For the Earth We Should Err on the Side of Caution

RECEIVED Fri., May 18, 2007

Dear Editor,
    In reference to Thomas Laprade's letter to the editor on Global Warming [“Postmarks,” May 18], Mr. Laprade claims that humans are not the cause of global warming based on a single study by the Danish National Space Center. He cites a "series of experiments" conducted by the Danish scientist showing the Earth's temperature fluctuations are caused by the sun and not by the 6.5 billion humans who presently inhabit the quaint little rock we call Earth.
    Well I have two barroom experiments for him. First experiment: Light a cigar. Then take a glass and turn it upside-down. Tip the glass slightly and blow a big puff into the glass. You've just conducted a scaled-down version of a finite volume of atmosphere and the effects of human-generated pollutants on that gas. Did the gas change physically and chemically? What the hell do you think 6.5 billion fossil-fuel-emission-spewing monkeys are doing to the atmosphere? Experiment two: Take a bowl and place a rock in it. Put ice cubes in the bowl. What happens? When the ice melted the rock went underwater. Imagine that rock is any low-lying coastal city in the world. The Danes should be especially sensitive to this concept considering the area of their country protected by dikes.
    It isn't so much that this single scrap of so-called research sounds like another Exxon-funded study. There are hundreds if not thousands of studies, reports, peer-reviewed journal articles, etc, etc, that directly contradict the conclusions of the Danish "research" and attribute the unprecedented rate of change we are presently witnessing to human influence. Perhaps humans should come to the realization that we only have one Earth to live on, and maybe we should err on the side of caution. Unfortunately, humans have historically managed by crisis. This is painfully evident in lack of foresight shown by this state, this country, and nations abroad as people continue to build more coal-fired power plants and burn more and more fossil fuels. I hope we as a species can pull our collective heads from our asses. Enjoy your cigar.
Christopher Ringstaff
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