Increasingly, our leaders must deal with dangers that threaten the entire world, where an understanding of those dangers and the possible solutions depends on a good grasp of science. The ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, acid rain, questions of diet and heredity. All require scientific literacy. Can Americans choose the proper leaders and support the proper programs if they themselves are scientifically illiterate? The whole premise of democracy is that it is safe to leave important questions to the court of public opinion-but is it safe to leave them to the court of public ignorance?
It's perilous and foolhardy for the average citizen to remain ignorant about global warming, say, or ozone depletion, air pollution, toxic and radioactive wastes, acid rain, topsoil erosion, tropical deforestation, exponential population growth. Jobs and wages depend on science and technology.
I'm still the same person I've always been. I can't say exactly what I'll do; I'm an excessive person. Talk about violence-----I don't do anything violent. Talk about violence, what's going on in Nicaragua? What's going on in El Salvador? That's violent. What are they doing to the planet with chemicals and acid rain? That's violent. What are people doing to each other? Raping. That's violent. I'm striking out at ac icon that has no life. There's a big difference between what has life and what doesn't. I mean. I've been a vegetarian for 16 years.
Imagine if Congress always put the interests of polluters ahead of the health of our families. Our rivers and lakes would be choked with sewage. Acid rain would pour down from smog-filled skies. Hundreds of thousands more of our neighbors, friends, and loved ones would be victims of cancer, heart disease, and asthma.
When Americans are called on to innovate, that's what we do - whether it's making more fuel-efficient cars or more fuel-efficient appliances, or making sure that we are putting in place the kinds of equipment that prevents harm to the ozone layer and eliminates acid rain. At every one of these steps, there have been folks who have said it can't be done. There have been naysayers who said this is going to destroy jobs and destroy industry. And it doesn't happen because once we have a clear target to meet, we typically meet it. And we find the best... Read more »
The unthinkable is that we're distorting this atmospheric balance. We're shifting the chemical balance so that we have more poisons in the atmosphere - ozones and acid rain on ground level - while we're also changing the thermal climate of the earth through the greenhouse effect and - get this - simultaneously causing destruction of our primary filter of ultraviolet light. It's incredible. Talk about the national-debt crisis - we're piling up debts in the atmosphere, and the piper will want to be paid.
From the cranberry cancer scare of the 1950s to the Alar-in-apples hysteria of the 1980s, from the "new ice age" of the 1960s to the "global warming" of the 1990s, environmental alarms almost always turn out to be false. Few non-political scientists fear ozone loss, global warming, or acid rain. These are just issues that some people hope to use to reorder the lives of the rest of us.
We can drift along as though there were still a cold war, wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons that will never be used, ignoring the problems of people in this country and around the world, being one of the worst environmental violators on earth, standing against any sort of viable programs to protect the world's forests or to cut down on acid rain or the global warming or ozone depletion. We can ignore human rights violations in other countries, or we can take these things on as true leaders ought to and accept the inspiring challenge of America... Read more »
When it comes to acid rain or oil spills or depleted fisheries or tainted groundwater or fluorocarbon propellants or radiation leaks or sexually transmitted diseases, national frontiers are simple irrelevant. Toxins don't stop for customs inspections and microbes don't carry passports. North America became a water and free-trade zone long before NAFTA loosened up the market in goods.