To the Editor:
The discouragement voiced by Emily Ritter-Riegling in The Teen Take (“Act now to preserve world for future generations”) is saddening. The constant beating of the drums of doom by the apostles of the apocalypse leads to unnecessary and false fear of the future.
False? “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now,” said Paul Ehrlich in The Population Bomb (1968). “What Ehrlich predicted for the 1970s could be waiting for us in the 1990s,” said David Suzuki and Anita Gordon in It’s A Matter of Survival (1990). And now in 2016? The food problem in the West is too many of us are too fat. Only where there are tribal or religious wars or where there are totalitarian dictators is there still widespread serious malnutrition and starvation, though the push for biofuels by the apostles of the apocalypse such as Al Gore do bring a wider risk.
If Emily and her cohorts obey the dicta of the apostles of the apocalypse, and retreat to the caves, then yes, they will see a world that is worse, and their lives will be diminished.
Instead, read widely. Read The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout by Patrick Moore, Smaller, Faster, Lighter, Denser, Cheaper by Robert Bryce and about Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. Read I Touch the Future by Robert T. Holler — a bad ending to the flight, but Christa McAuliffe was one who chose to “do”, not to retreat to the caves. Read widely, think critically, question, challenge. Watch the Ted Talk, “How Not to be Ignorant About the World”, by Hans and Ola Rosling.
If Emily and her cohorts choose to do, then the world will be a better place, and their lives will be enriched.
Do what? Certainly, maintain a good work-family balance. Career wise, here are a few of the multitude of options: become a chemical engineer and operate a plant that extracts lithium from spodumene, become an engineer and design better turbines and pumps to improve the efficiency of hydro and of pumped storage, become a surgeon and keep grandparents mobile with knee or hip replacements, or become a carpenter and build and repair and improve people’s homes.
If the choice is to do, will you have setbacks? Of course. Will you make mistakes? Certainly; you are human. Will it be hard? Let John F. Kennedy answer that one: “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
Retreat to the caves, or do: the choice is with Emily and her cohorts.