Letter to the Editor: In response to the Chronicle’s environmental coverage

By Letter to the Editor, by Richard Cornell

Glad to see the students on strike about the rapid warming of the planet. But they should have been out there decades ago when it was taught in colleges around the country that⁠, if nothing was done⁠, we as a country would be in trouble as well as the world.

For the students in my era, the 1970s, they had children who all wanted more as consumers. I did too, and slowly the CO2 numbers rose and the planet got slightly warmer each year.

The worst was when China went from being a socialist state to that of a capitalist state, adding coal fire plants so their citizens could have lights in their homes. Then they brought cars and smog to their largest cities. India did the same thing, and built coal-burning plants to run their ever-growing society.

Now, this is a problem the whole world faces. If you shut down fossil fuel plants that make the electric grid, cities like Chicago have brownouts. You can try to set a law that limits the number of children being born to one per family, as done in China.

One way is to limit the amount of electric power a homeowner can have each month to under 100-kilowatts. After that, the power is shut off.

There should also be an increase in the price of gasoline to have drivers pick up the tab of the increase of the planet warming.

A big, heavy tax on any vehicle that runs on any energy should also be applied. Have an added tax to the [public transportation] where all citizens who use the service will either pay the increase or, better yet, ride a bicycle. Homeowners who use gas should also bear the cost of the planet warming up.

Now, when it comes to plastic in any form, let it be known that plastic containers would not be allowed at Columbia; if the students want to help, they must suffer also.

Columbia’s Library would not be needed because tablets can now carry those hard copy books on them. Since it is time that all students would have tablets, those courses that use ancient power-consuming devices should no longer be taught.

Students at Columbia should, for the sake of the planet, cut back on everything as consumers.

That is, if students around the world are really serious about helping the planet. Or, will they follow in their parent’s footsteps and let the next generation fix this mess, as my generation did?

At first, it will be costly, but it will help the planet in the long run. The students should demand that their parents also follow what is right for the planet.

Now, I know some students at Columbia might object to these procedures, but [they are necessary] save the planet unless [students] do not care about old folks or children, who are the first to suffer from what is happening on this planet.


Richard Cornell

Secretary for the International Press of Club Chicago