Planting trees whose fruit no one will want

Dear Editor,

Recently there have been some letters concerning global warming and the probability that human activity, particularly in the form of CO2 production is the cause of much of the warming. While cyclical sun spot activity may give humans a temporary reprieve from the heating, in the long run, the high CO2 levels will remain ready to turn up the heat. Another problem is that the oceans absorb some of the elevated CO2 and in so doing produce acid. This increased acid level affects many ocean creatures’ ability to live and reproduce. Once humans have killed or severely damaged the ocean life, much of the world’s population will lose its source of food. It will take eons for Earth to repair its living systems, if ever.

We humans are wonderful creatures-I think of William Shakespeare’s, “What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!” We are also selfish and short-sighted creatures-we live for today and don’t much worry about tomorrow. Our lives are short in the larger scheme of things. We don’t much think about people who will live or might live a thousand years from now.

We sit in our cars with the engine running so that we won’t be a little too warm or a little too cool. We leave the engine running when we run into the store to grab some milk. There seems to be little awareness of the impending global catastrophe that we will never see. But somebody’s children will see it.

I am reminded of the story of farmers planting trees that that will never bear fruit in their lifetimes-they plant for the people who will be long after they are gone. I am afraid that we are planting a different kind of tree, one that will bear a fruit that no one will want.

Rob Thompson