A collection of recent letters to the editor published in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Community wants parade to return -- Margaret Benbow
In the July 31 State Journal article, "Picnic, festival replace parade," Madison Ald. Mike Verveer claimed he hasn't heard any controversy around the decision to drop the annual Pride Parade and substitute a picnic and festival. He must have stuffed his fingers in his ears.
I have several gay and transgender relatives and friends. They're angry the decision-makers at OutReach LGBT Community Center caved to the loudest voices, regarding last year's uproar about police marching in uniform. That failure led to this.
Is the OutReach leadership really this futile? The Pride Parade was a beloved, happy event -- an on-the-move demonstration of inclusiveness. Abandoning the parade for such unworthy reasons, even though the city had made special efforts to accommodate the parade, is humiliating.
OutReach leaders need to grow some spine. Their job is not to appease a few power-hungry manipulators bent on enforcing their will. Bullies will always have selfish motives. OutReach needs to listen to and honor and promote the wishes of the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In this case, that would have included a rousing, joyful Pride Parade.
Many hope that pride will be on the march again in 2020.
Margaret Benbow, Madison
Debates must focus on climate change -- Laura Green
Climate change did indeed get shortchanged in the most recent Democratic primary debate.
Candidate Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state, argued that climate change is the issue that affects every other issue in this country, and he is correct. Why talk about fixing our broken immigration system, without talking about how climate change is fueling more immigration and leading to our first climate refugees? Why have a lengthy debate about healthcare reform and then ignore the effects of climate change on health? Why discuss the racial divides in our country, but largely ignore how minority communities across the nation are getting hit first and hardest by environmental problems?
The fourth national climate assessment released by the U.S. government last year highlighted how climate change will disproportionately impact minority and low-income communities. The World Health Organization reports, “Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year [worldwide], from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.”
Many issues are important, but none so much as climate change. In future debates, I hope candidates step up their game and give climate change the attention and serious thought it deserves.
Laura Green, Madison
Our children won't use fossil fuels -- Wayne Haskins
The Aug. 4 letter to the editor "Renewable energy isn't reliable yet" stated that solar panels and wind turbines were not reliable energy sources. That's not even close to accurate.
Right now, more than 8% of our nation's energy comes from solar panels and wind turbines. Furthermore, renewable energy sources are less expensive to use than fossil fuels. Other advantages to renewable energy -- besides the obvious environmental benefits -- are increased energy security, since we are less dependent on oil from Mideast countries.
Around 98% of scientists and 175 nations believe climate change is real and mostly caused by burning fossil fuels. This is why China is a huge investor in developing better and more renewable energy.
Let’s be prepared when there are no more fossil fuels left for our children to burn.
Wayne Haskins, Mount Horeb
Plastic straw ban isn't a burden -- Jared Schumacker
Last Saturday's letter to the editor "Plastic straw ban is waste of time" stated that Ald. Syed Abbas' proposal would increase government intervention and create an "unnecessary burden" on private business.
This will not create a burden on business. Here is how you train your staff: “Bar and wait-staff, please do not give out plastic straws unless a customer asks for one.” It is just that simple.
The “burden" on business is buying thousands of plastic straws that a customer uses for 30 minutes and then throws in the trash. As stated in the July 24 article, Cafe Hollander started this practice and has purchased 20,000 fewer straws and saved $1,500 per year.
As far as a straw being a “harmless product” and government focusing on “public safety concerns,” there is no larger public safety concern than climate change. Banning plastic straws is just the first step in changing our wasteful culture. Enacting this proposal would go a long way towards ensuring that our cities are not overrun with trash and overburdened with useless throw-away items.
You can drink just fine from a glass without it.
Jared Schumacker, Madison