Fossil fuel conundrum

In the Jan. 30 issue, Luc Joel Levin writes from personal experience of the ecological losses being suffered in his native land due to global warming [“Footprints in the (Lack of) Snow,” Letters]. There is no doubt that global warming is occurring. Calling it climate change seems to be in vogue. Unfortunately this seems to make it seem less threatening. Oh, climate change—that might not be so bad. Maybe the change will even be good.

For those who may harbor doubts about the extremes to which global warming is occurring, the Arctic is a great place to look. There is so much warming in the Arctic that the polar bear will probably not survive in the wild. The retreat of sea ice is making it increasingly difficult for the bears to hunt from the ice. The bears are our canary-in-the-coal-mine. Humans depend upon the Earth’s ecosystem, but we are unraveling it systematically and relentlessly. The best thing we can do is to not use any fossil fuels. Short of that, we must do whatever we can do to reduce our individual and collective carbon footprints.

Until our fuel sources are the sun and the wind, we are stuck in this conundrum: In order to pay for the basics of food and shelter that we need to survive in our own culture, we must participate in a system that is destroying the ability of human life to survive on the planet. It is hard not to become cynical or despairing and say “the hell with it.” But to survive, we must all work together to change the system and change how we behave and what we do with our time. The best things we can do are to not buy things and not go places. We need to learn how to stick around our own neighborhood, hang out and live from the resources of the land immediately surrounding our homes.

— Cicada Brokaw
Asheville

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