To avoid environmental catastrophe, we must change our thinking: Letter to the Editor

Tomorrow, August 6, is the 70th anniversary of the first use of radioactive weaponry in Hiroshima, Japan by the United States of America. My reflections on visiting Hiroshima for the 40th anniversary…and now.



To avoid environmental catastrophe, we must change our thinking: Letter to the Editor
Other Voices By Other Voices
on August 04, 2015

Einstein’s statement, “[t]he splitting of the atom changed everything, save man’s mode of thinking. Thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe” was on my mind while attending the annual observance of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima 30 years ago on Aug. 6. It still is.

Then, it meant inevitable nuclear holocaust unless human social advancements kept pace with technological advancements — which has barely occurred. Now it means something even larger: to question all technological prowess as automatically “progress.” Technologies not only have benefits, but costs — political, economic, social, psychological, environmental.

Homage to technology has blinded us, for example, to the colossal environmental costs of plundering the planet to produce things we all enjoy while spewing toxins into the land, seas and air. We have focused only on the resulting gains, but have ignored the pains – pushing them off on other people, places or generations. We have come to accept that we can have endless more — exponential growth of literally everything while living on a finite planet.

However, nature bats last. It has its own rules. It can’t be propagandized, distracted, ignored, threatened or jailed. Changing our “mode of thinking” isn’t an option, but essential to avoid environmental “unparalleled catastrophe.”

Greg Coleridge
Cleveland Heights


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