Issue One: The environment

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Climate crisis

Many thanks to the Post-Gazette for highlighting the issue of human-caused, global climate change ("Change Is Coming," Aug. 21 editorial). It's crucial for Pittsburghers and people around the world to understand that human activities are radically altering the climatic conditions that nurture human development. While "global warming" might carry an innocuous connotation, unprecedented increases in atmospheric and ocean temperatures during recent decades have drastically altered the planet's natural process of climatic change.

Human activities are driving the global climate toward an ice-free state not seen for millions of years prior to the dawn of Homo sapiens. The long-term effects of rising sea levels, ocean acidification and increasingly capricious weather patterns are creating a world hostile to human prosperity and survival.

While the worst climate effects might not occur within our own lifetimes, this hardly represents an excuse for ignoring what the world's leading climate scientists have dubbed a "planetary emergency." As suggested by the Post-Gazette's timely editorial, we must pay attention to this issue now and begin to act immediately.

WILLIAM S. DUNDAS
Jefferson Hills




Poisoning Earth

Lots of "invasive species" are moving into the woods and waters of Pennsylvania. It seems the only thing that can stop the spread of some of these things is deep-well fracking. Apparently this can make the water so toxic that nothing can live in it. Once enough wells leak toxins into the ground water, the spread of invasive species should come to a halt. I fear this is not far down the road, and those handing out permits know it also.

Everyone suspects that the ground water in Pennsylvania is at risk and the companies keep paying the settlements. They are throwing 100 years of progress down the drain. I guess freedom from energy dependence on foreign oil is worth it. Only a couple of states will be less livable for all that independence.

These are the new wells that are leaking. Wait 50 years and see how many leak poison into the soil. I fear it will make the rivers of the 1950s seem pristine. We might not need to worry about attacks from foreign extremists. The water we drink and bathe in is being poisoned while we sit and watch.

The oil companies pump chemicals into the Earth, releasing to the surface things better left down there. The long-term effects of this can't even be guessed at. I am beginning to like the sound of "invasive species," given a choice.

DANIEL BUTTS SR.
Plum




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