Letter to the editor
The time to stand up for the environment is now
January 31, 2017
PBS recently aired a moving documentary on Rachel Carson, who almost single-handedly launched the modern environmental movement with the publication of her book “Silent Spring” in 1962.
Carson exposed the environmental and health dangers of DDT and other pesticides widely used during and after World War II. Predictably, the pesticide industry tried to smear and discredit her in a way very much resembled our present fossil fuel industry’s attempts to discredit the warnings of climate scientists.
Luckily for Carson and the rest of us, Congress paid attention and, with the support of President Kennedy, banned DDT. We can credit Carson’s heroism for the bald eagle’s return to Wisconsin and other places where pesticides had disrupted birds’ reproductive cycles.
If only our current president and legislators could respond with similar wisdom to the present global threats to our environment.
Instead, President Trump has put up a proponent of big oil, Scott Pruitt, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, a well-known climate change denier, has a record of attacking the agency he has been recruited to lead.
Early signs point to a radical dismantling of the EPA and gutting of regulations protecting public and environmental health. The incoming administration has already eliminated information on climate change from the agency’s website and imposed a gag order forbidding EPA scientists to publicly share information that may contradict Trump’s anti-science agenda.
Clearly the natural world doesn’t figure into the President’s balance sheet. He is poised to do lasting damage for short-term gain.
Citizens who care about the future of our planet must steadfastly defend the governmental structures put in place to protect us. We must let our legislators know that we will fight to return to its senses a government that, for the moment, appears to be sliding into destructive lunacy.
Thomas R. Smith