As the world heats up, minute degree by degree, Taiwan's Nobel
laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (Chemistry Prize, 1986)
says we need to go back to simpler lifestyle and ''slow down''
webposted by Danny Bloom, August 9, 2010
TAIPEI -- Lee Yuan-tseh won the prestigious Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1986,
and someday he might garner another award -- the Nobel Peace Prize --
for his important and heartfelt advice for stopping
global warming in its tracks.
Will future generations face destructive
and life-threatening climate chaos in the distant future? Let's hope
But in order to avert natural disasters and mass migrations in
search of food and fuel on scales unimaginable in the future, Dr Lee
believes the world needs to drastically slow down and dramatically go
back to a simpler lifestyle.
This is not your average wide-eyed climate activist speaking, nor an
end of the world survivalist. It's Lee Yuan-tseh, Nobel laureate from
Taiwan, global thinker and visionary. Born in 1936, the son of a well-known
Taiwanese artist, he's been around the world a few times and has dined with major
players -- and he knows what he's talking about.
In a recent email interview, Dr Lee said he
believes that global warming is much more serious than most scientists
had previously thought and much more serious than the world today is aware of.
He said he believes that Taiwan's 23
million citizens need to cut their per-capita carbon
emissions from the current 12 tons per year to just three, and the
same deep cuts are needed worldwide in all nations, adjusted for size
and population, of course.
Dr Lee said that fighting global warming will take more than a few
slogans, more than turning off the
lights at night in large cities for an hour once a year, and more than
merely cutting meat consumption.
"We will have to learn to live the simple
lives of our ancestors," Lee said.
Without such efforts, he said, Taiwanese will
be unable to face future generations and say they did all they could
to avert climate chaos worldwide. It's not
just a problem in Taiwan, it's a planetary issue, of course.
Will anybody in Taiwan or overseas listen to Dr Lee? For most people
today, his words will go unheeded, if not unheard. But his remarks are
printed here, in visible ink on paper (or with pixels on
a digital screen) in the hope some people will "get it" and work to
make Lee's ideas take root.
A Nobel Peace Prize for Lee Yuan-tseh of Taiwan for his urgent appeal
about how to fight global warming and climate change? It could happen.
His words, and warnings, are heartfelt.
Listen to this man. He's 75 and he cares about the future.
Dr Lee said he likes to quote Charles Darwin who once wrote: "It is
not the strongest
of the species that will survive, or the most intelligent; it is the
ones most adaptable to
Lee believes that time is of the essence. "If the environment changes
faster than the time required for
a given species to
evolve, the likely result will be extinction," he says. "With the fast changing
climate and the rapidly
deteriorating ecosystem of today, the human species [must try] to
slow down environmental change, or a fate of extinction might be inevitable."
"We know what needs to be done," Lee says. "We cannot wait until it is too late.
We cannot wait until what we value most is lost."