The Globe Is Warming. Why Aren't We Marching?
by: James Gustave Speth 24 February 2006
To the Editor:
Re "Glaciers Flow to Sea at a Faster Pace, Study Says" (news article, Feb.
17): The world we have known is history. A mere 1 degree Fahrenheit global average warming is already raising sea levels, strengthening hurricanes, disrupting ecosystems, threatening parks and protected areas, causing droughts and heat waves, melting the Arctic and glaciers everywhere and killing tens of thousands of people a year.
Yet there are several more degrees coming in our grandchildren's lifetimes.
It is easy to feel like a character in a bad science fiction novel running down the street shouting "Don't you see it!" while life goes on, business as usual.
Climate change is the biggest thing to happen here on earth in thousands of years, with incalculable environmental, social and economic costs. But there is no march on Washington; students are not in the streets; consumers are not rejecting destructive lifestyles; Congress is not passing far-reaching legislation; the president is not on television explaining the threat to the country; Exxon is not quaking in its boots; and entire segments of evening news pass without mention of the climate emergency.
Instead, 129 new coal-fired power plants are being developed in the United States alone, and so on.
There are many of us caught in this story. We must find one another soon.
James Gustave Speth
New Haven, Feb. 20, 2006
The writer, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, was administrator of the United Nations Development Program, 1993-99.