Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Environmental Policy: Heading for a 'Silent Spring'?

Art Klein, member of the Niagara Group of the Sierra Club, wrote a very interesting article entitled "The Echoes of Rachel Carson – Our Dilemma" in the group's newsletter.

The story begins with Art's recollections of fifty years ago after reading "The Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson. It was the birth of the modern environmental movement. The tale moves through the creation of the EPA, the banning of DDT, the loopholes, and ultimately the undeserved character assassination of Rachel Carson. And then there were the echoes of legitimate insights by citizens about Love Canal, and now the controversial process of hydrofracking. Following each of these environmental and human insults, we see more orchestrated doubts cast on well-intentioned people and groups by business and industry.

Art Klein's story ends with challenges and questions for the Niagara Group, but these merit quoting here since they're ones that all people concerned about the environment and humanity must face:
"Our Sierra challenges are two-fold, and not light. First, we must ensure our own state does not threaten the future of our water by permitting hydrofracking in New York. Second, we must work to ensure our Great Lakes do not become contaminated. Our tasks are mighty and noble, and our resolve cannot be weak. It may not be stylish to urge greater Federal Regulation, but obviously bereft of reasonable and rational controls, we are headed for perilous times. If we fail, how can we justify our greedy exploitation of temporary fuel in exchange for poisoned water wells? What will happen to our fragile water system of the future? What will we tell our children and grandchildren? After fifty years of an inadequate effort to protect the environment and human health, will WE, in this generation, be the ones to create a Silent Spring?"

Art Klein's article is well-worth reading, and you can view it in its entirety on the Sierra Club Niagara Group's website.
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Editorial reflections:
"So extraordinary is Nature with her choicest treasures, spending plant beauty as she spends sunshine, pouring it forth into land and sea, garden and desert. And so the beauty of lilies falls on angels and men, bears and squirrels, wolves and sheep, birds and bees...."
-- John Muir, Founder of the Sierra Club 

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