Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:
Boston, July 2, Boston Herald on the 19 men who died in a raging wildfire:
In seeking the truest definitions of heroism and bravery we must look immediately to the actions of the 19 men who ran toward a raging wildfire as it devoured the dry Arizona landscape on Sunday — and who will never again return to their families.
These were men as brave as any soldier on a battlefield. As the name implies, this elite squad of “hotshots,” who fight the worst fires that a bolt of lightning and a dry climate can conjure, surely have a bit of the adventurer about them. ...
The nation today is in deep mourning for these 19 men. The loss is almost unspeakable, and yet even now the colleagues of the crew based in Prescott, Ariz. are rushing to the front lines, summoning superhuman strength to meet their duties, while the rest of us whine about the challenge of a traffic jam. …
There are questions that need to be answered; there will and must be an investigation into the mechanics of how an entire company could suffer such a fate, beyond the cruel simplicity of shifting winds. In the same way that past tragedies have led to advances in fighting wildfires, the loss at Yarnell will surely bring similar lessons.
But there will be time for those questions, those lessons, after the mourning is done. For the families and colleagues of those who were lost, of course, that day may never come.
Detroit, June 30, Detroit Free Press on a war on climate change:
Climate change is surely the looming disaster of our time.
Scientists say it’s inevitable that sea levels will rise 2ﾽ-6ﾽ feet — sufficient to endanger or wipe out many cities. One scientist believes that in the long-term, 69 feet of sea level rise is inescapable.
And the source of the swelling oceans — rising temperatures — will stress the nation’s food system, while the increasing number of devastating storms will place an economic burden on a nation reeling from disaster to disaster, patching its wounds without effecting meaningful change.
It’s tempting to dismiss these projections as hysterical. That life as we know it could change so dramatically, so quickly, seems impossible. But on this topic, the scientific community (if not the political one) speaks with one voice.
President Barack Obama delivered a bold proposal for a set of regulatory changes that could turn the U.S. from its headlong rush into disaster. ...
Obama’s willingness to circumnavigate Congress is a regrettable necessity.
In an ideal world, lawmakers would be swayed by the preponderance of scientific evidence, reach consensus and move to enact regulations that protect our environment. But that’s not what has happened. For a legislator to accept that climate change is happening has become a political, not scientific decision.
And while we’re wary of the increasing power of the presidency, what could be a more appropriate use of that power than to turn the country from environmental devastation?