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Volume 15, Issue 16 ~ April 19 - April 25, 2007


On Earth Day, Bay Weekly’s Birthday,

We Take Stock of a Changing World

Birthdays are the time for taking stock, for looking at our changing selves and our changing world.

Bay Weekly turns 14 on April 22, Earth Day, and we celebrate the birthday in this 697th issue (we started out fortnightly for nine months, if you’re counting issues).

We’ve been rereading those early issues, preparing them to go on-line; in fact, we’ve just closed the Earth Day issue of 1994. The stories were great, full of enterprise and imagination; we hope we’ll be just as pleased when we look back at this issue 13 or 14 years hence, in, say 2020.

In other ways, our old issues makes us laugh, as if we’d caught a glimpse of ourselves wearing out-of-date clothes we once thought so fashionable. Of course this paper you’re reading — with its crisp newsprint, its reader-friendly design and pages of color — is the height of 21st century journalistic fashion.

Change is slow and steady, a trip through those old issues tells us. We’re still on the course we set 14 year ago, but even since our 13th birthday, we’ve made more changes than we can count on all our fingers and toes.

So has the world around us.

The threats to our planet from global warming mean the world of the future is likely to be a far different place.

The 2,000 scientists who issued the most authoritative scientific report in history last week warned that danger lies ahead: punishing heat waves; floods; hurricanes; increasing hunger; water shortages; mass extinction of plants and animals.

All of this catastrophe is possible this century, if not probable, due to the polluting gases from our automobiles and industries, concentrating in the atmosphere and turning the earth ever warmer. As glaciers melt, our oceans are rising and our weather changing, upsetting the balance nature has achieved over eons.

With the huge, river- and stream-filled Chesapeake basin, we almost certainly will feel the effects of rising waters. Indeed, coastal dwellers already are feeling the heat, with hurricanes and the declaration by Allstate Insurance Co. that no new homeowner policies will be written in floodable areas.

In this anniversary issue, Carrie Madren explains how Annapolis, Anne Arundel County and citizens groups are stepping up to the plate.

We must hope — make that believe — that we haven’t gone beyond the tipping point already. What we must do now is make the small changes that, collectively, add up our power — and push our federal government — to forestall disaster.

That’s the bad news on Earth Day 2007. The good news is that we’ve finally — everybody but the paid debunkers — pulled our heads out of the sand.

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