Letters to the editor: Dec. 7

Don't be manipulated

Opinionists are fond of holding and stating their view on subjects like climate change whether based on science or not. Some are gullible enough to be manipulated by the fossil-fuel industry into holding opinions based on self-serving lies promoted by those corporations.

Climate deniers are cherry-pickers of data that promote what they want to believe and reject evidence accepted by 97 percent or more of climate scientists that deny those opinions.

The wise skeptic will accept arguments when they are based on the high standards of scientific evidence.

Global warming occurs as follows: Earth transforms incoming visible sunlight radiation into longer infrared and heat radiation. This energy radiates outwards but is retained by a "blanket" of greenhouse gases surrounding our planet. This blanket is becoming thicker, heating up the planet. This warming is neither healthy for life on the planet nor fair to the next generation

How do we reduce the thickness of this blanket? The solution is to emit fewer greenhouse gases by changing everyday habits. We should also support legislation in 2016 that caps greenhouse gas emissions so future generations can enjoy a habitable planet.

Louise D. Shawkat


Painful echoes of the past

In his Dec. 1 column, Chris Honoré does us all a great favor by reminding us of the 1938 tragedy and heartlessness of the M.S. St. Louis epic: Refugees from Hitler’s savagery were turned away from our shore, their vessel being denied the right to a save harbor.

Today, too many American political leaders are calling for similar treatment to the hundreds of thousands of people in the war-torn and totally disrupted Middle East. Those people — men, women, and children — are tragic victims of events beyond their control: They are fleeing utter chaos and seeking refuge, support, and the chance to start over again in peace. They should be allowed to enter the United States and be given support as they establish themselves.

Instead, we have so-called “leaders" calling for rejection of such victims and demanding they be kept out of America. Ah, well, nothing new here: This great nation was built on policies of genocide of Native Americans and chattel slavery of African victims, along with sometimes brutal exploitation of all but white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

There is much to ponder concerning these sorry features of American history and culture. One would hope we Americans are able to do better toward our suffering fellow human beings.

Gerald Cavanaugh


Accepting Syrian refugees

Recently I did a current event assignment for my English class at Ashland High School. While I was searching for an event to write about, I came across the story of a little town, Clarkston, GA., that was welcoming Syrian refugees.

Clarkston has a long history of welcoming refugees from a variety of different countries, beginning 30 years ago. Today, more than half of Clarkston’s population is made up of foreign-born, former refugees.

At first the people of Clarkston were a little worried about bringing in all these foreigners. Over time, however, they embraced the idea of welcoming refugees into their economy because it gave them different cultures, different types of food and diversity. One woman in Clarkston even started up a successful company called Refuge Coffee that is based in food trucks that drive around the city, manned completely by former refugees.

I think it would be really cool and a great experience for Ashland to do something like this. For those who doubt the value of bringing Syrian refugees into their community, you should check out what’s happening in Clarkston, Ga.

 Jackson Williams


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