LETTERS

Friday, Feb. 10, 2012: Climate change, health care and wealth

Posted Feb. 09, 2012, at 11:38 a.m.

Let’s welcome jobs

I attended the DCP presentation on Jan. 26 at Union Hall in Searsport and was astounded by the passion from people on both sides of this issue.

On one side was DCP, which organized the meeting to address the town’s concerns about the proposed storage tanks at Mack Point. Several of DCP’s officers showed up to answer any questions the audience had. They stayed for an hour and a half longer than they were scheduled and seemed passionate not only about their needs but also the needs of the residents of Searsport.

On the other side were those who oppose the storage tanks. During one point in the meeting an audience member claimed the size of the tanks was an optical illusion. Others asked whether the presence of DCP storage tanks would drive away local businesses and accused DCP of paying residents $100 dollars a day to approach neighbors and persuade them to oppose the upcoming moratorium vote.

In this political climate, we don’t need this type of fear-mongering. We need more companies like DCP that are willing to help communities and create quality jobs. If we really want Maine to be open for business, why are we trying to keep good companies like DCP away?

Chris Tucker

Winterport

Carbon challenge time

Cheers for Kathryn Olmstead’s Feb. 2 column reporting on Bill McKibben’s visit to Maine in January. Those of us who were at his lecture or saw him speak online in Maine libraries were humbled by the information he provided, by his passion for raising understanding of the real and immediate issues of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and by his sense of hope implicit in knowing it is not too late to achieve the carbon atmosphere goal of 350 parts per million or less.

Bill is the founder of 350.org, a website which focuses on the need to reduce our carbon footprint in the atmosphere from 392 ppm (current) to an Earth-sustaining 350 ppm to reverse global warming. Thousands of people around the world demonstrated their commitment to this goal on October 24, 2009, placing themselves among others to form the numbers “350″ and photograph their statements for the world community. The Boston Globe said in 2010 that Bill was “probably the country’s most important environmentalist.”

This spring, Bill will return to Maine as the featured speaker at the HOPE Festival, a free festival sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine and dedicated to celebrating our connections to each other and the Earth. Mark your calendars and plan to attend the festival 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 21, at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center, University of Maine.

350 ppm — because the earth demands it.

Katherine Carter

Hampden

Obamacare works

As a Democrat and liberal, I was disappointed in the Obama administration’s “overhaul” of health insurance. I had been envisioning universal health care for all and a reduction in the cost of both health care and medical insurance, and felt that the president and Congress simply weren’t listening to what the people want and need. However, I came to realize the value of the changes enacted recently, when my 18-year-old daughter moved to UMaine.

She has had a variety of medical issues that would not have been covered by health insurance just several years ago, because as an 18-year-old, she would have been looking for a health care policy when she was young and had “pre-existing conditions.” Thanks to the changes in health insurance that were enacted by the Obama administration, she is still covered by our health insurance and is able to receive the medical care she needs instead of trying to afford either coverage or treatment on the income of a college student.

Although I thought the enacted health care reform was inadequate, I realize now that it has some very valuable components. While falling short of the universal coverage and cost controls I feel are necessary, these changes undertaken by President Obama and the Democratic Party were a strong step in the right direction, and I will continue to support the president in his bid for re-election.

Lee Bickerstaff

Orono

Blessed are the poor

For years, I had wished to have the wealth and riches of the American elite, to never have to worry about making rent or the choice between food and heat, perhaps to even have everything I ever wanted at any time.

In the last few years however, while my “poor” family is healthy and happy, I’ve seen Hollywood and Washington leaders caught up in scandal through infidelity, drug abuse, corruption, lies and deceit. Their wealth has not made them better people or made their lives better.

We were even told that former Gov. Romney doesn’t worry about the poor. There has been uproar over this, but as one of those poor people, I must say that I don’t blame him. We’ve proven our resilience and our strength. Our daily trials and tribulations prove to us and to God that we are survivors.

Thus, I no longer envy the wealthy and powerful. I pity them. Their power has made them bitter, their money has made them weak. While the poor can maintain joy and happiness even as they face an unrelenting gale, the wealthy seem to collapse at even the weakest of breezes.

My bank account would tell you that I’m poor, but I’d like Romney, Gingrich, Buffet and Gates to know this: there is nothing you have that could make me a better, happier person, and for that, I am far richer and stronger than any of you.

Eric S. Taylor

Bucksport

Responsible for me

Dr. Schlaerth’s article about “report cards” for health care providers (Feb. 3 BDN OpEd, “Prescription with side effects”) clearly points out the lack of patient responsibility in our country. Patients need report cards too. Many of us expect to have our medical problems cured by surgery or mediation, and refuse to change our lifestyle habits or participate in the process of staying well.

The vast majority of conditions for which patients are treated are preventable if we would only take responsibility for our own behavior. As a professional health insurance consultant and certified employee benefit specialist I can attest to the fact that the high cost of health insurance is directly related to our lifestyle choices and our desire to have someone else fix our bodies rather than working harder to take care of ourselves.

As for myself, it’s my body and I’m responsible for keeping it in optimum working condition — even when that’s not easy, convenient or pleasurable.

Maureen Hedges

Winterport

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