Forum, July 20: Children are powerless in the face of climate change

Published: 7/21/2019 1:16:45 PM
Children are powerlessin the face of climate change

For the sake of your children and grandchildren, what will get you angry enough to do something about global climate change? Anger will be necessary because powerful and wealthy interests have subverted the science and controlled the discourse. How much knowledge would you need to feel informed enough to speak with a confident voice?

Here are some answers.

On Sept. 20, there will be a worldwide general strike to protest inaction on the global climate crisis. Students will walk out of schools and people will take a day off from work to raise their voices in a public place.

Regarding your readiness to speak knowledgeably, here are some books to consider:

In Field Notes from a Catastrophe, author Elizabeth Kolbert visits research scientists at the sites of their research and hears about their work. You will learn about the scale of global warming and the alarming rate at which it is happening.

Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway tells the story of how a small group of scientists sowed doubt and disinformation about the science of tobacco and cancer, acid rain, ozone holes, secondhand smoke and global climate change. The effort was well-funded through corporations, think tanks, trade associations and front groups.

Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate makes the case that capitalism is not the answer to the global climate crisis, but an obstacle. Its infatuation with growth, consumption, fossil fuels, environmental deregulation and sacrificing the common good for self-interest is the opposite of what needs to be done.

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists are in (peer-reviewed) agreement on global climate change. Predicted weather events (flooding, wildfires, heat waves, etc.) have increased, and the melting of the polar ice caps and permafrost is happening faster than expected. We have no idea what tipping points and feedback loops await us.

Educator and philosopher Paulo Freire is quoted as saying: “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and powerless means to side with the powerful.” The powerless here are our children and grandchildren.


New London

Solid waste operation should not be allowed in Claremont

I am a resident of Claremont concerned about a proposed waste transfer station near Maple Avenue and the Amtrak station at Claremont Junction. American Recycling wants to expand from a small scrap-metal recycling yard on Industrial Boulevard to a major solid waste operation. Tens of thousands of tons of construction and demolition debris would be brought into our city to be dumped on an open-air concrete slab near residential neighborhoods, minimally sorted and loaded for transport to disposal sites. This should not be allowed by the city based on increased traffic and pollution affecting Claremonters’ quality of life.

Our family lives on Maple Avenue. We see the current traffic near the elementary school. A large waste transfer station would add 30-50 trucks a day, a significant increase in the vicinity of Claremont Junction, coming from south, west, north, and from the east through downtown. What kind of dust and hazardous particulates will these trucks, and the operation itself, bring to our neighborhoods where children play? Our children’s school is roughly a quarter of a mile downwind of the proposed site, which abuts a wetland.

The Planning Board should hire an environmental engineer to do an environmental impact study. (The company can be required to pay for this.) A study could look at impacts on roads, traffic, wetlands and the noise and air pollution associated with a large-scale C&D collection and shipping operation. What will the effect be on the value of our homes? Claremont Planning Board, please make the right decision.



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