Letter to the Editor

Critical issues face the U.S.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Elections for the next 20 years are going to be among the most crucial in human history. Why? Because many complex factors are currently interacting to bring about severe decline -- possibly collapse -- of civilization as we've recently known it. In the U.S., Congressional polarization and gridlock continue to render the nation impotent in addressing many worsening conditions.

Some of the most important factors currently merging to wreak havoc on mankind's industrial-technological civilization include overpopulation, resource depletion, economic downturn and many kinds of environmental degradation. There are simply too many of us consuming too many resources and generating too much pollution and other environmental damage.

A recent biodiversity conference in Japan estimated that about 20 percent -- one out of five -- species of mammals, birds and amphibians on Earth are now endangered because of climate change, habitat loss and other human-caused environmental degradation. In October, the National Center for Atmospheric Research released a dire review of global warming that projects recurrent, severe to extreme drought and heat waves for much of the western two thirds of the U.S. for 2030-2039 and beyond.

During the last decade, Republicans and Democrats have become increasingly polarized when it comes to environmental issues: Most Republicans tend to be overly pro-business and anti-environment while most Democrats tend to be more moderately pro-business and pro-environment.

How we vote in coming elections may very well determine just how close to the brink of serious decline, or collapse, our nation and world gets.

J.D. VAUGHN, Dexter, Mo.