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Letters to the Editor

July 07, 2010

We are ignoring the risks of global warming



To the editor:

Remember the voices that, in the midst of the February snowstorms, asked, "Ha, do you still believe in global warming now?" Considering the current heat wave, I feel like asking, "Ha, do you still deny global warming now?"

But of course, that would be a bit childish. Because in truth, neither the February snowstorms nor the current heat wave have much to do with global warming. Global warming is a long-term climate phenomenon, snowstorms and heat waves are short-term weather phenomena.

Current scientific knowledge predicts that the average global temperature will rise by about 5 degrees over the next 100 years - give or take some. That makes for an average increase of one-half of one-tenth of a degree per year. And that is far, far below the level of human perception. We simply can't go outside and say, "Yes, I feel it, it's one-half of one-tenth of a degree warmer than it was last year ..."

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Nevertheless, science has a lot of evidence that global warming is real and that it is man-made. We even know that global warming is mostly caused by the use of fossil fuels - coal, petroleum and natural gas. But unfortunately, global warming is otherwise almost imperceptible. Yes, the polar ice caps are melting, the glaciers are retreating, the spring season is starting earlier and the vegetation in the northern tundra is changing - but we don't care much about any of that.

We are living in a society that does not take risks seriously - even if they are well documented - until something bad happens that affects our everyday lives. Like, for example, miles of coastline being destroyed by dangerous oil drilling practices. And I am afraid we will ignore the risks of global warming, too, until it is too late. Except that the mess caused by global warming eventually will eclipse the Gulf oil spill disaster by many orders of magnitude.

Hans K. Buhrer
Smithsburg




Paper needs to be fair in coverage of schools



To the editor:

I am writing about your recent stories about the North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown high school graduations. I don't know if you graduated from North High or not, however, every story you write about North is extremely flattering, but South is just an OK school.

The students at South are just as good and work every bit as hard as North students. You neglected to mention that South students also received almost $2 million in scholarships. Many of these students were accepted by four or more very good colleges. South students are working as interns at the National Cancer Institute and other places.

When you write your next story about schools, please remember all schools have outstanding students, not just North High. Many of South students have 4.33 or higher grade-point averages.

I went to North, so it's not that South is my home school.

Let's be fair to all students and teachers.

Nancy Kearns
Hagerstown

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