Should We Be Worried About Contrails?

February 23, 2014
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Warm weather is approaching some parts of the United States at last. Impending spring is always a miracle. Signs of green renewed, the pulse of earth’s heartbeat pushing forth out of dormancy, and all the tiny signs of life beginning to happen make it possible to regain optimism after the stillness of winter time. Yet, these days, I can’t help but notice a radically unusual phenomenon in the new blue skies.

At the first signs of spring, the hibernating bear inside me yawns and stretches and opens her eyes, ravenous and ready for all delights from the world beyond my cozy den. I can’t help but to be outside as often as possible. These last few days as I’ve wandered the streets and sought out the mountains, there has been a consistent web of streaks in the sky trailing out from behind small airplanes. I’ve always been fascinated by condensation trails (contrails). The occasional lines through the skies that turn an airplane into a slow motion shooting star has always seemed a perfectly good reason to make a wish. The number of planes and the duration of these trails however is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.


I’ve avoided the chem trail theory thus far because part of me (the part that has a three year old daughter to protect), really doesn’t want to know. I can’t help but wonder though, as I’m presented with many hours per day of unprecedented evidence, what exactly is going on up there?

If it is merely a coincidence of a perfect temperature creating contrails that take much longer than normal to dissipate, my next question is, what are all those planes doing flying all at once, crossing each other, every day? What does all that air traffic and exhaust and fuel-use mean in the context of a bigger picture like global warming and fossil fuels and pollution?

If it’s something grimmer, like chem trails or crop sprays or military powder for mapping and location devices, then, what are the environmental and health ramifications of leaving the house?

Either way, I’ve been leaving the house filled with the sweet hopeful feeling of melting snow giving way to the breath of life and returning home with a nagging sense of impending doom. This is the first time in my lifetime that my inner bear is considering the implications of eternal hibernation.

The voices in my life (my circles of friends and various influences) seem to be divided in response to my questions. Some scoff and tell me I’m headed down the conspiracy theory road, again, and some are certain that we, the masses, are being poisoned for various reasons by people whose interests are best served by dumping lethal ‘what-have-you’s out of airplanes onto the earth. My guess is that it’s somewhere in between the two extremes but hazardous all the same.

So, like the foods presented to us and the available water sources that run into our homes and gardens and the air pollution that has burned holes right through our ozone, like contamination from oil spills and nuclear waste accidents, is the falling sky our next science fiction to be realized?

This bear wants to find clean, clear springs full of healthy swimming fish. Berries on bushes and fruits on trees. This bear wants sunshine and clear skies, full of stars, real shooting stars, and a hundred wishes as the spring time nears.

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  1. Zoë Standish Herman

    Seems sketchy.

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