Categorized | Inbox, Opinion

Letter to the editor: Humans have responsibility to take care of our planet

Last week’s letter to the editor has highlighted many of the misconceptions that are abound in regard to environmental science.

It is true that this planet has survived meteor strikes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and hurricanes.

It is also true that human respiration releases CO2 and cow flatulence releases greenhouse gases as well, although it is mainly methane — not CO2.

But just as you believe that mankind is arrogant to assume that his or her little existence on this planet can have any impact, I believe that it is incredibly myopic to deny any responsibility.

Our planet has been in existence for billions (not millions) of years and the fossil record has shown that populations of any organism tend to function on a boom or bust cycle.

It is a matter of consumption and competition.

The human population is outpacing the carrying capacity of the planet. As a species we require a great deal of materials that are finite resources.

The purpose of the SEAS tip of the Week is to encourage the UWF community to take this issue into account and make the most of the resources we have, while we have them.

The object of your skepticism — global climate change — is an enormous and multifaceted issue that I cannot dream to adequately sum up here.

However, I will attempt to address a few of the points made in last week’s letter.

You are correct, partly, in saying that the volcanic activity of Kilauea contributes to the greenhouse effect.

I was a bit lost as to what effect “1,000 SUVS of lava” had to do with anything, but I digress.

It may be simplest to look at this matter as a matter of balance. SO2, CO2 and methane are emitted naturally via volcanos, respiration, vents.

Since the Industrial Revolution, however, a great deal of these gases have been released through human industry.

The source of these gases — fossil fuels — have been locked up underground for millions of years.

Can it be believed that when they enter the atmosphere, relatively suddenly in terms of geologic time, they have no effect?

As for your claim that it is all a conspiracy, I find it belittling to the men and women who dedicate their lives to well, science.

The debate over global climate change only exists in the political sphere, not the scientific sphere.

I have a few questions about the arguments presented in last week’s letter to the editor, and I invite the author to come to the next SEAS (Student Environmental Action Society) meeting this Wednesday at 5:30pm room 260 upstairs in the Commons.

We will be happy to answer any questions to the best of our ability.

As for the charge that a person’s “little existence” has no impact, I will end this letter with a quote by the esteemed cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead.

Mead once said, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

—Samantha LaFortune
UWF Student 

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