Truth. Most of us seek the truth. At least we say we seek the truth. But, truth be told, there are truths we choose not to see or hear.

I’ve been aware for years of one such truth. And that is the indisputable fact of the impossibility of continued global growth. Here I’ll discuss only two of the many alarming subsets of continued growth.

Highest on the list without question must be fossil fuel. We continue to scour the earth for any resource that will keep our fossil fuel economy growing. The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest ruling in early June to reduce coal-burning power plant emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030 has created a firestorm of resistance. Politicians from both sides of the aisle in states such as Kentucky and Virginia where many jobs are created at the coal-fired plants say, “coal keeps the lights on…” and “puts food on our table.”

Meanwhile Dr. James Hansen, the world’s most respected climatologist, has this dire warning: “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted, Paleoclimate evidence, and ongoing climate change suggests that CO2 will need to be reduced from the current 400 ppm to at most 350 ppm.

Biodiversity would be my next focus. The journal “Science” reported recently that “human activity has driven current rates of species extinction to 1,000 times the natural rate, and should be a clarion call to work toward greater conservation efforts.”

Windham, Maine, is a microcosm of the global picture. In what ways is Windham facing these facts of continued global growth?

For starters, we have a bus now running between Naples and Portland that helps in a tiny way the issue of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. People in the Lakes Region are very proud of the water quality of their lakes. There is ongoing work in that area. There is the work to prevent milfoil invasion or to clean up the lakes that are already infested.

There are many dedicated volunteers who spend untold hours during the summer identifying the plants in their lakes. This information is extremely important as it serves as a baseline for what plants are there any particular month and year.

As individuals, we are stumbling forward into the unknown. We can, at least, be educated to these truths and question our future.

Sally Breen lives in Windham.


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