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Letters: Amazon is burning

Johnson City Press • Aug 30, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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Amazon is burning

The Amazon rain forest is on fire. It has been reported that as much as 20% of the rain forest is burning.

Scientists report that glaciers around the world are melting at an accelerated rate. With the new focus on Greenland in the news, we are seeing pictures of rivers of melted glacier waters flowing toward the ocean.

96% of climate scientists tell us that the environmental crisis is real, and is caused by human activity, but climate change deniers continue to ignore the evidence that is all around us. The thing that really confounds me is how executives of the fossil fuel industry can continue to discard the scientific evidence knowing that they are devastating our planet. Don’t these people have children and grandchildren? When the bill for the insatiable greed comes due, they won’t be able to build the walls around their gated communities high enough to escape the unfolding disaster You cannot eat money.

Bernie Sanders has announced a serious $16 trillion plan to combat climate change. I’m sure the right-wing media is having a field day with this. But what cost can you put on having air to breathe and clean water to drink? What cost can you put on having food to eat?

Scientists tell us we only have a few years to turn this around, and I personally think their appraisal is optimistic. I’m 68 years old, I’m healthy, and I have no children. I’d had hope of living out my life on this Earth before things started really getting ugly, but now i’m not so confident about my timeline.

JACK L. GRIFFITH
Johnson CIty

Build nations, not nukes

When he announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria last year, President Trump expressed regret over our war spending, its futility, high cost, and loss of economic opportunity for the nation.

Bringing the troops home, he said, he would “start rebuilding our nation” since having “spent $7 trillion in the Middle East over 17 years, we get nothing out of it.”

Although fact-checkers exposed the $7 trillion figure as much exaggerated, indicating $1.8 trillion or $3.6 trillion as more correct, the President is right. Withholding these staggering funds from vital domestic needs and saddling future generations with massively swollen national debt deserves presidential disapproval and lament.

Mr. Trump took pains to note the lack of results from this military spending. “We have nothing — nothing except death and destruction [which — Right Again! — is] a horrible thing.”

Yet he continues the plans for new warheads and modernization of our nuclear-weapons arsenal, inherited from the Obama Administration. “Bad Math” and unneeded, the Union of Concerned Scientists had then strongly criticized this plan. Now, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the price tag of Mr. Trump’s planned makeover of these weapons at $1.2 trillion.

In the Wall Street Journal in April, former Defense Secretary William Perry, with Secretary George Shultz and Senator Sam Nunn, called urgently for new policy to avoid a nuclear standoff which would be “more ... economically costly than the Cold War” and to reduce “the nuclear danger we are currently courting.”

Far more “horrible” than any conventional war or even the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 74 years ago, which we recall in August, any nuclear exchange today would mean “nothing but death and destruction.” The President should follow his better instincts, abandon the nuclear-weapons race and carry out his promise to “start rebuilding our nation.”

FRANCES LAMBERTS
Jonesborough

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