Opinion: New Marion projects should be environmentally friendly

May 2, 2022

To the Editor, 

During the Holocene epoch, which stretched out over 12,000 years, until the 20th century, temperature, precipitation patterns, and terrestrial and ocean ecosystems settled into a “sweet spot” conducive to human propagation and well-being. That environmental stability allowed the human species to thrive. We could have continued in that Holocene geological epoch, but we did not. 

Our post-Industrial lifestyles ushered in the Anthropocene era with the unbridled use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. These lifestyle choices damaged our ecological systems, resulting in extreme weather events of increasing frequency and intensity over the entire planet: floods, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes.  

In the course of the last 50 years, the populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have declined by 60 percent. “We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff,” says Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at World Wildlife Fund. “If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China, and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.” 

For too long, climate change has been misjudged as an environmental issue affecting the survival of the planet. But the planet will survive and continue to evolve as it has for 4.5 billion years. The question is whether humanity will be here to witness its evolution. 

The Town of Marion is evolving too. Plans are underway for a new Marine Center and DPW facility and two new housing developments. I hope the town administration and residents remember the talk and the walk must go hand-in-hand in terms of effective emission reduction. We must abandon fossil fuels entirely and act in proportion to the magnitude of the climate change emergency, by using 100 percent green energy to assure humanity’s survival.  

Eileen J. Marum