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April 9, 1973

Energy Crisis

JAMA. 1973;224(2):244-245. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220150052017

The jets roar on takeoff or landing at National Airport on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. Northbound or southbound they follow the course of the river to lessen noise somewhat for those who live nearby. Yet, they spew a cloud of oily, sooty stuff that drifts leeward to soil households formerly clean when only propeller planes frequented there.

So dirt deposits (pollution!) and energy dissipates (crisis?). In swelling voice and line, the news media, including scientific journals, bespeak an energy crisis that threatens the way of living in the United States. And, paradoxically, remedies for pollution and conservation of energy sometimes conflict. Witness the need to "control" automobile emissions, necessitating increased consumption of energy by burning more gasoline.

The dis-ease about energy, pollution, decay of inner cities, the other evils of the day, all are result of what Dubos1 calls "humanizing the earth"—not that he deplores the