Editor’s note: This was written in response to our editorial in Sunday’s Mail Tribune.
I applaud the Editorial Board of the Mail Tribune for the front-page editorial entitled “A call to action for clean air.” However, the accompanying article entitled “Congress fiddles while forests burn” is replete with policy statements and suggested forest management approaches that clearly epitomize why it will prove difficult to make any meaningful changes in improving our environment.
One of “our community leaders” who was quoted in the article stated, “we didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we’re not going to get out of it overnight,” but he immediately contradicted himself by suggesting adopting the same old “answers” offered by industry lobbyists that have led to our current dilemma.
He is not alone. For his part, Congressman Greg Walden simply parroted the continued use of industry lobbyists’ adopted policies and practices. He and our other elected officials have not provided the leadership necessary for all parties to come together and work toward the adoption of new approaches to save our once beautiful environment.
According to scientists, it’s going to take a long time to improve the environment that we’ve either negligently or deliberately damaged through our poor past practices. They’ve suggested some of the steps necessary to improve our situation, and the sooner we get started addressing these steps, the sooner we’ll make some progress toward improving our situation. This will require us to understand what Albert Einstein once stated, “that … we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Climate change is real, and unless our so-called “community leaders” understand this fact and lead with this knowledge, we will continue to experience our current wildfire problems. We all need to work together, but to do so requires demonstrated leadership instead of blind or deliberate adherence to quick fixes and failed forest management policies of the past.
Harry Foster lives in Medford.