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Article published March 2, 2013
Heed nature warnings
Theodore L. Kneupper, Ph.D. Slippery Rock Township
A recent scientific study found that the current rise of global temperatures of 1.5 degrees could release from the Siberian permafrost an additional trillion tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere as early as 2030. That addition would further accelerate climate change, particularly if we continue on the current level of using fossil fuels for energy, like petroleum, coal, fracked gas (which has been found to release large amounts of escaped methane), and tar sands oil that corporate leaders are so bent on extracting and profiting from. We already have been given the serious warnings by nature in terms of extensive droughts, storms and fires that have devastated many parts of the United States and other parts of the planet. I wonder whether the correct name for our species should be Homo sapiens (man being wise) or, simply, “Homo sap” (man fool). Science has made possible the current condition of the planet through the technology it led to. That same science is telling us that our current way is moving toward conditions that very likely will be catastrophic, even possibly leading to our own extinction. The irony is that such a scenario is not necessary. While some are preaching that we are heading to the “end times,” science is warning only that this need not be if we reflect on the consequences of our behavior as individuals, as a nation, and as a species, and act with intelligence that understands how to avoid widespread suffering and possibly even our collective death. By our choices and actions, we will merit either the name “Homo sapiens” or “Homo sap.”