My 4-year-old nephew is learning how to write, and I was at first amused when he recently wrote, unprompted, “The end is here.”

After I stopped laughing, though, I remembered how concerned I’ve been since the election, thinking about what kind of world he’ll grow up in. I started to worry that his words might be true.

I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but recent news has not given me much hope for our future. Consider the cuts the new administration is proposing for the Environmental Protection Agency, as discussed in a recent article by Colin Woodard.

I don’t understand the rationale for this, when it means endangering the water and air that are fundamental necessities for life. Why would anyone want to risk our children breathing smog or drinking unsafe water?

Perhaps those making the decisions have forgotten, or choose to ignore, two crucial truths:

The first is that everything is interconnected. That includes people. We may like to think we’re above the natural world, that the problems impacting other species will bypass us, but it doesn’t work that way. As a recent New York Times op-ed pointed out, sperm quality and counts have decreased, with causal links to environmental factors that mean we might damage our own reproductive ability as we did that of birds in the era of “Silent Spring.”

The second truth is that while we need the Earth, the Earth does not need us. Our beautiful planet existed long before we came on the scene, and it will continue long after we are here to witness its many wonders.

I only hope, for the sake of my nephews and all our children, that enough people will remember these points, recognize the damage we are risking, and act in time to prevent it.

Erica Bartlett

Portland