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Whose planet is this?

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To the editor:

At times in these pages, writers seemingly think that humanity is powerless to overwhelm the forces of nature. Just consider, however, that vast tracts of land surfaces have been measured, drawn and quartered, assigned to various human interests and consequently ditched, drained, diked, dammed and variously engineered.

Many populations of wild animals exist only by human management, designation and decree. Countless species, artifacts of God’s imagination, have disappeared entirely. Deserts have appeared where forests or lakes once were. Even here in Minnesota our practices are resulting in the discomfiting dwindling of sassy red-headed woodpeckers, fading out the flute notes of western meadowlarks and ending the summer profusion of monarch butterflies.

So much (and there is more) for the land! In the increasingly acidic oceans, there are dead zones, gyres of trash and yet more threatened life forms. Considering all, could humankind be so powerless to affect the thin veil of gases surrounding us? Possibly, we are the signature force on the planet.

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