Threats growing graver

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The past week’s news, at both state and global levels, highlights the cost that human industry has imposed on the environment and just how difficult it is to slow, let alone reverse the damage. The problem seems to be that too many people either don’t understand, don’t care or don’t believe the threats faced by this planet and its people.

A traditional divide — between liberals more concerned about environmental protection and conservatives more concerned about property rights and supporting businesses — has widened into a gulf.

When Americans in the 1950s and 1960s looked around and saw how polluted the air, water and land had become, protecting the environment seemed a common-sense apolitical endeavor. The next decades brought bipartisan triumphs including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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(…) How did protecting the environment become such a partisan issue? How did we arrive at a point where many on the right are willing to dismiss the warnings of scientists as part of a dishonest political scheme?

In Ohio, scientists know that much of western Lake Erie turns green from algae pollution in the summer because of excess phosphorus and that more than 85 percent of that phosphorus is washed into the lake from farm fields. Yet, after many years of study and talk, Ohio has almost no regulations requiring farmers to limit phosphorus runoff from their fields.

(…) Ohio and the world face urgent threats from climate change and environmental degradation. The danger is greater because too many politicians, especially Republicans, refuse to acknowledge the perils, and President Donald Trump’s contempt for science and regulation has made the danger far greater. We need leaders who will reject ignorance and stand up for the future.

— The Columbus Dispatch