LETTER: Living in a Time of Crisis

Published: 4/29/2019 2:08:57 PM
Modified: 4/29/2019 2:08:52 PM

Letter to the Editor:

We are living in a time of climate crisis. Only drastic, transformational change will save our species from the deadly and catastrophic impact of climate change. Local media like the Athol Daily News should lead in communicating the urgency of the risks of climate damage by covering this situation regularly and in depth.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserts that major impacts will be felt by humans during this century even if we keep warming to only 1.5-2 degrees Celsius. This is predicated on a massive decrease in global emissions in the next 11 years. However, the U.S. and much of the world is not currently anywhere near on track to keep us under two degrees of warming.

If we overshoot two degrees, scientists warn of "feedback loops" where warming can increase exponentially and uncontrollably, for example due to the release of massive amounts of ancient greenhouse gases from melting Arctic permafrost. In this scenario, human devastation and even extinction is possible.

Local papers like the Athol Daily News dedicate much attention to our area's challenges, such as school funding shortfalls, drug addiction, and the economy. Global warming is an even bigger local challenge, and the impacts will happen sooner and be more devastating unless there is an intervention on the scale of the New Deal, or the Second World War, or greater, immediately.

Our local paper also shows many images and stories of our beloved children, who will pay the biggest price for our government's inaction on this existential issue. We urge the Athol Daily News to report regularly and often that humans are causing global warming, and to set about understanding and communicating in detail how this is specifically going to affect our area — increases in severe weather events, food and fuel shortages, economic impacts, and more risk of virulent diseases like Lyme and breathing disorders.

Understanding the local impact is essential for voting citizens to demand an appropriate response from our representatives. The truth is that governments’ long-standing inaction and obstruction on the climate crisis is potentially the most far-reaching human rights abuse ever committed. Reporting on this crime requires courage to expose the truth, even in defiance of powerful interests.


Lynne Feldman, Petersham; Diane Nassif, Petersham, North Quabbin Energy; Karen K. Davis; Jeanneane Pugliese; Ari Pugliese; Ann Townsend; Mimi Hellen Jones; Christine Word; Troy Word; Stephanie Selden; Florence (Sue) Hellen; Kathleen Geary, Petersham; Marion C. McGann; Larry Buell, Earthlands Inc.; Katja Esser; Max Feldman; David St. Germain; Elizabeth Garrett; Annie Woolsey; Henry Woolsey, Petersham.

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