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Response to column irresponsible, 'asinine'

By Stephanie Morgan
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 2, 1999
Talk about this story

To the editor,

Although I did not read Ashley Weaver's letter, I feel obligated to reply to Mr. Green's letter on Tuesday. First of all Mr. Green, I am embarrassed by your faulty and poorly constructed argument. As a senior at such a fine Research I university, I would expect you to be able to craft a more effective argument. First, where is your pathos Mr. Green? I'd be more likely to swallow your points if you could site the sources for some of the "scientific" facts you used to defend your asinine assertions. Second, I was never told that such inflated sarcasm was an effective tool to develop ethos, but that is presumably what your intentions were. Lastly, I fail to see the logos of your argument. You make no valid point, supported by unfounded allegations and site your faith alone as credentials for your expertise on such complex, global issues as global warming. Now let me refute some of your facts.

First, overpopulation is relative. It is true that fertility rates have dropped worldwide; however, in densely populated countries, high populations are largely responsible for slow economic development and the perpetuation of poverty. But as long as we are well enough off in developed countries then, surely it is not a global problem, as we do not belong to a global economy. Agriculture cannot keep up with rising populations in many third world nations. (We add a new city of Los Angeles to the world every two weeks). Developing country governments rely largely on foreign aid, and exploitation of natural resources in these nations is necessary for survival on a macro and household level. And as you may know, it is upon these natural resources which human beings depend for their continued survival.

Secondly grain production cannot be increased at will. This is the fallacy of all fallacies. As a graduate student studying agricultural economics, I can assure you that you have no comprehension of the state of world agriculture or agriculture in developing nations. It is true that in the United States we produce surpluses of some commodities. However, it is not an issue of not enough food, it is an issue of allocation. "Dumping," as it is referred to, (charitable food provisions to developing counties) has a large affect on the agriculture economy of those nations, and undermines their agriculture industries, thus making unstable the livelihoods of the people we are often trying to aid. Food allocation is actually the subject of thousands of Ph.D. dissertations. But they need not research any longer because "grain production can be increased at will."

Global warming is not a myth. Scientists estimate that over the last 140 years average global temperatures have risen approximately .6 degrees Celsius. The implications of this are ominous-climate change, decreased agricultural productivity due to drought, rising oceans, etc. Check out the Center of Study for Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. With increased industrialization in third world countries, coupled with population growth, carbon levels in the atmosphere will continue to rise. And as for trees loving Carbon, this is irrelevant. You would probably love to know that the largest carbon storage sinks on the planet are actually the oceans. And believe it or not there is some speculation that the effect of plants on atmospheric carbon levels is so negligible that cutting all tropical forests would have no significant impact on global warming.

Lastly erosion is a natural process - one that has been accelerated by ten times its natural rate by poor land management practices, and the farming of marginal lands. By the way, this will occur more and more in developing nations, you know the ones with out population problems, and thus further affect their ability to meet food demands.

And as for public education, Mr. Green, you are the perfect example of where it went wrong at the university level.

Stephanie Morgan

Agricultural and Resource Economics Graduate

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