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A good idea, a cleaner engine

According to the Los Angeles Times, beginning next month one of the largest shipping companies in the world launches an experiment at the Port of Los Angeles. It centers on an innovative fuel system for cargo ships that employs a fuel emulsification process. Water injected into marine fuel oil creates a mixture that's four-fifths oil, one-fifth water. This lowers the combustion temperature, and the oil burns more completely. Fewer pollutants remain to escape.

The outcome of the experiment could prove significant. If it's successful, it could reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and particulates coming from cargo ships – the type of pollution linked to a range of respiratory illnesses, as well as to global warming. While emissions from autos tend to grab most of the public's attention in the battle against global warming, a single cargo vessel, with its enormous diesel engines, can produce about as much exhaust as 12,000 cars do in a day ("Shipper to test system to cut emissions," Dec. 5, 2006).

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If this sounds like a breakthrough technology, it is ... and it isn't. This will mark the first time a fuel emulsification system has been applied to the main engine of a cargo ship. But such systems have been applied to small diesels for close to a century. In a sense, this is a matter of addressing a problem with a solution that doesn't need inventing but is already on hand. You can think of it as a "What hast thou in the house?" type of solution.

If that phrase is new to you, it's from an old oil story – one that by far predates the oldest diesels. It's from an account involving Old Testament prophet Elisha. He helped a woman, a widow, who because of her unpaid debts was about to lose her two sons. They were on the verge of becoming the "payment" for their mother's outstanding debt. That's when Elisha asked her, "Tell me, what hast thou in the house?"

She had a pot of oil. The prophet directed her to borrow as many pots as possible, pour the oil into them, sell the excess, and pay her debt. Amazingly, as she poured, the oil multiplied and filled the many pots, providing her with the needed solution (see II Kings, chap. 4).

Today, there are countless fronts in the battle to save the environment and curtail the human behavior seen to aggravate global warming. Many of the solutions are not waiting to be invented; they're waiting to be noticed. That will happen more consistently as individuals – not just engine designers or environmentalists, but interested bystanders as well – adopt a more Elisha-like outlook. In other words, one way that people can make a difference is to cultivate a spiritual perspective, one that draws on the divine consciousness. This consciousness, Christian Science teaches, is naturally accessible to everyone.

"All consciousness is Mind; and Mind is God, – an infinite, and not a finite consciousness," wrote Mary Baker Eddy. She continued, "This consciousness is reflected in individual consciousness, or man, whose source is infinite Mind" ("Unity of Good," p. 24).

This consciousness equips one to see solutions, where before only problems appeared. To notice the promise of purity, where only the inevitability of pollution was seen. To recognize provision, where it looked as if there was only want.

Everyone can become aware of and acknowledge this consciousness. Its source – and the source of what it takes to recognize and employ an already-discovered solution, or even an undiscovered one – is God, whom we can see as the divine Mind. This supreme Mind pours forth inspiration. The Mind that is God knows answers that are at hand, accessible, applicable. To acknowledge creative Mind as present and real aligns oneself with the source of creative solutions.

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Then, even troubles as daunting as global warming start to be overtaken by answers that are good for all.

Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.