Sept. 9, 2009: Hope vs. fear is the real story


To The Editor:
In the recent “Mailbag,” letter by Stuart E. Buswell, “human beings are the problem” demands response. He makes several points regarding the environmental debate. Many of his points are in seeming contradiction to others within.
He attempts to distance current human behavior from casualty for current global warming by pointing out that previous global warmings occurred without human industrial interference (due presumably to the absence of humans). This would be a flawed conclusion because simple logic says that what caused an event at one time is not necessary for a similar event another time. One forest fire may have been caused by lightning whereas the next could be by a cigarette butt.
Unwittingly (perhaps), Mr. Buswell is playing into the current discretionary tactics of individuals and corporations that seek to avoid discussion that would lead to actions to reverse global warming. They seek the relative short term gain of maintaining or increasing profits from current practices rather than accede to the needed changes. These are the parasites of the species we need to thwart. They (finally) admit to the existence of global warming. But they want us all to stay stuck on the argument of whether man is the cause or this is a naturally recurring phenomena. The issue is moot. It makes no more sense than to delay opening an umbrella until we know where the storm came from. The fact is plain that we’re getting wet and will get wetter. No matter what, we need to take action to mitigate this problem. Now.
Mr. Buswell states that disease and starvation are nature’s control mechanisms and that nature will establish the equilibrium “whether we like it or not.” This seems to allude to the all too frequent assertion of many throughout the world that human attempts to solve global warming are a sign of human arrogance. Arrogance in the belief that humans can cause vast changes in the natural world. Arrogance in the belief that man can thwart changes in the natural world. More arguments for passivity. One can only hope that these myopic individuals are not also hypocritical. For if they take any medicine, travel on other than foot, eat other than foraged, speak other than language they cannot be innocent of the latter. All medicine, transport, harvested food and language itself is of human invention or discovery. The human is the most adaptable of creatures in this world.
Our problems are eminently solvable. If one can imagine it, it can be done. The enormity of previous problems currently non-existent (i.e., life beyond 35, instant global communication, global transport of goods and services, travel to outer space, air flight, etc.) should give clear evidence to that. Where we lack is the ability to achieve concord. If we are to allow a small powerful collection of self interested parasitic entities whose only concern is the outcome of Q’s 1-4, then the future is truly bleak. The president is right when he says it “all boils down to hope versus fear.”

Mark Zilberman, LCSW,