Janet Sadler: If not acting on climate change now, then when?

Last modified: Thursday, May 08, 2014
To the editor:

Regarding the April 30 letter, “Spare the virtuous lifestyle columns please” in response to Dr. Marty Nathan’s “We must all answer climate change call”):

Climate activists around the globe, acting on the credibility of updated scientific research, justifiably refute the option of sitting idly by “await[ing] the day when alternative sources of energy will be plentiful and cheap enough to replace fossil fuels.” It’s simply not in the mainstream industry’s interest to develop nonlucrative energy sources, so what is there to wait for?

Until recently we have been assured that drastic global consequences will not occur for another hundred years or more, well past our lifetimes. Why worry? Let the next generation handle it.

It seems, however, the timeline has been pushed forward a bit. And with this urgency it borders on insult to say Dr. Nathan’s call to action is with “well-nigh religious certainty and apocalyptic pronouncements.” Dr. Nathan reminds us that individuals are the only viable source of change. It’s up to us to join forces to start real change now, not in decades to come. Although it’s tempting to shoot the messenger, should we?

I have seen no activists “demanding” but rather thoughtfully pointing out the “compound interest” of lifestyle and industry moves to slow down devastating climate change. Is this new direction necessarily undesirable? What’s so terribly hard to “give up” in view of what we face?

Finally, I wonder what “different approach” the letter-writer has in mind. For all that’s been presented about climate change, nothing so far has nudged us even a few inches off our collective complacency.

Though I would hardly accuse Dr. Nathan of alarmism, I wonder if a bit of alarmism may be a good thing. Many of us still have our heads stuck in the tar sands.

Janet Sadler

South Hadley