When I was in high school in New Jersey in the 1980s, I took an environmental science class. I had no interest in the subject. I signed up because I didn't have the stomach to take physics or chemistry. As an added attraction, the class featured numerous field trips to some of the Garden State's finest natural habitats. On one trip we waded through a wetland. Instead of finding an exciting array of fauna and flora, we unearthed some old tires, rusted beer cans and a moldy flip-flop.
The class, though, wasn't a total wash. I learned one important lesson: "Dilution is not the solution to pollution." It's a catchphrase that has taken on increasing relevance in today's global warming crisis--a crisis that was caused in part by the mistaken belief that greenhouse gases would simply dissipate, causing little harm.