Letters June 3, 2021

Have you been to Costa Rica?

With charter flights leaving MSP on a regular basis, Costa Rica has been a destination for winter weary northerners for long enough that almost everyone I meet has been to, or is planning to go to this tiny oasis of a “third world” country, approximately one third the size of Wisconsin. But would it be a destination of choice if it were draped in smog, slash-and-burn forests dotted the landscapes, run-off and garbage contaminated the beaches and wildlife and fragile tropical plants had been forced to extinction?

With more natural biodiversity than anywhere else on the planet, Costa Rica has been celebrated for its leadership in environmental policy for a long time. Key among policies was to balance the drive for agricultural development with the need for environmental conservation. Among a multitude of other environmental efforts dating back to the 1950s, with critical policies emerging in the 1980s and 1990s when ecotourism took off,  in 2015 Costa Rica pledged to become carbon neutral (the result of a net zero release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere) by 2021. Though it will face challenges in achieving this goal, much has been accomplished. We directly reap the benefits of these efforts as visitors escaping winter, as well as when new medications are discovered in its biodiversity. 

Northern Wisconsin and Costa Rica have much in common. Natural resources are integrally woven into our economies and our cultures. They tie us to each other and unite us. Environmental protection is a non-partisan issue. Our natural environment is what we have in common. It is vital to us all. While conservation efforts and effective changes to environmental policies can seem daunting and unattainable, taking a closer look at Costa Rica’s balanced approach, long term commitment and stellar outcomes can serve us all as a beacon of hope. It provides evidence that if we commit to change, we will have an impact. If a tiny “third world” country in Central America can accomplish so much, so can we. 

One way to connect to local efforts along these lines is to seek out information on and participate with your local Citizens Climate Lobby. Working together we can steward the precious resources of northern Wisconsin, while we thrive as well as steward what we have been given.

Cynthia Anderson
Bayfield, Wisconsin

Help the migrant workers

Another Congressional Delegation has visited the Mexican-U.S. border recently recently, but unfortunately the inhumane and illogical migrant labor problem is not being solved.

At the beginning of my Minnesota House legislative career I was honored to serve on the Migrant Labor Subcommittee 1973-1974 biennium. We visited southern and western Minnesota farming communities and found out that migrant workers were and are needed in our and other states. Being on the above subcommittee reminded me of growing up on our farm in Bosnia, Yugoslavia, where we needed a lot of extra farm workers because we had our parents large homesteads. Without hired help during busy harvesting seasons we could not have existed. We were fortunate that we were able to get these essential workers, which was good for them and us. We either paid them in cash or plowed and harrowed their land  with our horses and farm equipment, because it did not pay for them to have their own. They had cows, pigs, poultry etcetera.      

We are dealing with farm/migrant crisis because our politicians are unwilling to solve it. The migrant workers and their children are suffering and being taken advantage of by illegal gangs charging a lot of money to get them across the border and so on.

Eastern and Western European countries have  “Guest Worker” programs that allow their Eastern neighbors to migrate to Western counties to work legally. We should do the same with our Southern neighbors. 

President George W. Bush and President Vincente Fox of Mexico had agreed on such program 2001-2009, but Republican Congress did not accept it. Unfortunately President Barack Obama and Democratic Congress did not do it 2009-2010 either when they controlled both branches.
Let us ask President Biden and Congress to enact this logical and necessary program this biennium to help our farmers and neighbors?

Mike Jaros
Duluth, Minnesota

CO2 emission act supported

Folks in the 7th Congressional District may be interested to know that at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress 2021 virtual Spring Hearings, Wisconsin residents endorsed a resolution supporting the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.  The resolution calls on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress to “encourage the U.S. Congress to enact carbon fee and dividend legislation with the intent of reducing CO2 emissions, benefiting conservation, and stimulating technological innovation and economic growth through revenue recycling.”

Of the 8,435 Wisconsin residents who voiced an opinion, 59% approved it and 41% opposed it. In the 7th Congressional District, the resolution passed in 16 of the 26 counties wholly or partially within the district, with 54% of the votes cast being in favor of the resolution.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act – currently pending in Congress as HR 2307 – puts a steadily rising fee on carbon-dioxide emitting fuels and returns the money to the American people to spend with no restrictions. More information is available at: energyinnovationact.org

Bill Bussey
Group leader for Chequamegon Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Bayfield 

Israel is like Derek Chauvin

I hope that Americans will someday soon realize that what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd with his knee on his neck is the same thing that the Israelis are doing to the Palestinian people every day and have been since what the Palestinians call the NAKBA (tragedy) of 1948. Israel equals Derek Chauvin and unless we demand of the U.S. government that, Democrat or Republican, they cease helping Israeli genocide, it won’t end. In 1948 in a 1 month period, 500 Palestinian villages were entered by Zionist forces raping, killing and evicting everyone in terror. (What the Nazis did to the European Jews Israel is doing to the Palestinians. Israel has become the Nazis.)

And unfortunately it is us the American taxpayer that abets these crimes against the Palestinians. We arm Israel and don’t hold them accountable for how they use what we give them.
There are many Israeli Jews (perhaps the minority) and American Jews that are ashamed of what Israel does. There are some good media that can help us understand the situation such as the Jewish Voice for Peace. Some Israelis are ashamed of Israel and I am ashamed of the U.S. government’s foreign policy. America doesn’t like peace and is great for inventing enemies.

Steve Johnson
Ely, Minnesota