I was thrilled to read the March 12, 913 editorial, “Roeland Park may lead way on gays,” noting that Roeland Park is preparing to provide positive leadership on gay rights. In an atmosphere in which the Kansas Legislature took a step backward in even considering the endorsement of discrimination in the name of “religious liberty,” it is refreshing to think that there are indeed forward-looking leaders in Johnson County and that they live in my hometown.
Hopefully, when the matter is considered at local town meetings, people who think like I do, that this is a much needed step, will turn out and give their support to the lawmakers who want to guarantee gays the same rights as everyone else, especially in such important matters as employment and housing. It is nice to have Roeland Park legislators in the forefront of the fight for universal civil rights.
Roeland Park Herbert’s column
On Danedri Herbert’s 913 March 5 column, “Gore’s visit ushers in record cold snap,” the question isn’t does climate change occur, it does. North America was under hundreds of feet of ice four times in the last 100,000 years, proving it gets hot and cold. Can you deny that?
Are the ice caps gone? No, but they are shrinking.
Just look at pictures from 10 years ago and then today. Plus have you seen how much existing glaciers are currently retreating?
They are not growing. Can you deny that?
The next question is does man affect the environment? I’ll bet if you’d ask the people of West Virginia who had their drinking water polluted they would say yes.
So don’t try to convince us that spewing billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere doesn’t have an effect on the environment, whether good or bad. Can you deny that?
Perhaps you are in the GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann’s camp, saying: “It’s naturally occurring. How can it be harmful?”
The real question is can man legislate a solution to climate change. And that’s debatable.
Now, I’m no fan of Al Gore and his ranting, but it seems to me that you are doing the same thing.
Overland Park Cost of inaction
The feature story in the March 5 edition of 913, “It’s a girl’s world, too,” was about getting young women interested in STEM education. In the back, there was an anti-science column by Danedri Herbert, “Gore’s visit ushers in record cold snap.” At first I thought this was ironic, but then I realized that Herbert was exemplifying an important psychological principle: motivated reasoning.
Because the science of human-caused climate change seems to conflict with her strongly held political opinions, it can’t exist — despite the evidence of hundreds of scientists, thousands of peer-reviewed papers and dozens of national scientific institutions that say it does.
Her case is built on a series of anecdotes, such as the temperature when Al Gore visited Kansas City recently. As amusing as it is that we still have winter, recent cold temperatures in North America don’t change the fact that (according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) this January was the fourth warmest January on record worldwide.
It also doesn’t change the facts that California is undergoing a historic drought, that England has suffered what are being called “500-year floods” on top of the “100-year floods” they had last year, or that, because of a record-warm winter in Alaska, the Iditarod sled race is having trouble finding enough snow. These are all in keeping with what climatologists have been predicting for more than 20 years about the potential effects of climate change.
Herbert is very cavalier about the effects of climate change on what she anachronistically calls the “Third World,” but developing countries have the least responsibility for causing this problem and the most to lose. They can’t just turn up their air conditioning like we can. That’s why climate change is not simply an environmental or even an economic issue but primarily a moral issue.
There are two things we need to do to address this challenge: stop putting carbon dioxide and other global warming gases into the atmosphere and build resiliency (and help others build resiliency) to the changes that are already taking place. These are difficult challenges, but far from impossible.
The longer we wait, though, the more difficult it will be. And if Herbert thinks that action will be expensive, wait until she see how much inaction will cost.
Rabbi Moti Rieber
Overland Park Abuse of power
It’s hard to understand what’s going on in the Ukraine because of propaganda from all sides. My view is that this is yet another manifestation of people getting fed up with self-serving elites being in control of things.
People are frustrated with “leaders” who are more interested in serving their own interests than looking after the people. This is a universal condition in every land and country.
It’s the model we’ve developed over a long stretch of time. It now has to change.
The reason it’s hard to figure out what these street protesters want, not just in the Ukraine, but in many other places as well, is because there is no model yet for the way forward. These actions are creating the way forward.
And of course it’s full of trial and error and pain. The various groups and factions all have different ideas and allegiances.
They are all jockeying for position. Too many people, if they had power, would abuse it just like the elites are doing.
Until people have the ability to wield power without abusing it, we will have a rough time of things.