Mary Hayden Hall: People and the planet

  • A group of refugees walk on the railway tracks after crossing from Serbia, in Roszke, Hungary, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. AP FILE PHOTO/DARKO BANDIC

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Every human life is precious. And that is why it is so very tragic that so many people subsist in unbearable conditions. Just yesterday, I listened to a story on public radio about Nigeria, where it seems most everyone is trying to leave the country. And where will Nigerians want to go? Perhaps to Europe, where constant pressures of people wanting to come in from Africa and Asia are pushing public opinion to embrace right-wing extremist thinking. Perhaps to the United States, where already so many of our citizens cannot afford a place to live. The biologist E.O. Wilson wrote that, to maintain life systems as we have known them on Earth, it is necessary for us to preserve half of the planet undisturbed by human exploitation. I wholeheartedly agree, global warming is not the fault of people in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia who have minimal carbon emissions per capita. And addressing the unfolding climate breakdown through democratic means can seem next to impossible. Nevertheless, I affirm we need to maintain democracy as much as possible, throughout the world; and I affirm the wisdom of E.O. Wilson’s saying that, for life as we know it now to be viable into the future, we must maintain half the planet without people in it.

Mary Hayden Hall

South Hadley