It’s time for leaders to tackle problems

(This letter was published in the Chapel Hill News, 15 August 2007.)

Bravo to Winston Kirby for his CHN letter of August 8th, “Candidates ignore pressing problems”. Many too many politicians and corporate CEOs are ignominiously disregarding consistent and overwhelming scientific evidence of global warming and other pernicious forms of climate change. Everyone understands the importance of technology in addressing global problems that are looming before humanity. What is woefully inadequate, what is unconscionable, is the dearth of reasonable and sensible leadership by those who have assumed positions of power in the political economy. Business-as-usual that adamantly and relentlessly favors unbridled industrialization and unrestrained economic globalization could be approaching a point in history when the huge scale and rapid growth rate of endlessly expanding business activities become patently unsustainable on a relatively small, finite, noticeably frangible planet the size of Earth.

Perhaps now is the time for national leaders to follow the wisdom of Mr. Kirby by at least acknowledging “a nest of world problems,” the reality of which most leaders remain in denial. Given the probability that certain clearly identifiable global problems can be expected to fall into the laps of our kids, it appears somehow not quite right both to willfully leave these problems unattended and, even more disturbing, to fail in the exercise of our duty to warn the children: a duty to warn them of potential dangers to life as we know it and to the integrity of Earth.

Steve Salmony
Chapel Hill

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