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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1804
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
AB, T1J 3Z7 

Energy essential to ecosystem

Dear Editor: 

David Suzuki has inspired me to review the United Nations sponsored “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment” (“Under UN report’s grim words beats a message of hope, change”, 05/04/10, A4) I find the report confused and conflicted.  

Two thousand expert authors and reviewers do make a few salient points. They note that continuing improvements in efficiency of the use of ecosystem resources have been outpaced by population growth and consumption leading to an increase in total energy and material consumption (pp. 116). They then recommend that – guess what – we improve energy efficiency and work toward using expensive renewable energy derived from the sun’s energy as the solution to the alleged ecosystem crisis (pp. 162). That seems a move back to the not so distant past when humans were little more than   a renewable energy source for large carnivores. 

Two thousand contributors have missed the point that it is the human ability to make productive use of energy that supports our growing numbers. Even more energy will be needed to expand food production and resource recovery to bring a fulfilling life to all, while maintaining and even enhancing the overall ecosystem. We may be using up the fossil fuels which have enabled our recent rapid growth; however human ingenuity in the recovery of energy has barely been tapped. We now have a basic understanding of nuclear fission.  That knowledge can be developed to achieve a sustainable energy source for many millennia.  

The United Nations has taken the lead to expand the use of nuclear energy around the world, and has been quite effective in that. It is unfortunate that their “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment” report overlooks the fundamental importance of human energy use within the overall ecosystem. It does not even mention the potential for nuclear energy to extend human hope and prosperity over many future generations. 

Yours truly,  

Duane Pendergast


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