Letter from the Chair
As you may already know from our Winter 2007 newsletter, Fran
Caffee has retired as group chair and I have the privilege of
being the new Chair.
We have had a number of people resign leadership positions in our
group over the past year. Therefore, there are a number of
positions vacant at this time, as you can see from the
leadership list here. If you are
interested in becoming a leader in the VOF, this is a great time
to do it.
Once these positions are filled it will be harder to become a leader
in one of the more influential positions. The most important
positions that are vacant on the Executive Committee at this
time are Vice Chair and Secretary. Among the vacant committee
chair positions, the most important are Fundraising, Political
and Programs. The Program Chair is the person who sets up and
runs the group’s public meetings and other special events.
This year I am hoping the group can focus its efforts around the
important issues of global warming, destruction of the
oxygen-producing plant life and human population growth. All
three of these problems are interrelated and need to be
addressed at the same time.
The Chinese have addressed the human population growth issue and
reduced their population growth so far by 400,000,000. But still
the human population on the planet is expected to increase by 50
percent from 6.5 billion to 9.5 billion by 2040.
This could mean a billion new people each decade or 100,000,000
new people ever year, which is equivalent to 10 new Chicago-size
populations on the planet every year. If the human population
growth does not slow down significantly, how can we ever hope to
decrease the pollution that leads to global warming and the
destruction of the oxygen producing plants on the planet?
At the present rate of destruction of the tropical rain forests
only 2 percent of the rainforests will be left by 2050. The
tropical rainforests supply the earth’s atmosphere with 40
percent of its oxygen. Do we all want to be living at sea level
in 2050 and breathing only the amount of oxygen that we find
presently at 10,000 feet?
And, by the way, the boreal forests, which are being destroyed in
Siberia, northern Europe, Canada and Alaska, presently account
for at least another 10 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere.
And the plant life in the oceans accounts for another 40 percent
of the oxygen.
Both of these problems only make global warming worse. As the
tropical rainforests are destroyed by burning, more carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released into the
atmosphere which then results in an increase in atmospheric
And every new human who is born will add pollution to the
atmosphere, since coal, oil, gas or wood will be burned to help
clothe, feed and shelter him or her. And thus more carbon
dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases are released into
The human race has only about 30 to 50 years to correct these
problems before it runs low on oxygen and runaway global warming
occurs. Why 30 to 50 years? Because right now the earth’s oceans
are absorbing most of the increase in atmospheric temperature
from present global warming and billions of tons of methane are
still trapped in the permafrost in the arctic regions.
Sometime about mid-century the oceans’ ability to absorb the increasing
atmospheric temperature will slow down and all the methane in
the permafrost in the arctic will start being released in huge
quantities into the atmosphere. And methane traps 17 times more
of the earth’s reflected energy than carbon dioxide traps. Also
by 2050, 40 percent of the plants on earth that produce oxygen
for us may be gone.
With a decrease in the atmosphere’s oxygen content and an increase in
global warming, the earth’s ecosystems will change drastically.
For example, by 2050, subtropical plants could be growing in
northern Canada. The tropical rainforest areas could dry out
since the forests will have been destroyed. The southern half of
the US could turn into a semi-desert area. The grain producing
areas of the U.S. could shift north into Canada. And many
oxygen-breathing animals could be stressed to the point of
I would recommend that everyone read Al Gore’s book “An
Inconvenient Truth.” It is a good primer on these issues. And
then start reading every scientific article and watch every
television show you can on these problems. Why? Because it will
take every one of us, changing our way of life, to correct these
former VOF Chair
news Outings and events
Links To join