts. Yeah, we can negate the effects of global warming with those umbrellas, but there’s a good many of us who don’t live to see it – those kinds of thoughts. I will really be watching more closely as the debate and proposed solutions “heat up.” Alas, it will be more of a reality to my offspring and their families to withstand the results. But what if the solar dust thing works and millions of folks flock to tanning salons to offset the lack of UV? Well if so, you heard it here first!
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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