Letters to the Editor: Climate change and an ice-free Arctic are our Frankenstein’s monster

A glacier calves icebergs into a fjord in southeastern Greenland in 2017.
(David Goldman / Associated Press)

To the editor: Coincidentally, your article about the hastened demise of Arctic Ocean sea ice appeared in the print edition the day after I finished rereading a favorite classic, Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein.”

Those who know the tale will remember that it begins as the scientist Victor Frankenstein is chasing his hideous, unnamed creation across giant plains of Arctic ice to avenge the murders of Frankenstein’s family members. Rescued by a passing ship, Frankenstein narrates his story to the captain, revealing his hubris: man’s assumption that he can manipulate nature without tragic consequences.

Frankenstein feels no remorse for unleashing this destructive force on the world, explaining merely that he created the monster while “in a fit of enthusiastic madness.”


Shelly, who wrote the book in 1818, could not have predicted that her setting, which she described as the “everlasting ices of the north,” would eventually be destroyed because of something called fossil fuel emissions. However, she would have had no trouble imagining that our reckless tampering with nature, despite the many signs that we were causing great harm, would catch up with us in a big way.

Just look at the monster we have created.

Sarah Freifeld, Valencia


To the editor: As you say in the print-edition subheadline, this is troubling. It’s not just about the polar bears anymore.

The loss of Arctic sea ice is like the canary in the coal mine. It portends drastic effects on our environment and the environment in which all wildlife lives — where we grow food crops and lumber for buildings, as well as the ocean environment, which is a source of food for much of the world.

That is why the fact that an ice-free Arctic is now inevitable does not mean we should stop trying to fight climate change. This news should act as a call to action to prevent consequences of climate change worse than an ice-free Arctic Ocean.


This is about the habitability of our world. If you don’t think that’s a problem, consider that people are already dying from extreme heat.

Murray Zichlinsky, Long Beach


To the editor: Once again, the most serious issue, climate change, is being mostly ignored in an election year. Despite extreme weather and record-breaking temperatures, it still isn’t making headlines as a “burning” issue for candidates.

Prior to the overturning of Roe vs. Wade in 2022, “pro-life” conservatives dismissed climate change, even though extreme weather kills thousands of people each year. Now, Democrats are focusing on women’s rights as a winning strategy. Meanwhile, Ukraine and Gaza are justifiably making headlines.

If this year becomes another record-breaker for temperatures, extreme weather, wildfires and floods, then maybe voters will decide to choose candidates who take climate change — and thus life itself — seriously.


Michael Wright, Glen Rock, Pa.