Mattis, Thunberg get it on climate change

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, when promoting his book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” warns of the national security risks of climate change and reprimands political leaders for not tackling the issue.

Mattis connects the dots when explaining how climate change affects security and prosperity worldwide: warming global temperatures cause more frequent storms, droughts, wildfires and floods; people move from devastated areas, creating humanitarian crises due to lack of work, food, housing, schools and health care; people lose hope and become angry; political unrest and violence leads to refugee flows, undermining of weak governments and destabilization.

Here in the U.S., disaster response capabilities and government budgets are being overwhelmed by the increasing number and costs of climate-related catastrophes. A January 2019 Department of Defense report showed more than two-thirds of critical US military bases are threatened by climate change.

Sixteen-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg gets it. She feels compelled to skip school in order to advocate for environmental action because our political leaders have utterly failed all of us — and especially her generation — on this score. She understands her childhood, her hopes and dreams for the future have been stolen from her.

For the sake of future generations, demand that every elected official — from local supervisors all the way up to the president — be on the right side of science, ready and committed to dealing with the reality of climate change. Now.

Jeanne Larson

Phillips

Addressing issues such as education, handwriting

I want to thank readers for their kind words for my last letter on education. Several reminded me of some items I didn’t include.

One woman had just discovered that her son, who has lived with her all his life and had just graduated from high school, didn’t know how to write his name on a job application. So she is teaching him cursive writing, which she thinks should be taught in public schools. She explained that our Founding Fathers wrote all documents in cursive. If our young people don’t know handwriting, they could easily be duped.

When someone pointed out that teacher dedication is lacking, I was reminded of being a fourth-grade substitute teacher in an area school about three years ago. When other teachers were unable to help me find a lesson plan or teacher manual, I said I could “wing it.” But at math time, the students weren’t sure because their teacher skips around in the book. To me, there is nothing more sequential than math. I was making up some long division problems when a math resource teacher came in and said the regular teacher “skips around.” She stated the teacher had been reprimanded several times about the way she teaches, as well as for not providing lesson plans and manuals. She asked me to report these mistakes to the principal.

One man is worried about sports programs all the way up to the Olympics. He feels they will be jeopardized by transgenderism, the theory that each person has an innate gender identity distinct from that person’s sex. He asked me how women are going to compete with “women” who have been men.

The Democratic Party funds Planned Parenthood (which provides transgender services) heavily. Keep that in mind when you go to the polls.

Deanne Sczepanski

Whitehall

Area wind farm would be valuable asset

In a report released last fall, a panel of U.N. scientists said greenhouse gas emissions need to drop 45% in the next decade and fall to near zero by 2050 in order to minimize the risk of catastrophic climate change. That will require a dramatic shift in the way we generate electricity.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin has a serious problem because three-fourths of its electricity is produced by fossil fuels and more than half from coal.

Fortunately, our elected area officials have taken the first step. Both the City Council and the Eau Claire County Board have passed resolutions to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050. The proposed Eau Claire County RWE 200-megawatt wind farm and many more wind farms and solar farms are necessary to reach those goals.

Wind is a great source of renewable energy for these reasons: 1. No carbon emissions, 2. No air or water pollution, 3. No mining or drilling for fuel, 4. No water used to generate electricity, 5. No hazardous or radioactive waste requiring permanent storage.

I strongly support the proposed Eau Claire County RWE 200-megawatt wind farm.

Bonnie Golden

Eau Claire