Readers write: Glacier memories, climate change and fossils, and Latin nouns

Why We Wrote This

Letters to the editor for the August 5, 2019 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
See what readers shared in the Aug. 5 issue.

Glacier memories

One of my favorite vacation memories is driving Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road with a carful of friends. So I was instantly struck by the July 22 Monitor Weekly article “Glacier National Park ... without glaciers?

If, as correspondent Doug Struck suggests, the glaciers’ legacy is up to park visitors, let us hope the fast-dwindling ice fields become the “nettlesome symbol” of what we’ve lost, “pricking our conscience as did the once-dying bald eagle and motivating action.” 

Perhaps that will lead us to stop the retreat and restore the glaciers as a key link in the mountain ecosystem. As park visitors and citizens, we must face climate realities.

Alan Willis
Portland, Oregon

Climate change and fossils

I was disappointed to read the June 24 Monitor Weekly article “How T. rex can make you think about the future,” which reviewed the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s new fossil hall. 

It was fine to learn of this impressive presentation of fossil remains of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. But to connect it to a questioning of the speed with which most scientists say climate change is happening misses the point.

The past climate changes the hall describes came about from totally natural causes. The present climate change that scientists are warning about is brought about by man-made carbon emissions. It is drastically faster and leaves mankind little time to remove carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere.

Donna Mummery
Whanganui, New Zealand

Latin nouns

Thank you to Melissa Mohr for the very clear explanation of some commonly used Latin nouns in the June 24 “In a Word” column, “Confused by plural nouns? Blame Latin.” I found myself mentally rehearsing the alumnus/alumni categories because I think I finally understand the different uses!

I do wonder about one of my favorite TV space androids. Is he a collection of advanced technologies, or shall I start thinking of this singular fellow as Datum?

Suzanne Montgomery
Spokane, Washington

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