Friday, May 29, 2009

Letter to the Editor

My letter to the editor was printed in this weeks edition of The Spooner Advocate. Looking at it now I don't know if I like it. This seems to happen with almost everything I write.

Lately my letters have been focused on laying out reasons why people resist this culture and why they are working for a better world to live in. People doing this work are criticized just for simply doing the work. It's crazy. Anyway, I'll post the letter below.

New Ideas

I have a few questions about this statement in last week’s article titled “Not so cool” by James Lewis “Man-made global warming is again presented as settled science…” When have scientists ever sat down and agreed on anything? Am I hearing you say that citizens and their governments should do nothing about global warming until science settles the matter?

When wondering about those questions one only needs to turn the famous German physicist Max Planck. He had this to say about new and important ideas in science: “An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over its opponents…what does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning.”

Mr. Lewis stated in his letter that 30,000 scientists at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine have all agreed “man-made global warming is speculative at best and flatly wrong at worst.” Of course, on the other side of the spectrum, there are many scientists that say the planet will continue to warm no matter what we do. We have exceeded the global warming tipping point, and in the near future we’ll be facing a sudden biological die off. Which of course means that we will suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs: extinction. The story of Homo sapien will be over. Time will tell which group of scientists hits closer to the mark.

I do know this though. If anyone would have written into this paper 60 years ago and said we might be facing extinction they most likely would have been laughed at. This isn’t the case nowadays. This alone is an indicator to me that not only scientists are starting to realize that we cannot continue to do what we are doing to this planet and not suffer the consequences, but so are common folk. So I don’t know if I would be so quick to label folks concerned about global warming as “alarmists”. I’d lean more towards viewing them sort of the way Planck viewed scientists with new ideas: a growing generation of people genuinely concerned about our future as a species on this planet. This new generation has been gaining steam since Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring” back in 1962, and they’re using the tools that are available to them (legislation being one of them) to make sure future generations have a planet to live on.

Time will tell if we can legislate ourselves to sustainability. Personally, I think it’s going too take much more then that.

No comments: