My editorial in our local newspaper:
I was responding to this previous editorial:
Text of my article:
Nov 25, 2022
Some people claim we face imminent societal and environmental collapse, but such false alarmism is destructive for young people who fear for their future. While there are problems in the world (as there always have been), the facts are that the world has never been more prosperous, safe, healthy, and (except for Ukraine) peaceful. As a former university teacher of environmental science and an international traveler, I speak from experience and education.
Everyone needs to recognize that the mainstream media (except the Newport News-Times) and television news shows profit only when they keep viewers/readers in a state of perpetual worry and anxiety by sensationalizing bad news. Their job is to make every problem in the world your problem.
In reality, data from NASA and other scientific groups around the world shows that the planet is greening. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere promotes plant growth, which is why greenhouses pump extra CO2 inside. There is more forestland in the United States now than there was 100 years ago. Fishery and wildlife management maintain healthy populations of species. Pollution of all types has been drastically reduced thanks to market economics, consumer choices, and wise, prudent regulation.
Outside the U.S., similar improvements are occurring. Take China as an example. I worked in China over 20 years ago. In 2019, my wife and I accepted teaching positions at a university in Nanjing, China. The improvements over the 20 years since I had worked there were amazing. The environment was much cleaner; all of the two-wheeled vehicles in the city were electric, as well as public buses and subways and many of the cars. The people throughout China are far more prosperous and happy, with better health and education, than they were 20 years ago. We've seen similar improvements as we've traveled to India, Vietnam, Laos, and other countries. We have also lived in Africa, spent time in most countries of Latin America, Europe and Asia, and everywhere we go the story is the same: cleaner and healthier environment, improving education, health, and prosperity, and more freedom.
My wife and I have also done substitute teaching in the Lincoln County School District. Many young people are alarmed by what they've been told by the media and other influencers, leaving some of the students feeling as though they have no future because "global collapse is looming."
That narrative is simply not true.
Those of us who have lived long enough to see the very real improvements and the advancements in technology that promise even better times ahead owe it to the rising generation to tell them the truth and share the optimism that they deserve — optimism that will help them continue to make the world a better place for all of us, humans and all living creatures, to live in.
Jonathan Neville is a resident of Waldport.