Letters to the Editor for Aug. 11, 2017

People need to believe the science

To the Editor:

I was told that the environment is too big and man can not have enough influence on it to cause it problems and government could not solve those problems anyway.

Actually we have many good examples of the opposite

Acid rain was caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids that damage forests and waters. Lake Erie was all but dead in the 1970s, until people believed what science was telling them and congress passed laws restricting the amount of those chemicals that could be released by power plants and the environment responded. Lake Erie, among other bodies of water have renewed themselves.

Our national symbol the eagle and other birds were disappearing. Science found it was caused by DTD (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) a chemical very effective at killing off insects and man used it to produce more food. Once the public came to believe science, the government restricted DTD’s use and the Eagle has recently come off the endanger species list.

The ozone layer is a region of earth’s atmosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. It was depleting and science found it was because of man’s use of chlorofluorocarbons widely used in aerosol sprays. Governments restricted it use and the ozone layer has stabilized and there is some science that says it is fixing itself.

Man can have a negative effect on the environment and government action can help solve the problems. We just need enough people to believe the science and pressure their governments. And we all have to hope we do it in time.

Mel Aanerud
Ham Lake

Focus on what we have in common

To the Editor:

Polarization by definition is division into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs. With so much turmoil and genuine threats to our safety and future, it is the enemy that will ultimately take us down as a nation. We have gone from a country where freedom of speech and thought were the tools that enabled the constructive debate, compromise and ultimately the crafting of policy and law.

It appears those days may be gone if we don’t pull ourselves back from the brink and start focusing on our commonalities as Americans, rather than highlighting our differences and dividing into one of two sides “them or us”. I say this as someone who has been an active participant in the “us vs. them” fight, but I also speak as a veteran and proud American and see that our enemies are waiting in the wings for us to self-destruct, at which point they will move in and destroy all that we represent.

For my part I apologize, but I also say it’s time to set aside the minor differences, (and they are minor when compared to North Korea’s very real nuclear threat) and work together to protect the homeland and all our citizens. We don’t have to agree on everything, in fact we only have to acknowledge we are all Americans who want what is best for our nation and more importantly our families. It’s time to stop supporting the 24/7 news media that just points out the awful, horrible and terrible. Who all fight to be first to bring it to us and work to highlight the good, and kind and empowering people and things that every day but that nobody sees.

We are at a very dangerous place and point in our nation’s history, the question is; Will we do as we have done in the past when faced with adverse events and come together “One nation, united” or will we continue down this path of polarization to our peril? I pray it’s not the latter.

Melissa Thompson
Coon Rapids

  • melissa thompson

    I agree with Mel but also think the argument about what is causing global warming is standing in the way to dealing with it. We know it’s warming and by wasting time trying to get the other side to concede as to why we are just losing precious time. It’s like standing outside a burning building and having the fire department say “No, no we’re not going to put it out until we know whether it was a match or a lighter that started it” it’s burning! So who cares how it started let’s allow those who know how to put it out…put it out.

    • RodKuehn

      Mel effectively attacks three of the more pervasive arguments used by climate change deniers: 1) that humanity cannot possibly have that much influence on the vast atmosphere. 2) that science is biased and cannot lead the way to solving problems and finally, 3) that the problem cannot be solved so let’s just ignore it.

      It’s an excellent approach since it avoids the mind-numbingly complex facts of climate change and, instead, deals with well-known success stories. Science effectively solves big problems.

      Your apology is misplaced. The country is extremely polarized because one side is driven by a combination of Christian nationalism and Koch-based profit-over-all. Facts are freely modified or manufactured to support those perspectives. Benevolent lay-Republicans are often snared by extremely sophisticated and pervasive propaganda but the party as a whole has deliberately abandoned the needs of the nation and the world in favor of self-interest.

      The other side supports science wherever it leads with the goal of creating a sustainable, healthy nation and world. To be sure, there is also serious corruption within the ranks of Democrats, especially at higher levels where big money becomes more available. Nevertheless, overall motivations of the two parties are radically different.

      One side is driven by freely available, reproducible, time-tested facts and methods and the other side creates their own according to need. There can be no meeting of the minds because there is no common body of knowledge or method of dealing with contested information. Issues therefore tend to be settled according to raw power instead of merit.

      Issues are decided by those who participate. Without people such as yourself, Anoka-Hennepin would be teaching flat-earth theology in science classes. You’ve done your job as citizen. Take a bow, Melissa. You’ve earned it.

      • melissa thompson

        No apology is misplaced if its genuine and could help bring two sides a little closer to center, even if only on a couple of positions. While I appreciate your kind words I respectfully disagree with the notion that there is no middle ground, because if you as you imply, we are hopelessly divided, then there would be no hope for our country and I refuse accept that at this point. Spoken in peace.