President Obama’s nuclear energy strategy is disastrous.

In “Small is Beautiful,” British economist E.F. Schumacher warned: “Ionising radiation has become the most serious agent of pollution and greatest threat to man’s survival on Earth.”

1. Carbon-14 has a half life of 5,900 years, which is how long its radioactivity declines to half of what it was.

2. No place on Earth is safe for radioactive nuclear plant waste. Wherever there is life, radioactive substances are absorbed into the biologic cycle.

Insurance companies whose business is to judge hazards are reluctant to insure nuclear power stations anywhere in the world.

3. Here is a hazard with an unexperienced dimension, endangering those directly affected and their offspring as well. A new dimension is given by the fact that man can do nothing to reduce their radioactivity.

4. Plankton, algae and many sea animals have the power of concentrating these substances by a factor of 1,000. As one organism feeds off another, radioactivity climbs the ladder of life and finds it way to man.

5. Most massive wastes are nuclear reactors after becoming unserviceable. No one discusses the humanly vital point that reactors cannot be dismantled and have to be left for centuries, perhaps for thousands of years, an active menace to life, silently leaking radiation into air, water and soil.

Disused nuclear power plants will stand as unsightly monuments to unquiet man’s assumption that the future counts as nothing compared to the slightest gains now.

6. Today no private bank will finance nukes because of high risk. Supported by a pro-nuclear elite, who benefit financially, the president wants taxpayers to assume billions more debt for nukes — subsidizing human extinction.

Renewable non-lethal electrical energy can be generated from solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal and wind power using existing mature, safe technologies without nuclear plants’ risk.

Nukes are the wrong choice!

Randall Parr

Appleton

Mechanics’ banners unique, deserve full preservation

Authoritarian regimes can erase history at will, but our society manages to do so through indifference and neglect.

News that the archival jewels, i.e., the 19th century Portland mechanic banners, might be lost to the state and its people through auction would be tantamount to cultural theft (“Banners’ sale concerns state arts community,” July 26).

Skilled artisans could be seen parading through the streets of the city in 1841. The “fine array of the strong hands and sinewy arms of one of the grand divisions of human labor” proudly carried the seventeen silk banners which conveyed their wit, pride and sense of social usefulness to the community.

The silk banners were covered with appropriate mottoes and expressions, and most of their staffs revealed the tools or emblems of their different trades. The printers could be viewed working on a printing press printing the Order of Exercises for the day which they scattered among the crowd.

The parade of the Portland mechanics symbolized the collective consciousness among the skilled craftsmen in their efforts to secure for themselves the measure of dignity and value they believed they deserved, and their general resistance to legal and economic privileges rooted in the social divisions of the community.

The mechanics were persistent in asserting their social value in defense against the “aristocracy” and the arrogance that those of wealth and rank showed toward those who labored with their hands.

The negative view of mechanics and other working men was reflected in derisive terms used to describe them when they engaged in political action, e.g., levellers, workies, dirty-shirt parties, rabble, etc.

Some cried out, “Who are they!, i.e., the Mechanics, the Nailer, the Truckmen and the laboring classes generally, nothing but broken merchants and common grocers! Not a well dressed man among them, the rag-tag and bobtails of society.”

Citizens of Maine, unite. You have nothing to lose but your history!

Charles A. Scontras

Cape Elizabeth

Falmouth library running out of room for patrons

The current Falmouth Town Council Chair, Tony Payne, has stated that people are confusing “wants” with “needs” in regard to the proposal to reuse the old Falmouth school buildings (“Falmouth’s plan for two schools would raise taxes,” July 29).

If the long list of activities that could take place on this campus are “wants,” then voters need to decide if the creation of a Falmouth town commons, the preservation of historic buildings and the potential collaboration between civic organizations is worth the cost of a couple of dinners out per year or the cost of a couple of tanks of gasoline.

In the case of the Falmouth Memorial Library, I know that the number of people demanding library services has increased alarmingly since 2003 when the library first began exploring options for more space.

The interlibrary loan service, for instance, has increased 1,800 percent since 2003 (from 1,178 to 22,310 items per year).

People borrowed 192,000 items last year, up 32 percent over 2003. Who’s to say if people really “needed” or just “wanted” those items?

People sat down to use the library’s Internet computers more than 8,600 times. They “needed” to look for jobs, write resumes, check e-mail and more.

As the numbers rise, the demands for services, space and resources clash with the availability of those same commodities.

There is no doubt that the library could deliver essential services more efficiently and effectively with the additional space Lunt School would offer.

Currently there is no room for a staffed information desk or an area for teens to sit and read or collaborate on projects.

The staff lunch table doubles as a workbench for processing materials. Small group meeting spaces for tutors, tax help, or other assistance programs do not exist.

It is not just about collection space, although, there, too, the library has reached a limit. Even the advent of downloadables will not eliminate the need to house more traditional materials.

Many people rate a community by the quality of its public library. Here is an opportunity to build a stronger community in Falmouth.

Lynda L. Sudlow

Director, Falmouth Memorial Library

North Yarmouth