The human race is running out of options for a course correction on this cruise ship called Earth. There’s no room for denial in the face of pollution’s impact on our daily lives and on the natural ecosystems. It’s literally enough to make you sick.

I lived in Cincinnati when a several-ton slug of carbon tetrachloride forced the shutdown of the water work’s intakes for a few days. It was a present from a plant on the Kanawha River in West Virginia. That was 35 years ago. Not much has changed.

Twenty years ago, I ran a successful essay contest for recycling at the local schools. After a few years of this, my next recycling committee budget request of $800 (plus a $200 roll-over) was rejected by the finance committee. I believe my town government’s commitment to flow rates, which ensured solid waste to be burned by a contracted incinerator, was more important than instilling good recycling habits in our kids.

This is supported by the fact that Waterboro today recycles at a 17 percent rate. It did recycle at 40 percent or more during a now defunct pay-per-bag program. Just like Sanford, Biddeford and Saco now do well with their recycling and solid waste programs. The throwaway mentality is giving way to a new business model.

Several years ago, the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Canadian oil shale were being exploited so we could reap the benefits of a continuing supply of fossil fuel. Now we can breathe easy and pretend we have all the time in the world to develop renewable sources of energy. In the meantime, carbon dioxide continues to make sea water acidic and a clam nervous about his shell.

The only change to count on is the increase in humanity. If we are too vain to modify our behavior in order to accommodate our kith and kin, not even an ark will help us live in one room. Thank God that Noah was a conservationist.

-Doug Yohman, East Waterboro