After reading Geoffrey's email, I feel compelled to reply. Please accept my apologies if I have acted inappropriately, but I believe this is a very important issue and as someone involved in air quality research I feel obliged to join in the debate.
There is no doubt that there is a genuine concern about the current state of the environment and the future of the planet. And I am firmly convinced that there is a lot of good-will among ordinary people. But good intentions alone are not sufficient. We cannot cure a disease unless we have a knowledge of medicine, and we cannot guide a ship unless we have a knowledge of navigation. In the same way, we cannot restore the earth's ecological balance unless we have an understanding of the causes and processes causing the environmental crisis.
There are several arguments about the causes of the environmental crisis and the scientific community is divided about these issues. However, there is a general agreement (except among those who have put personal interests over professional ethics) that the earth's is getting warmer as a result of increased greenhouse emission.
We need to look at the real causes of this crisis, and we need a concerted effort at international level, because this is a global crisis, transcending national boundaries.
Our solution should seek to balance the needs of society and the environment. Blaming the crisis on the population explosion does not solve the problem, because it is in my view a very dangerous proposition. If we believe this argument, what would our solution be? Reduce the size of the population? How are we going to achieve this? By killing entire nations? Through mass sterilization of "inferior" people? Why not trying to find new environmentally sustainable technologies? Why do some of the biggest polluters, for example the coal mining sector, has consistently attempted to discredit the scientific findings that the earth is getting warmer?
I believe we need to integrate social, technological and scientific approaches to deal with the crisis. The social component will seek to identify alternatives to satisfy social needs with minimal environmental impacts, for example, through improved public transport services to minimize the dependence on private vehicles; the technical component will explore the available technologies selecting those with the lowest environmental impacts; the scientific component will continue investigating the physical, chemical and biological processes in the environment, monitoring the progress and effectiveness of the applied environmental policies and technologies, and doing more research to stop and even reverse the existing damage to the environment.
Well, this is what I think and I might be probably be wrong. And please once again accept my sincerest apology if I have acted inappropriately by replying to Geoffrey's comments.
Yours in solidarity,