Letter: The cost of complacency

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Feb. 9 Monitor had an editorial, “Lessons for the world in Cape Town,” that, because of its global perspective, was befitting the Washington Post, or New York Times. For those who missed it, the piece sought to warn readers of the costs of complacency in the face of approaching threats.

Sadly, we live in an age of Internet time, where long range planning consists of deciding where to vacation while on the way to the airport. Hence, when citizens of Cape Town, a city of 4 million people in South Africa, read a newspaper headline stating that the city could run out of water in 17 years, no one worried. Now, 18 years later (with a 1-year reprieve), the city plans to cut water off on May 11. Citizens will need to cope with just a few gallons of water per person, per day.

A rapidly changing climate is the suspected culprit in the Cape Town case, as it is in the increasingly common and costly natural disasters occurring worldwide – from the fires and mudslides of California, to the 50 inches of rain that Hurricane Harvey brought to Texas, and beyond.

What is climate change bringing to New Hampshire? Many things, and few of them good: Warmer, wetter winters, more frost heaves, ticks and woolly adelgid, fewer moose, maples, and days when one can cross country ski, or ice fish or skate on ponds, such as in the Black Ice Pond Hockey tournament.

What’s a responsible citizen to do? Support renewable energy, and a carbon fee and dividend plan.

Roger Shamel