Green Debate Continues

CW's monthly Green Wakes column has generated plenty of reader response. Follow the ongoing conversation here.

Sail Green Problem Solvers

I enjoy and appreciate the geen articles in your magazine. I also hope to enjoy a restored planet in which I can show my grandkids colorful coral reefs, now increasing in danger of bleaching by AGW (acidification). Equally important are travel articles to those Island Nations who are also threatened by AGW (sea level rise). Please don’t listen to the uneducated minority like subscribers John Taylor and Roger A. Arrowhead.

They believe the “scientific consensus” is totally political, yet the science is quite clear. It is the consensus scientists that have the satellites, mass-spectrometers, bathyspheres, and research vessels and are traveling to all corners of Earth conducting research. Those who frame the issue as uncertain or debate its causes are blind to the facts. Even mentioning the natural cycles, which are measured in tens of thousands of years, when we’ve seen CO2 levels double in the last 200 years, is childishly naive. Then there are the simple observable factors, which have occurred within the last several decades: melting polar caps, retreating glaciers, increasing hurricane intensities. Heck, in the last decade it’s become possible to traverse the Northwest Passage in a fiberglass sailboat, as was done this year, solo, in a 27-footer by Matt Rutherford.

Collectively, we, the humans inhabiting this planet, have burned the fossil fuels and cut down the forests, which have contributed to AGW, and it's us, collectively, who need to mitigate it. While I find it hard to understand those opposed to believing it, (do they not have children?) they shouldn't be the ones controlling the conversation. Please continue to present in Cruising World all the content that contributes to a safer and healthier ocean.
Mark Trainor
via email

I’m glad you published the two mails from John Taylor and Roger A. Arrowood. The former as an example of irrational deniers, where he claims climate scientists should welcome debate whilst at the same time describing most of their views as “bogus” and “political garbage” and threatening to cancel his subscription as a result of an excellent article. Roger Arrowood on the other hand is somebody I would describe as a “rational skeptic” and it’s to him my response is aimed.

Roger, everything you say about climate change and extinctions over the ages is correct. What you ignore however, is that the rate of climate change now being experienced is, as far as science can tell, unprecedented in Earth’s history. If this is true, and of course there is a margin for error, it will lead to one of the biggest extinction events ever, and be a direct threat to our own survival. This is because rapid change does not allow enough time for evolution to adapt.

I would also suggest that the science makes it increasingly improbable that man's activities are not the cause. Not impossible, just improbable. I would therefore suggest that we have to go with the odds, and assume it is us, and therefore change the way we operate as quickly as possible to lessen the effects. If it turns out that it had nothing to do with us, well, at least we will have extended the use of our precious and irreplaceable fossil fuel resources. Frankly however, we are almost certainly facing massive changes. People like John are just too afraid to face it, and so rail and rage at those whose words threaten their sense of security.
Arni Highfield
Hong Kong

I don't subscribe to Cruising World to read about someone's theory about climate change and who caused it. I do read CW to be entertained and learn more about sailing and boating. Letters like the one from Jim Fenwood in the July 2012 issue don't belong in CW. CW should be a magazine about sailboats and sailors. The presentation of a strong opinion about climate change whose purpose seems to be to insult those that refuse to accept his theory shouldn't be in CW.
The difficulty with climate change is that facts and truths, and those willing to present scientific proof, are often ostracized by extremists on both ends of the political spectrum more interested in grinding their own axes than accurately informing the American people.

Please, keep Cruising World navigating in the world of sailing and cruising, not within the political spectrum of the climate-change argument.
Jack Weisinger
s/v Tumbleweed
Recluse, WY

Your green editorial, it felt like a breath of fresh, grounded air. At last, an editor who is paying attention and considers climatic change worth mentioning! Your magazine gained credibility instantly. So of course I was chagrined, in subsequent months, to read opposite reactions from other readers. I'm a "religious zealot" because I seriously consider massive amounts of irrefutable data on top of my own observations? But so be it. Anyone can say they don't believe in Sundays, but Sundays still keep happening.
Katya Gordon
Two Harbors, MN

In response to the anti global-warming letters (April 2012), I would point out that scientists have welcomed debate on the subject, it's just that most of the debate is finished, and the inescapable conclusion is that mankind is having a very strong influence on our climate. That’s what the “scientific method” is: data is published, reviewed by peers, alternative viewpoints are considered, explored, etc. Just because the conclusion is inconvenient doesn’t mean that it’s incorrect.

The data is clear, and the science explains the data: 200 years of releasing carbon into the atmosphere that was sequestered over millions of years is having a significant impact on our present climate.

It's true that Earth has gone through lots of natural periods of warming and cooling before humans even walked on the planet. They just didn't happen this fast. We ignore science at our peril.
Frank John
Brooklin, ME