To the editor,

            The recent demise of the Columbus based airline Skybus, in less than a year, should send a wake up call to America about which kind of transportation is fuel efficient, a greatly advanced quality of life, and exponentially lower in greenhouse gas emissions: passenger rail.

            Physics dictates fuel efficiency, and it is the steel on steel wheels of trains, trolleys, trams, street cars or anything running on rail, that makes them so exponentially more fuel efficient than anything running with rubber on asphalt or in the air.  And it is the quality of scale, where a single train can easily move a thousand people very comfortably.  In addition to the fuel savings, trains are also a much nicer way to travel, with room to move around if annoyances creep up in one area or another.

            I know well about train travel: I have traveled well more than a hundred thousand miles through the United States , Canada , Europe and Japan by train, as well as extensive travel by car, airplane and all types of boats.  The wonderful thing about solving both the climate crisis, which is largely caused by the burning of fossilized carbon reserves such as oil, coal and natural gas, and the skyrocketing price of energy costs is that the more efficient means of travel are also the far superior in quality of life.  Trains can travel much faster, encouraging more people to use them.   China has a train going 286 miles per hour, and efficiency does not decline for trains as speed increases, unlike cars and airplanes.  Substitute solar and wind generated energy, and we can travel guilt free while cleaning up the pollution that is a major problem in America .

            Above all, it is the climate crisis that must mobilize America , and the world, to make major changes extraordinarily fast to slash emissions.  We are launching on a path that scientists warn could kill billions of people this century through famines, floods, disease and other impacts as we move to an entirely different planet faster than the vast diversity that maintains Earth’s life support system can possibly adapt.

            Having just finished the second edition of my second book, Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying One of the World’s Largest Wilderness Areas, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of solving the climate crisis.  Instead, another 57 million state taxpayer dollars were just lost in subsidizing Skybus by notoriously demented Ohio lawmakers, when they could have been subsidizing high speed passenger rail in Ohio .

            We must demand action from politicians at all levels.  We can no longer move by any political deadlines: we must move by nature’s deadline.  The masses and media do not understand the seriousness of the climate crisis.  Predictions of the speed of change have increased seven fold since just one year ago because of last summers melt in the Arctic, and Antarctica ’s melt in the last several months.  We must mobilize like we did for World War II to have a chance of reducing the climate crisis to livable levels for a critical mass of species including our own. 

-- Chad Kister

P.O. Box 31 ; Athens , Ohio 45701 ;  740-707-4110    (740)-753-3888

Kister is the author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness; Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying One of the World’s Largest Wilderness Areas; and Against All Odds: The Struggle to Save The Ridges.  Kister is also the Producer of the 2006 film Caribou People.