Lower voting age to teach good habits

I am a high school student. The voting age needs to be lowered. I and my peers know and are affected by many of the issues that have been discussed leading up to the midterm elections.

Many of us just have our driver’s licenses, so we drive on roads with potholes. We are attending high school, so education is an issue that directly affects us every day. In a few years, we will be looking for jobs and paying taxes that we didn’t have any control over. We have the internet and education at our fingertips, so we can be just as educated on politics as any adult voter.

Young adults ages 18-29 consistently have the lowest turnout rate of any demographic. If we develop a habit of voting and educating ourselves at a younger age, we will be more likely to vote throughout our lives. Young people have voices and ideas that need to be heard.

Emily Maiers, Madison

Planting trees helps protect climate

How many trees have you planted in your life? Have you planted the 18 trees it takes to absorb the massive amount of carbon dioxide you exhale each year?

Forests are one of the biggest forces toward combating climate change and balancing the surrounding environment. A single tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, but that doesn’t help when the world cuts down 15 billion trees a year. Trees do not get rid of the carbon they absorb either, they simply store it until death releases it back into the atmosphere. When trees die naturally, this release is not a concern toward climate change. But when humans cut down many trees at once, the built up carbon can seriously harm the environment.

Forests are also responsible for protecting 80 percent of all terrestrial species. When forests are cut down, dependent species risk extinction.

We need to hold businesses responsible for their unsustainable harvesting of forests and spread awareness of the growing issue of deforestation.

Page Kassner, Verona

Continue funding to stem evictions

I am very proud to be one of many volunteer attorneys at an important asset in our community: Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Eviction Defense Project at the Dane County Courthouse.

Legal assistance makes a big difference in eviction proceedings. At the Eviction Defense Project, volunteer attorneys provide free civil legal aid to clients — low-income tenants — when they face an eviction. We help our clients negotiate with landlords to settle their eviction disputes and provide legal representation at eviction hearings. Without this organization and the city’s support, low-income tenants in Madison would have virtually no legal help when they go through the eviction process.

Volunteer attorneys from some of Madison’s largest law firms and from solo or small-practice firms have helped about 152 low-income Madison tenants prevent or defend against an eviction, with volunteer attorneys contributing 361 hours in just the first nine months of this project.

Recently, the city’s finance committee approved an amendment to the 2019 budget to fund the Eviction Defense Project. As a former Madison City Council member and current volunteer attorney, I urge the council to adopt this amendment and ensure this organization continues to lead the fight against the eviction crisis in our community.

Bryon Eagon, Madison

Dane County wisely pushes for carbon fee

The Dane County Board recently approved Resolution 294, requesting that Congress enact a revenue-neutral fee on carbon in fossil fuels. The board approved the resolution by a unanimous voice vote.

The carbon fee would be revenue-neutral by “returning to Americans on an equal basis all of the revenues gained from the fee.” The board directed a copy of the resolution to be provided to U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth.

The purpose of a carbon fee is to encourage clean energy and strengthen the long-term performance of our economy. Our current economic engine is not sustainable in the face of extreme weather, rising sea levels, ocean acidification and species extinction. The carbon fee will help the economy to better adapt to the natural world in which it is embedded.

The United States has a key impact on global climate change. The County Board recognized this global role by stating a U.S. carbon fee could “encourage similar actions by other nations trading with the United States, by suitable carbon-content-based fees for imports, and rebates for exports, to nations that have not taken such actions.”

I thank the Dane County Board for its approval of Resolution 294.

Bruce Beck, Madison

Help all families enjoy Thanksgiving

Four years ago, a woman asked me to pick up her Thanksgiving basket from the Goodman Community Center for her.

I said yes, because I knew she needed the help. But honestly, I was dreading it. I thought I’d be waiting forever or it would be a disappointment because everything may not be there.

Boy, was I wrong. I was in and out in a few minutes, and I didn’t even have to get out of my car. And when we looked at the groceries in those bags, absolutely everything she would need was there.

I’ve lived in Madison all my life. I’ve watched the Goodman Center organize the Thanksgiving basket drive for 30 years — it’s become a tradition. Two years ago, I started working at the Goodman Center, so I’ve now seen it from inside. It’s incredible to see how our whole community comes together to make sure every family has a holiday meal to share with their family.

Thanksgiving is early this year, so we have a few short weeks to get groceries together for 3,500 Dane County families. If you can help a family in need get a Thanksgiving meal this year, please don’t wait to give.

Edith Hlliard, Madison

War is the tragedy, not abortion

Some recent letters to the editor have resorted to preaching Christianity. Please allow me to stand at my pulpit and sound off.

When it comes to politics, white evangelical Christians focus on one thing. That is a woman’s right to a safe abortion as guaranteed by the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision. These evangelicals cannot swallow the hypocrisy of Christians who attend Sunday services, but who also support politicians who approve of a woman’s right to choose. In their minds, abortion is murder.

I came of age in the late 1960s. In my mind the Vietnam War was the mass murder of more than 58,000 American military personnel. The human costs to Vietnam were horrendous: 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters, 200,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 2 million North and South Vietnamese civilians — all dead.

Where was the outrage from the Christian right during the Vietnam War? They worshiped on Sunday morning, supported the Vietnam War, and gave little thought to their own hypocrisy.

I have stood in front of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. My heart was broken. What a waste of human life.

Linda Hilker, Cross Plains

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