A Much Larger Puzzle
Dear Friends: In its last issue, Western Friend published a letter to grandchildren everywhere talking about the environmental conditions we are leaving to our grandchildren. While I am grateful to WF for publishing that letter, I am concerned about editorial changes that were made that I was not given the opportunity to review before it went to press. The issue I have with these changes is that they misrepresent what I was trying to say in two important ways. First, the final version gives the impression that all our environmental and social problems revolve around the use of fossil fuels. Our overuse of fossil fuels is just one piece of a much larger puzzle that involves how we manage resources, not just which resource we use. Second, the published letter was edited in ways that oversimplified what I was saying about hope and the factors driving us towards what may be an environmental cliff. In addition to being a grandfather, I am also a geologist and a college educator. This means that I often talk with people who feel that environmentalists are misinformed sentimentalists who are naive about science, economics, politics, and human nature. Because some of the people I eventually hope to reach are adults like my students and colleagues, as well as “just plain folks,” it is important to me that the hope and optimism expressed in it takes into account the complex and harsh realities of our situation. Otherwise we grandparents concerned about the world our grandchildren might inherit from us will be discounted as just another gaggle of naive idealists. We cannot afford to be regarded in this way if we are to have any hope of changing our present course.
On Pride (July 2014)