The recent column on climate change and culture by Greg Kesich (March 15) suggests that “culture,” something quite independent of newspapers or governments, is responsible for public action on a society-wide scale, whether to coronavirus, cigarette smoking or climate change. The evidence that such a position is utterly wrong lies all around us.

Fifty thousand all-electric cars have been sold in Quebec, a dozen times more per capita than in Maine, not because its culture is so radically different, but because its provincial government offers rebates four times larger than our state government does.

Vermont has 10 times more solar panels per capita than we have in Maine, again because of difference in government policy.

In the current coronavirus pandemic, China and South Korea are already seeing steadily dropping numbers of new infections, while we in the U.S. are seeing exponentially enlarging numbers of new cases. The difference? Governmental policies.

Where are we getting our daily information about COVID-19? Newspapers. If we went to the Press Herald looking for detailed information about how our federal government could or should be dealing with climate change the way we do with COVID-19, how would we fare? Poorly.

The March 15 column is a good example. There is not even a mention of the role the federal government has played in reducing cigarette smoking, or tackling the coronavirus, or not addressing climate change.

If the newspaper helped to create the political will needed to prompt federal action, the U.S. might well be further toward a solution than we are.


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