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Forum, Aug. 13: Offering no answers doesn’t help


Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Offering no answersdoesn’t help

Bob Cattabriga responds to my criticism of his letter by stating that we have been building more efficient buildings for decades but have reached a plateau in efficiency. Really?

A 2017 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory looked at the potential electric energy savings of efficiency upgrades in single-family housing stock. They estimated it to be 245 terawatt-hours per year, or about 6.3% of the total U.S. electricity consumption in 2014. The upgrades would also result in savings in heating fuel of 4.2 quadrillion BTUs per year — a reduction of 24%. This is just from single-family homes and does not extend to potential commercial and industrial efficiency savings. Clearly, we are nowhere near the peak of efficiency.

The argument that solar, wind and hydro power are not sufficient to supply the Upper Valley’s energy needs also falls short. Hanover is investigating ways of supplying part of its annual electrical usage by investing in offshore wind. Vineyard Wind, an 800 megawatt project 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, could provide a substantial portion of that need at a fixed cost lower than our current rates.

The Green New Deal outlines broad goals, including increasing sustainable energy, building new infrastructure and overhauling our agricultural system. It does not call for getting rid of all cows.

This is not to say that any of this will be easy, but to offer no answers and state categorically that it can’t be done is no way to “get real.” We are facing an existential threat that requires dramatic solutions.

MICHAEL HILLINGER

Etna

The road to becomingAmerican

I’m glad Alan Tanenbaum’s family had an easier road to becoming Americans than mine did (“Sanctuary areas are doing damage to the country,” Aug. 3).

My maternal grandparents came here illegally. At the beginning of their terrifying journey, as newlyweds, my grandma was robbed of her winter coat by the smuggler paid to get them over the Ukrainian border. The coat was replaceable, as was the money sewn into its liner, but the family photos hidden with them were not. Fortunately, we have others, so I have been able to know the faces of people left behind and people who died before I could know them.

Somehow my grandparents made it as far as Canada. Two weeks before my mother was born, my great-great aunt in New York paid to have my grandma smuggled over the border so she could deliver her child amidst familiar and loving faces. My grandpa followed later.

It’s strange how fiction can sometimes illuminate the truth of our own lives. Did you happen to see the final episode of the TV show The Americans? Perhaps you didn’t feel exactly what I did, my heart jumping out of my chest and my guts clenching as that train rolled into Rouses Point. That’s where my grandma was, hoping to make it in instead of escaping out, with the terror of men in uniform checking papers, the moment when your own breathing seems to make too much noise.

My grandparents were eventually naturalized in a general amnesty and became as American as their children already were.

If they hadn’t made it here, I wouldn’t be here, either. Perhaps I’m no especial treasure to this country or the world, but there are many who think my son is, and there’s no him without me.

Yes, we need laws and sensible immigration policy and honest discussion of the costs to municipalities of successfully resettling immigrants — those here legally and those who are not — and transmuting them into Americans.

We also need mercy and compassion. Many of us upstanding citizens came from lawbreaking stock, too.

SARAH CRYSL AKHTAR

Lebanon

Trump fans the flames of hate

Our racist president’s campaign and indeed his presidency have blatantly appealed to the white supremacists in our midst. Once shamed to maintain a low profile, the cowardly members of the apparently burgeoning white hate movement have been emboldened by Donald Trump. They now feel free to crawl out from under the rocks where they reside and use the anonymity of the internet to publicly spout their messages of hate and specious talk of defending “their homeland” by “exterminating” people of color, as well as Muslims and Jews. Sound familiar?

The blood of those senselessly slaughtered and injured in El Paso, allegedly by a white supremacist deranged by hate, is on the hands of Trump. When he constantly denigrates black and brown people as murderers, rapists and worse, and then describes the places where we live as “infested,” of course it follows that the embers of white hatred are fanned into a hot flame and the deadly shootings that we are witnessing, be they at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh or at the Walmart in El Paso, are the predictable results.

If this nation is to have any chance of surviving for much longer, this vile man must be defeated in the next election. If you support Trump’s re-election for any reason, you might as well go out and join the nearest chapter of the Klan, proudly wear your hood and burn a cross on my front lawn because to support his reelection is to support hatred and white supremacy.

MARK LATHAM

Hartford

Photograph promotedanimal cruelty

About a week or so ago, the Valley News published a photograph from the Daily Herald of suburban Chicago that showed a monkey riding a dog (“Monkey business,” Aug. 2).

The caption explains that the monkey, “Bert,” is riding the dog, “Luna,” at a county fair in Illinois. I am surprised that such a liberal newspaper as the Valley News would prominently display such animal cruelty in this day and age.

The photo makes it look like these animals are having fun, but I guarantee you they are not having fun. Do you realize that this monkey is either tied or chained to the dog? Shame on you for reprinting this photo, promoting it as some sort of fun activity at a county fair.

Go ahead and Google “Banana Derby” and you will see what I mean. I think you owe Bert and Luna an apology for exploiting them.

SHEILA JACKSON

Bradford, N.H.

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