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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Our View

If climate can change, why canít man?

Trying to figure out Natureís moves is tricky business, even for scientists meticulously charting gyrations of rainfall, warming of the planet and emissions of gases into the atmosphere.

But despite uncertainties, this is indisputable:

Humankind is messing with Nature through indifference and overt abuse at its peril by placing more demands on the planetís resources.

Larger populations, more industry, more fuel consumption, more gases, more waste disposal, more destruction of forests, less pure air and water, shrinking wildlife habitat--all are warnings of a planet in distress.

As the climate and earthís resources change, the irony is that manís habits donít change.

But they must, or risk calamity.

From the poisonous industrial air of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, where adult life expectancy is foreshortened, to African deserts, where indifferent people stripped the land bare, the globe has ample reminders of environmental catastrophe.

Nowhere in the Lower 48 has been touched by climate change and human abuses as vividly as Western states. Drought has drained reservoirs to precipitously low levels, agriculture is short of water, dry forests have been ravaged by fire, species have been threatened by booming urban development, national parks are under siege, and more.

Before George W. Bush took office and began watering down and reversing environmental standards, the Environmental Protection Agency on Jan. 7, 2000, posted warnings about the inability of terrestrial vegetation and oceans to absorb increased manmade pollution.

Fuels burned by vehicles, to heat homes and to power factories are responsible for 98 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, the EPA then concluded. In 1997, the United States emitted 20 percent of the worldís greenhouse gases.

Rather than maintain momentum of enlightened environmental programs, the Bush administration from its beginning has thrown its weight to loosened pollution standards and demanding ironclad proof that Mother Earth is being abused before it takes climatic changes seriously.

What a pity President Bush demands incontestable proof about the Earthís worsening environmental condition but insisted on no such unquestionable proof about weapons in Iraq before going to war.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.