April 10, 2013

Letters to the editor: Paper right to raise alarm on warming

I have been impressed, since moving to Maine in January, by the coverage in both the Maine Sunday Telegram and the Portland Press Herald of the effects of global warming -- a topic major papers and commercial networks seem reluctant to take on.

I'm thinking especially of two recent Page One articles in the Portland press: "Changing ecosystem concerns fishermen" (March 10) and "Is Maine ready for climate changes?" (March 17).

By reporting on the toll that warming is taking on major sources of the state's income, the Portland press is playing a role that larger papers have all but relinquished.

Recently, for example, The New York Times folded its "Green" blog. Veteran Times reporter Andrew C. Revkin, who retired from the paper in 2009, noted in his blog that the Times' "Green" blog "had been an excellent aggregator of environmental news and analysis that didn't fit in the flow of conventional articles."

He went on to point out that the paper has "nine sports blogs, nine spanning fashion, lifestyles, health, dining and the like," as well as four business blogs and four technology blogs, among others.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the commander of U.S. Pacific Forces, described rising sea levels as the top threat in the Pacific region, saying that they would "cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about."

The Boston Globe was the source of the story; environmental blogs picked it up, as did the National Review. The New York Times, "the newspaper of record," was out to lunch.

Jon Swan
Yarmouth

The March 10 Maine Sunday Telegram featured concerns about warming Gulf of Maine waters affecting our fisheries ("Changing ecosystem concerns fishermen") and the possibility of another subpar maple syrup season because of early spring warmth ("What makes syrup producers shudder? Warmth").

Meanwhile, the drought continues in the Midwest threatening our food supply, and storms made more dangerous by rising sea levels pound our coastal communities. How can we be so numb to our own future as it develops before our very eyes?

We seem programmed to recognize danger only when some sudden change assaults our sense of safety. The slower-evolving threat of climate change fails to motivate urgently needed political action to aggressively develop renewable energy sources, or make lifestyle changes that could help to ensure a stable future.

Too easily we resign ourselves to hopelessness, blaming China and India for their emissions, failing to see how our own materialism poses a major stumbling block to international progress on climate.

It is not radical, but rather conservative to work for the preservation of a world that supports life in all its diversity. But unfortunately, tokenism is not going to get us out of the climate mess we've unintentionally created for ourselves. Much of the rest of the world is way ahead of us on this.

Read the science. Turn off the TV. Find your political voice. Support the Environmental Protection Agency's upcoming plan to close aging coal-fired power plants if they don't reduce their emissions.

Stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Support Efficiency Maine in the face of a hostile administration.

Get out of vehicles and bike or walk when possible. Fly less. Downsize if you can -- happiness is not increased by excessive material wealth.

When it comes to maintaining a livable world for the future, we seem to be our own worst enemies. But that doesn't mean we can't change.

Sam Saltonstall
Peaks Island

In southern Maine, no wait for Meals on Wheels clients

I'm writing to clarify any misunderstanding caused by a recent article in the Portland Press Herald about waiting lists for Meals on Wheels in other parts of the state ("Meals on Wheels feeling the pinch from sequestration cuts," March 31).

Meals on Wheels in towns in York and Cumberland counties (with the exception of Brunswick and Harps-well) are provided by the Southern Maine Agency on Aging. We do not have a waiting list for Meals on Wheels.

If you are 60 or older, homebound and have difficulty preparing nutritious meals for yourself -- or may recently have been discharged from the hospital and need assistance on a short-term basis -- you or your caregiver can call toll-free at 1-800-400-6325 or make a referral at www.smaaa.org.

Within two business days, a volunteer will begin delivering meals to your home.

You will receive a home visit within nine days in which eligibility is confirmed, and you will learn of other services the agency provides. For example, we also have a shopping program for homebound people 60 and older. People of all income levels are eligible for Meals on Wheels.

We are doing everything we can to avoid instituting a waiting list. We are cutting costs and asking for more donations to offset the cuts made by the federal government. We need to raise $250,000 this year just to support Meals on Wheels.

Please, if you need Meals on Wheels, don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-400-6325.

Laurence W. Gross
executive director, Southern Maine Agency on Aging
Scarborough

Teens' booze, pot suppliers should be penalized as well

In regards to the Falmouth parents who were accused of letting teenagers drink on their property at a party that went out of control:

In my opinion, the parents of the kids who supplied the alcohol and/or marijuana to the party should also pay restitution. Those kids are getting it from somewhere, and if they bring it and distribute it, their parents should be held accountable for their own kids' actions.

The Falmouth parents had good intentions. They wanted the kids to have fun. They did not authorize the alcohol or marijuana, so why punish just them? They wanted the kids to be safe, but as we all know, kids are very sneaky.

Get the names of those distributing the goods and fine the parents of those kids, that's the fair way.

It may make more parents responsible in the long run knowing they, too, may receive a fine if their kids possess alcohol and/or marijuana and distribute at parties. Those other parents are just as responsible in my eyes.

Lynda Sledzieski
Wells

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