Kind and generous words
Thank you to the BDN for reprinting the New York Sun’s letter to Virginia. Kind and generous words make magic while the other kind do the opposite. There has been enough of the latter lately. Hooray for feel-good editorials in the holidays.
Mary Louis Davitt
Protect Maine’s wild lands
I am a Registered Maine Guide, age 74. I accompanied a Lubec hunter in October 2018 driving through Maine’s western mountains, an area the man knew from times he and his father hunted within the spectacular Bigelow range territory 50 years ago. The terrain was lightly dusted with snow, which highlighted the white feeder and service roads that scarred the deciduous and evergreen forest to the ridges that supported wind turbines. A hunter from Massachusetts commented about the network of lines and turbines: warning that we shouldn’t develop more here, and that we might ask how come Cape Cod doesn’t allow the turbines in its backyard.
A “not in my backyard” mentality seems to make Massachusetts try to exploit other states to take the hit. We should not permit more access through wild lands. New Hampshire didn’t want the power lines connecting Canada. Why should we? The so-called benefits described are not good enough to ruin the locals’ environment.
Karen Anne Baldauski
Human discourse is in tatters
If the opioid crisis is killing people in Maine, the meme culture of irrationality (created in part by social media) is destroying normal human discourse. Giants in the social media such as Facebook and Google profit from collecting the user’s data and exploiting the intelligence that results in so-called surveillance capitalism. These data are the goods sold that make a profit for social media companies.
We are being transformed into behaviorists: our human freedom is programmable, so rationality is in the eye of the programmer — pausing not at all for reflection, deliberation, or conversation. President Donald Trump treats us with tweets that give us all of the memes, allowing us to go on with our unreflective lives on autopilot. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have reshaped the political sphere. It now contains only two hemispheres: the bad and the good. The separation between truth and falsity is eradicated and half-truths, so long as these are repeated by a leader again and again, gain ground.
Reason, evidence and facts are no longer important. The rules of citizenship are in tatters; temporarily torn to shreds by Trump.
Some good climate news
There’s good news on climate you might not read elsewhere: The Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends outlines a plan for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by pricing carbon fuels, returning the proceeds equitably to every household. More than 3,500 U.S. economists have signed it.
There are now no fewer than seven carbon pricing bills being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives. Four are bipartisan. The first and favorite is H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, with 75 co-sponsors.
An independent study by Columbia University showed that, by enacting H.R. 763 soon, current U.S. commitments to the Paris climate agreement will be exceeded by 2030.
In the Senate, Sen. Angus King co-founded the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. Sen. Susan Collins is working on other climate change bills, including the BEST Act, to focus on energy storage research, which is so necessary for solar and wind electricity generation.
Republican members of Congress are showing interest. This follows a Conservative poll showing that 75 percent of Republican voters under 40 want climate action in Congress.
At the climate conference in Madrid, the U.N. secretary-general said that the world only lacks the political will to mitigate climate change. What can you do to build political will in Congress? You can contact your representatives through the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. It’s easy. Your effort makes a difference.