Columns and Letters

Letter: Where are we heading?

July 6, 2022

 Dear Editor,
      When I was born, there were about two billion people on the planet. That terrified a number of scientists, philosophers, observers, and writers for obvious reasons to them but not so obvious for the average person. The average person who lived in either the northern or southern side of the equator thought this was a time for unlimited and infinite potential and they were going to make the most of it, which they did. Homo sapiens thought they had discovered and conquered almost every challenge there was to be had. In general, we were and still are, the most arrogant, pompous, conceited, self-centred species on the planet and it will lead to our demise in a relatively short period of geological time.
    Humans could be compared to any other microscopic organism in a giant test tube that has all the right conditions (food, water, light, heat source, etc.) that it needs to grow and double until we run out of one of the essentials. Even though we are the most brilliant species who has ever lived (according to us), we have reached that turning point in our collective existence and unless we collectively change what we are doing in a monumental way, then our environment, as we know it, will be changed forever.
    Humans found a way to replace whale oil by burning every kind of fossil fuels. We fell in love with coal, oil, and gas because they powered industry, transportation, flight, and everything else we wanted and loved. An extremely small number of scientists pondered the question, “Will the use of fossil fuels contribute to changes in the atmosphere?” A British engineer named Guy Callendar discovered the connection between human activities and global warming in 1938, but that was buried and forgotten about because that was not the message the majority wanted to hear or acknowledge. Our collective desire was to increase everything we held dear to us with no concern for the environment in which sustains our very existence.
    We are now at a time when there are eight billion of us on the planet. We have reduced our arable land by 30 per cent world wide because of unsustainable farming practices. At the current rate we are harvesting and consuming fish, we will have exhausted our oceans of commercially viable species by 2048. Instead of humans planting more trees to reduce atmospheric CO2 and produce oxygen so we can breathe, we are burning them to create electricity or cutting them down to make more money for other things. While the temperatures around the world continue to rise, the protective northern and southern polar regions continue to melt. This results in a greater amount of the sun’s energy being absorbed by the darker surface of the earth. The more ice that melts, the greater the sea levels rise. This is a feedback loop called the “albedo effect.” In order to reverse this process we have to dramatically reduce atmospheric CO2 in order to reduce average global temperatures.
    Millions of people around the world are on the verge of starvation or are suffering from increased natural disasters as a result of the climate crisis. Yes, it is an emergency because it is going to take increasingly immediate, Herculean efforts to reverse our practices to ensure a future of those who remain.
    I truly wish I were wrong because there is the ever present optimist deep within. Erin Kelsey wrote a book about that feeling in 2020 called “Hope Matters - Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis”.
Paul Strome
























































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