Letters May 6, 2020

A rock and a hard place

Like a breath of fresh air we can witness a new leader who is steadfast and willing to fight the good fight. His agenda is challenging, but attainable. Many new team members are on board with qualifications to “dig in.”

Recently our democracy took some cheap shots and low blows, but they are not irreplaceable. The foundation is intact and we can work from that.

Donald, the recent autocrat, had to relent his throne and the power he ruthlessly wielded. A greater concern for the human race is that global warming is accelerating quicker than scientists first thought.

Time is not a luxury now because we are between a rock and a hard place.

The idea of extinction is a dreadful thought to entertain.
Gerald Norrgard
Duluth, Minnesota

Do we have it?

It can be difficult to follow all climate change issues. Understandably, we tend to focus on our backyard. In doing so, we fail to pay attention to one of the greatest challenges. 

Our oceans are in trouble. Among the many issues is increasing sea level. Two primary factors are causative. Ocean water is expanding as it has absorbed more than 90 percent of the increased atmospheric heat caused by greenhouse gas emissions (such as carbon dioxide) from human activity.   

A hotter atmosphere is also causing increasing land-based glacier and ice sheet melting; increasing ocean water volume. Since 1900, sea level rise has increased to 2 inches per decade globally. 
This may seem insignificant, but NOAA says sea level rise is accelerating. At the current rate of atmosphere heating emissions, scientists project a sea level increase of 5 to 8 feet by 2100.  Regional influences will cause local increases 20-70% higher. 

The U.S. southeast and gulf coasts are already experiencing “normal” high tide flooding. A very likely mid-century sea level rise of 2-3 feet would adversely affect large areas.

For example, much of coastal south Florida would be inundated and lose access to affordable fresh water. Seaports and other coastal developments would have to be protected, if feasible, moved or abandoned. 

Globally, two to three feet of sea level rise would cause the migration of millions of people and the loss of vast agricultural lands. The consequences of an increase of 8 feet or more would be orders of magnitude greater. 

Even if we stop all fossil fuel use now, we have already damaged our planet. The full extent of damage to date isn’t manifest yet. We have the technology required to turn the ongoing climate change trajectory. The question is: do we have the will to end our fossil fuel addiction quickly enough to avoid the most catastrophic consequences?

John Lindell
Bayfield, Wisconsin

Daunte and Kim

One life is finished
another diminished
due to a fatal mistake.
he had not a gun
an argument won,
yet we attended his wake.
a life liter’lly shot;
on her record, a blot
as members of family wail.
due caution not heeded
now justice is needed
let’s see if it will prevail

Bud Brand
Superior, Wisconsin