Forum, April 17: Help Save the Arctic Wilderness

Monday, April 16, 2018
Help Save Arctic Wilderness

While school shootings, trade wars, the possibility of nuclear war and sex scandals steal the headlines, the Trump administration, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., are stealing our public land. Gardner put the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling in budget and tax bills, where it couldn’t be debated. And Murkowski, Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Donald Trump are pushing oil lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in offshore regions.

Drilling on the refuge’s coastal plain, where the greatest diversity of plant and animal life exists in the entire circumpolar north, threatens the lives of the Gwich’in people, who depend on the caribou that calve there. Also, millions of birds migrate there from 50 states and six continents to one of America’s last wild places. In addition, drilling in the coastal plain would increase warming in the Arctic, already warming at twice the rate of the Lower 48.

There wasn’t a public process to pass drilling on the coastal plain. The public is being shut out and public lands are being destroyed for private and corporate profits. We can thank Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who sponsored the Coastal Plain Wilderness Bill. But we must hold Gardner accountable for protecting the oil and gas industry instead of people, wildlife and one of the last pristine environments in North America.

In 1987, a treaty between Canada and the U.S. was made in order to protect the caribou herd that migrates between Canada and Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge region. This herd, and the native people who live sustainably off the wildlife in the region, have existed for more than 20,000 years. It is a cycle of life that must be preserved in this precious region in North America and we must respect and recognize this treaty permanently.

You can view a piece of the film Oil on Ice online (www.oilonice.org) to witness what we might lose. Help stand for the Arctic wilderness and preserve the coastal plain.

Carol Perera Weingeist


Documentary Warns of Marijuana

With the marijuana legalization law set to take effect in Vermont on July 1, now may be a good time to encourage your readers to watch Marijuana X. The documentary interviews Colorado leaders, including the attorney general, emergency room doctors, psychiatrists, police chiefs, school officials and other human service officials about concerns with marijuana.

Michael R. DeLeon produced the Marijuana X documentary to awaken people, community leaders and lawmakers to what the marijuana industry is attempting to do. DeLeon is a been-there-done-that kind of guy. He knows America’s drug culture inside and out. He started SteeredStraight.com because he wants to point young people in the right direction and not follow the roads to addiction that he took before he straightened out.

We have spent years trying to clean up after the tobacco industry, whose products led to so many addictions and cancers. How wide do we need to open our doors to a new addictive substance that has much more harmful effects on the overall health of our communities and can have more serious side effects for some individuals? For some it can cause a lifetime of schizophrenia. For others, a little “dab” of nearly 100 percent THC can take their life.

Marijuana X is available on YouTube as a free video. I hope you will avail yourself of the opportunity and encourage community leaders to learn from Colorado’s experience.

Martha Hafner


Resist This Symbol of Hate

On a recent Wednesday morning I walked into the Advance Transit shelter in Norwich near Dan & Whit’s to wait for the 9:08 a.m. Brown bus when I noticed that a Nazi swastika had been carved into the laminated plastic bus schedule on the shelter’s wall.

A swastika? In Norwich?

I first wanted to ignore it and get on with my day. But then I thought better of it and pointed it out to the bus driver as I boarded. He immediately said he’d call for permission to take down the vandalized schedule and asked me to telephone Advance Transit as well. I did, and soon heard back from the office that the schedule and swastika were gone.

I find it very unsettling to know that somewhere in the Norwich-Hanover area there is someone who — carefully and deliberately — scratched that symbol of hatred, fear and oppression onto a public display.

But perhaps we can turn this shock into an educational moment. I invite parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents in the Upper Valley to have a conversation tonight among their family, especially their kids, about what a swastika is, what it symbolizes and why it is hurtful and threatening.

I also remind my neighbors, and the swastika vandals, that because we are living in a troubling historical moment, we share a renewed responsibility to try to shape it by identifying and resisting hate when and wherever we find it.

Jack Shepherd


Simple Solution: An Absentee Ballot

Let us start by staying that voting is a privilege and honor in this country and that all those 18 and over should vote at every opportunity. We have never missed an election, and that includes while we were in college. What we don’t understand is all the controversy, anguish and emotions that have been going on for so long over voting in New Hampshire. It seems so obvious and easy to us.

Yes, all college students 18 and over should be able to vote. All they need to do is vote by absentee ballot in their home state. Honestly, how many college students really care about the school board or city council or budget in the town where their college is located? We assume they mainly want to vote for president, vice president, senator, etc. We believe their few years here in school are nothing compared with the many years they lived with their family in a different state. And, after college, they will probably go back there, or to the town where their first job is located.

To all those who are so riled up about college students voting, consider suggesting to them that they can vote — just get the absentee ballot from home.

Dick and Selma Sanborn


Gov. Phil Scott Is a Hero

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is a hero. He is a Republican who is willing to use his brain and his heart to do what is right. He has shown true heroic leadership in promoting sensible gun control legislation.

Thank you, Phil Scott. With hope, other lawmakers now will follow your brave lead and step up.

Jeannie Hines