, Salem, MA


July 29, 2013

Column: Some good — and bad — environmental news


Now back to the good news. It’s not really that good. The fracking survey results are preliminary, and the study is ongoing. Whatever the final verdict, something tells me it’s not a great idea to explode dangerous chemicals thousands of feet below the earth’s surface. We are doing so not just all over this country, but worldwide. Somehow, somewhere, some way, this is going to come back to harm us in a big way. We need the natural gas because we’re running out of oil. There are too many people straining our planet’s resources to the tipping point.

In the Congo Basin, deforestation may be slowing, but it’s not ending. BBC News reports: “Logging could continue to fall because of schemes such as the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) that offer financial incentives to keep forests intact. But on the other side, the big increase in human population and the rise in living standards globally mean we may need more agricultural commodities ... ‘It could go the other way and go much more like South East Asia or the Amazon and see the expansion of commercial agriculture,’ explained Dr. (Simon) Lewis, (from the University of Leeds and University College London Lewis.)”

One environmental activist told the BBC that despite the reduction in the rate of deforestation, the world’s second-largest rainforest is still losing an area 34 times the size of Manhattan each year. That size continuous loss is unsustainable over time and will destroy the Basin and many of its plant and animal species in the process.

Notice the connection between these stories? Too much demand for and use of raw materials translates into rising global temperatures. This creates a vicious cycle of destruction of precious natural resources on the one hand, and extinction of plant and animal species on the other. I wish more people would notice and there would be more demand to make changes to stem climate change.


Bonnie Erbe, a TV host, writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service. Email

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