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Millions of acres have burned across the western United States this year. Storm after storm ravages the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and other seas, exacting a huge toll on the inhabitants living in proximity. Coastal cities including Miami spend huge sums of money to mitigate the invasion of seawater. Globally, millions of people and wildlife are and will be displaced by drought. Iconic species disappear from their homes. Glacial ice melts at unprecedented rates. Minnesota and the Midwest states experience record-setting deluges and flooding with increasing frequency. The list goes on and on as we trash our planet.

Please soul-search and answer the following question for me: How can any one of us in our right minds support policymakers and administrations at any level who deny climate change and practice absolute irreverence for the very environment that we need to live? People — what planet are you living on? For the sake of us all, wake up, look your children and grandchildren square in their eyes and please vote in November for those who value our earth and thus the futures of all.

William Henke, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

• • •

What will it take for climate-change deniers to come around? All over the globe we’ve seen stronger storms, drought and desertification, bleached coral reefs and shrinking ice sheets. Australia just suffered historic fires throughout its territory, and now it’s our turn, again, this time with intense fires pouring smoke over the entire West Coast.

Scientists have told us that climate change is happening gradually and that events from year to year will swing back and forth as temperatures progressively grow warmer. But that means we will see more extreme events and more historic records shattered as things seesaw up and down around the increasing trend line. We’re experiencing some of that right now, which should be clear to anyone who isn’t of the oblivious frog-slowly-boiling-in-the-pot variety.

And yet, in Saturday’s front-page article just below the account of the disastrous fires in Oregon (aren’t juxtapositions fascinating?), we learn that state Senate Republicans ousted Minnesota’s commerce commissioner because of his opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline, which would continue to pour fossil fuel on the fires engulfing our planet. (“Fires create humanitarian disaster in Ore.” and “2nd Walz appointee gets boot from GOP.”)

The arguments that pipelines bring jobs and prevent transport of crude oil by train don’t cut it. Renewable energy needs labor at many levels to accomplish its complex production. And if we had the will to prioritize technological advances and alternative energy in general, fossil fuel could stay in the ground where it belongs, and the inhabitants of this planet might have a chance.

Jeff Naylor, Minneapolis

DIVERSITY TRAINING

Good anti-racism material exists, but critical race theory is not it

The Star Tribune’s Monday editorial “Lack of leadership on equity, inclusion” endorsing critical race theory training is well-intentioned but misses the point. The critical race theory “training” now being conducted by many government agencies, schools and private employers, based on material from the New York Times’ 1619 Project and the actual Marxist Black Lives Matter organization, is not “anti-racism” training at all but something far different. The devil is in the details, as usual.

I claim some expertise here because I conducted real anti-racism training for secondary school teachers in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 1970s through the University of Minnesota as an adjunct history professor and employee of the Tri-Racial Center, following my graduate school research in anti-slavery history and my experience opposing segregated housing and South African apartheid.

This training was based on a positive curriculum of African American, Hispanic and Native American history and experience. But the content of the current critical race theory training is itself racist, against whites, and it is anti-American, anti-Western civilization and the opposite of positive. Don’t judge a book by its cover or tagline, Minnesota. Look hard at this critical race theory training and you will be appalled. It is more akin to Maoist Cultural Revolution “struggle sessions” than education, and it simply makes whites the enemy rather than racist conduct, practices or “systems.”

You will find that critical race theory is the usual left-wing propaganda against America in disguise and is flatly a violation of the same civil rights laws that the editors say they support. “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” is the appropriate term for this theory.

Douglas P. Seaton, Edina

COVID-19

I can’t get tested until I’ve likely already infected someone

I can’t get a COVID-19 test unless I already have symptoms of the virus — in other words, until I’m already sick and passing it on to others. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Since my granddaughter left for college in Boston a few weeks ago, she has undergone an enviable testing regimen to protect herself and her community.

Upon arriving on campus, she was immediately tested, and she was required to stay in her room for 14 days except to get food. After one week she was tested again, and again at the end of the 14 days. Happily, she was virus-free. Now that classes have started, she and all students must report on their symptoms online to the testing center every morning. Of course, they also wear masks. In addition, she and all students must be tested twice a week, then each gets a pass to meet with professors and others, even though most classes are online. Using staff efficiently, the students are taught to do their own nasal swabs under supervision.

The university she attends — and others in the city — began accumulating testing supplies in February! They prepared their health service to test, monitor and trace whenever the campus could reopen.

Why are we mostly waiting to test until we are sick here in Minnesota? Couldn’t cities or counties organize testing for us all? We wouldn’t need to check in every morning as the students do, but we could be doing so much more to help ourselves. It would be time and money well spent. We might even be able to open up a little more.

Elizabeth McGarry, Edina

• • •

As a result of COVID-19 economics, world hunger and malnutrition is likely to double, and millions of preventable deaths from non-COVID illnesses could occur from disrupted health care. The $3 trillion HEROES Act was devoid of any global strategy and the recent Senate proposal lacked a strong vision, too. How can we expect to fight a global battle with insular tactics?

Emergency relief for Minnesotans and other countries does not have to be mutually exclusive. Strengthening low-income countries’ ability to fight this pandemic comes back to us twofold by creating better-equipped health infrastructure with which to prevent future deadly global pandemics. Congressional dialogue can start with $100 billion in emergency rental assistance for Americans and $20 billion for international development, with a particular emphasis on child nutrition.

Food insecurity in Minnesota is very real and often manifests in the form of obesity and diabetes. What Minnesotans see much less often, if at all, are kwashiorkor (protein malnutrition), starvation and irreversible brain stunting caused by insufficient nutrients during critical brain development.

These are occurrences many newspapers fail to report because they happen every day, and the conclusion drawn is that they are therefore inevitable. However, if we can figure out how to launch a SpaceX Falcon 9 at a fraction of the cost of previous rockets, we can implement solutions for child hunger. It’s simply about having the innovation and the political will.

Katy Czaia, St. Louis Park

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