Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capitalism and climate change
In 2020, 350 coal-fired power plants were under construction around the world. This seems to be the opposite of what our goals should be — limiting fossil fuels to decrease the effects of climate change. Capitalism, or at least the desire for profit, promotes this fossil fuel usage. As an eighth grader at King Middle School, I am angered that many corporations and world leaders are destroying the planet in means of profit. Capitalism is influencing our governments and destroying our climate.
Capitalism makes it almost impossible to pass climate change legislation. From 2000 to 2016, the fossil fuel industry in the United States spent over $2 billion lobbying politicians. Passing a bill that limits carbon pollution is very difficult since many politicians take money from the fossil fuel industry. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the average U.S. representative receives $37,069 from the fossil fuel industry while the average U.S. senator receives around $110,828. Many corporations — especially fossil fuel ones — claim to be taking measures to lower their carbon-footprint, however, this is very far from reality.
The influence of capitalism is damaging our climate. When civilization is driven by profit, things such as the environment can be easily forgotten. As humans, it should be our responsibility to make large corporations more responsible, and think a little more about the money that puts candidates on our ballots.
Collins and voting rights
In explaining her vote against S.1, the For the People Act, Sen. Susan Collins argued that it “would take away the rights of people in each of the 50 states to determine which election rules work best for their citizens.” Like historian Heather Cox Richardson, I find it chilling to hear this kind of argument which was used for over 150 years to enable, as Richardson said, “white southern legislators to cut their Black neighbors out of the vote in the 1870s and then pass Jim Crow laws that lasted for more than 70 years . . . How is it possible to square states’ rights and equality without also protecting the right of all adult citizens to vote?”
States should, of course, determine which election rules work best in their circumstances – but within limits. The federal government has a duty to ensure that the voting rights of all citizens are guaranteed in every state and that the local laws never make it easier for one group to vote than for another. Following her current logic, Collins likely would have been compelled in 1965 to fight the Voting Rights Act that helped end Jim Crow and segregation in Mississippi, Alabama and elsewhere. In this case, she is blocking voting, along with her party, at the expense of being on the right side of history.
Gratitude and giving back
Gratitude for Maine is a non-profit organization that I and two other girls in Maine started. When the pandemic hit last summer, we realized we had to get creative with what we were doing. As summer camp options were limited, we decided to attend a photography camp where we took many beautiful pictures of Maine. However, when we were done with the six-week camp, we wanted something to do with these pictures.
That sparked the idea to create Gratitude for Maine, so children in Maine can have the opportunity to attend summer camp and experience the beauty of our wonderful state. We took these pictures and created calendars and notecards which we sell on our website: gratitudeformaine.com. We’ve raised over $4,000 that we are going to donate to the Susan L. Curtis Foundation. As our days get back to normal, we are dedicated to continuing Gratitude for Maine for years to come.