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