Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Get a horse!"

Some environmentalists decry modern technology for its deadly pollutants. Never mind the fact that true pollutants, that made people sick, have been reduced to near nothing in the civilized West. Anyway, some have advocated literally going back to horse drawn vehicles. Not so fast!

In this article we find some interesting facts about nineteenth century problems with horse manure! Gary DeMar quotes original sources from the days when automobiles were rare and horses ruled the roads. It was, to put it mildly, a mess. Consider this:

"[A]s the health officials in Rochester calculated in 1900, the 15,000 horses in that city produced enough manure in a year to make a pile covering an acre of ground 175 feet high and breeding sixteen billion flies" [Joel A. Tarr, “The Horse—Polluter of the City,” The Search for the Ultimate Sink: Urban Pollution in Historical Perspective (Akron, OK: University of Akron Press, 1996), 323–324.]

Yuck! The job of cleaning this up went to the sanitation workers, who often skipped "regular" garbage to deal in the lucrative fertilizer business selling horses manure! The streets were less than pristine, if you get my drift. :-)

The "carbon footprint" of yesteryear was far bigger than anything our imperfectly burning engines will ever produce. The carbon dioxide - which is as essential to plant growth as was manure in 1900 - was once considered "safe," since it poisoned no one, and in fact was considered beneficial. And what about water vapor, the other, more prevalent "greenhouse gas," which is also the byproduct of burning "fossil" fuels? Is it not preferable to liquid water, with added chemicals, which graced the ground in the wake of the animals that knew no better?

Global warming may be occurring, but at what rate? And to what harm in the long run? Let us concentrate not on the "danger" of some gases changing life as we know it, but instead on "taking care" of those great gifts that God has given us - including horses!

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