The Heat Is On
Al Gore's recent visit to Memphis to sign his book An Inconvenient Truth serves as one more reminder that most of our political leaders continue to ignore what could well be the most important issue we face. Scientists here and around the world have reached a clear consensus: Global warming is real, it's serious, and we're causing it. Among impartial experts, even among scientists in the Bush administration, that debate is over.
The only serious scientific disagreement concerns timing: How soon will things get really bad? If we do nothing, will it take 50 years or 150 years for coastal cities, islands, and much of the state of Florida to start disappearing under water? At what point after that will our planet no longer sustain human life? Given those consequences, all other issues pale by comparison.
The good news is that we can do something about this. The bad news is that we aren't. Top officials in the Bush administration have not simply ignored the problem, they have denied that it exists. Beyond that, their policies have made it worse.
For those of us who approach this from a faith perspective, there is no alternative to what must be done. In the book of Genesis, God creates the world and commissions human beings to take care of it. We're doing a lousy job. Some call it a failure of stewardship. That lets us off too lightly. To destroy what God has created falls into the category of sin, a transgression of the worst kind. This trumps the human arrogance that led to the Flood; this time around, no one survives.
We need new leadership that will put policy changes into effect. As citizens, we should demand that every officeholder and every candidate for office commit to strong action on greenhouse-gas emissions now.
Tickling the Dragon's Tail?
In regard to the latest Hezbollah exposure of children to the vicinity of legitimate bombing targets by Israeli warplanes, a Chinese proverb recommends that children not be used "to tickle the dragon's tail."
Hassan Nasrallah, as the instigator of the latest invasion of Israel by Hezbollah, needs to travel to Hiroshima to contemplate how the explosion of a single (and relatively small) nuclear bomb can destroy his headquarters city of Beirut. Instead of bombarding Haifa, Nazareth, and other innocent cities in Israel with thousands of missiles, Nasrallah should heed the wisdom of disbanding the Hezbollah militia launching these foolish attacks.
Nasrallah then could concentrate on rebuilding the Hezbollah political party while repairing the relatively minor damage done so far to his headquarters by conventional bombs. Otherwise, the "City of the Dead" will begin to fill with residents of Beirut to form new neighborhoods alongside those overcrowded with former residents of Dresden and Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
This is in response to Doug Hesson's surly attitude against hikers in Shelby County near Collierville (Letters, July 27th issue): Sorry, Doug, but one dead hiker is not worth the price of hunters' support of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
There are always one or two idiots who will fire off a larger-caliber rifle regardless of the regulations. I've seen it happen in Shelby Forest, and it will certainly happen in this area. There are plenty of safe areas to hunt. We need to leave the area in Collierville safe for hikers and people who don't want to be confronted by wayward hunters.
Incidentally, I like to hunt too but only in areas that are deemed suitable for me and that do not encroach on people who have no desire to see or hear hunters.
This president is a joke and an embarrassment (Editor's Note, July 20th issue). Everywhere he goes, he causes more problems for the U.S. than he does good. He has set the U.S. back instead of forward. As an armchair historian, I believe he will go down in history as the worst president we've ever elected. The Republican conservative right should be held accountable at the ballot box for helping elect this idiot, and as soon as Democrats take over the House/Senate in 2006, they need to impeach him to prevent any more damage.