Band-aids for the problems, not solutions

Forrest Johnson

The patented portable carbon dioxide/methane/greenhouse gas vacuum is a proven technology and under construction as we speak. Climate change deniers and skeptics will cringe in the shadow of the vacuum as it rolls through the nation, not quite under its own power but almost.

You see, the scientists and engineers at the National Union of Friendly Americans (NUFA) have long understood that Americans want band-aids for their problems, not solutions, so it’s a band-aid we’ll get when it comes to the excessive burning of fossil fuels and the inevitable release of greenhouse gases.

And boy, oh boy, is the vacuum a big band-aid. Perhaps the largest vacuum the world has ever seen. As a matter of fact, the vacuum will be the largest man-made apparatus or structure ever built. Ever. We still aren’t quite sure just how big we need to go for it to be effective, but we may need another planet just to store the thing when it’s not in use. Earlier prototypes—some hand-held, some the size of a medium-sized city—proved pretty quickly that only a vacuum of grandiose proportions could begin to handle the 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the atmosphere every year. Thirty billion tons. And increasing each and every year.

And we thought we had pollution under control.

Oh, it started out innocently enough, with a few campfires back in our hunter-gatherer days and early agrarian period. There were oil seeps and coal used several thousand years ago in Persia and Asia. Petroleum was drawn from the earth long ago and used as asphalt in the walls of Babylon, and it was also used to evaporate salt from brine and later for kerosene lights. Then sometime in the mid-1700s, coal was found to be an abundant and easily combustible resource in Europe and North America. Then came the internal combustion engine, and soon enough there were a billion cars, more coal was burned in power plants and factories, and more people came along pushing the population from a handful to more than seven billion in less than a few centuries.

Man, do we need those fossil fuels. We gobble them up and spit out the gases within a contained living system, and long ago overwhelmed the planet’s ability to use all that waste. According to ice core samples, there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been in the last 800,000 years.

Folks, we’ve got a lot of greenhouse gas pollution to remove from this thin and fragile atmosphere. Our working models show that the patented portable carbon dioxide/methane/greenhouse gas vacuum will work on a large industrial scale. The only problem as we see it is that mankind has been working to produce a gazillion tons of the stuff before we ever decided to get the ball rolling to dispose of it.

We’re telling you in all honesty, this is going to be one big machine.

And with every big machine comes many moving parts that create a maelstrom of noise. Ever sit in a room and try to read a book with someone whisking around behind a vacuum cleaner? A little hard to concentrate, is it? Well, sorry to say, when this beast is vacuuming its way across your section of the country, we have no known form of hearing protection that can withstand the noise. We’re working on that problem as well, but at this point loud it will be. Very loud. Stampede the horses and elephants loud.

And the maintenance issue? Hey, one thing at a time. And we know that at least half of the people in the the country will be needed to operate the vacuum at peak production. We won’t be slaves to the machine, exactly—more like serfs or sharecroppers. But in the end, it will render us indentured.

Remember, we don’t want to solve the problem at its source by reducing our use of fossil fuels. We want our cake and to eat it, too, so a host of intricate engineering problems have to be dealt with each and every day, each of them layered upon the last problem we created because we long ago discovered we’d rather have band-aids than a solution to the problem.