"On Sept. 21, 1987, President Ronald Reagan said, 'In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.'
"This threat also requires us, in Reagan's phrase, to unite in recognition of our common bond.
"Americans must come together and direct our government to take on a global challenge. American leadership is a precondition for success.
"To this end, we should demand that the United States join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.
"We should aim to complete this global treaty by the end of 2009 - and not wait until 2012 as currently planned.
"It is, after all, a planetary emergency.
"Are we so scared of this challenge that we cannot lead?"
- Al Gore
Click past the break for a few comments on this editorial piece from Al Gore.
[Source: New York Times]
I have often heard from multiple people that humans are too small to be considered a true threat to our planet. I have also heard that there is no way that we could dump enough greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that we could be causing the climate to change.
In defense of those contentions, I bring you the ant. Yep, the ant. You may be aware of them, you've probably seen them many times. They are small, real small. Yet, if enough of them are present, they can kill you. I don't mean with poison, either, although they might be. Ants are more than capable of literally ripping apart their enemies and carrying the assorted pieces away so that nothing really exists of said enemy afterwards.
Don't like that one? How about the termite? Again, pretty small on the grand scheme of things. But, they can ruin your home if left unchecked. Sound familiar?
Alright, how about the locust? Let enough of them loose and they can wipe an entire country free of vegetation. It has happened before, it could happen again.
Which brings me to humans. Yeah, we too are pretty small when compared to the scale of the earth. But, there are plenty of us to go around. Left unchecked, we can build cities where deserts used to exist. We can populate just about the entire planet, and we do. In the process, we create a few undesirable consequences. We have brought some species to extinction in no time at all. We have an entire list of endangered species, many of which are endangered because of our own activities.
I could go on, but I am honestly not trying to sway any opinions here. What I am trying to do is demonstrate that humans can in fact impact our environment. We can, and we have. Now, are we going to do anything about it?
Click here for the entire editorial from Gore.