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If you believe it is essential to have a functioning military in the U.S., you should also support swift, strong action on climate change. A 2019 report titled "Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army" commissioned by Gen. Mark Milley found that the U.S. military is at risk of collapse in the near term due to the instabilities caused by climate change.

Of particular concern to the functioning of the U.S. Army is an operational power grid. Greater temperature extremes lead to an increased demand for power to heat or cool buildings, further taxing the aging U.S. power grid. If the demand becomes too great, we could see a devastating power grid collapse. This would impact not only heating and cooling systems but also food preservation, fuel pipelines, computer and communications systems, and water distribution. The ripple effects of a power grid shutdown could cripple the U.S. Army, making effective military action impossible.

The idea of a power grid collapse is frightening, but humans still have the ability to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if action is taken now. Recent research conducted by Stanford University suggests that power blackouts can be avoided, and jobs created, by transitioning our electricity supply to 100% renewable energy resources. Renewables are cheaper and more efficient than their fossil fuel counterparts, leaving no reason to continue our reliance on fossil fuels.

You can be a part of this transition by voting for government officials who back strong action on climate, and calling these representatives to show your support for climate action. Your voice matters; it's time to make it heard.

Carly Challgren, Eden Prairie


The recent article "Extinction threat 'quite alarming'" (July 18) brought to mind a big step that is urgent. Much more must be done to curb America's climate emissions to at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, which scientists agree is needed to avoid some of the worst impacts — like species extinction! Pivoting from fossil fuel production on federal public lands — which accounts for one-quarter of U.S. climate emissions — is a crucial climate solution.

Instead, a potential climate "bomb" oil-drilling project called Willow is proposed for Alaska's Arctic on what is officially known as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (or simply the Reserve), America's largest piece of intact wildlands. Nowhere else in the United States is there the opportunity to protect threatened habitats at such a landscape level. The Reserve supports a robust ecosystem with caribou, geese, loons and other migratory birds, salmon, polar bears and wolves, and is home to communities that depend on these resources.

And the Willow Project is the largest imminent oil extraction project currently proposed on U.S. federal lands. This project would release more than 284 million metric tons of carbon, equivalent to pollution from about a third of all U.S. coal production annually. It's urgent to raise the alarm now while President Joe Biden looks to declare a climate emergency! Go to "" and call on Biden to deliver on his climate promises, help protect species and stop the Willow Project before Aug. 29.

Lois Norrgard, Bloomington

The writer is national field organizer at Alaska Wilderness League.


Imagine a Summit trail like Como's

With the State Fair fast approaching, attendees have an opportunity to get a glimpse into what a future Summit Avenue might look like.

Between Como Park and the Fairgrounds, Como Avenue boasts a dedicated off-street bike path. For cyclists, it's a safe, oh-so-smooth, lovely way to get around. I use it every day to get to work. It's a piece of the puzzle in St. Paul's comprehensive bicycle plan, a plan that imagines a safe, interconnected system of bike-friendly, year-round trails. Also, that off-street trail is plowed in winter.

The comprehensive bike plan is clearly not finished yet, and not every street in St. Paul will get its own separated bike lane. But arterial roads will favor some form of buffered bike lane. And as roads get resurfaced, those plans are being implemented. As St. Paul drivers know acutely, it's Summit Avenue's turn.

There is a campaign hoping to stop the city's plan. It aims to preserve the status quo: on-street bike lanes in the existing roadway. Those in-street bike lanes have been just fine for fair-weather recreation. But many cyclists are opting to bike year-round. We are supposed to be weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels, and bicycles surely do that. But year-round cycling gets tricky in places where trails are either nonexistent or poorly maintained. Like Summit Avenue. Snowplows navigating around parked cars invariably deposit the snow, ice, salt and soot onto our bike lanes, making them impassable. We either have to use the full roadway or just ride on the sidewalks. If preserving the status quo means that cyclists interfere with vehicle traffic as well as dog-walkers and pedestrians, we need a new status quo.

Summit Avenue is the jewel of our fair city. It's in a sorry state right now, and we would all love for it to be resurfaced. When that happens, I expect it to become a safer, more attractive road for everyone to use, year-round.

Ed W. Steinhauer, St. Paul


Without it, the city crumbles

A Hennepin County judge has ruled that Minneapolis officials can once again implement the city's 2040 Comprehensive Plan, an ambitious set of progressive long-term initiatives ("Minneapolis allowed to enforce its 2040 Plan — for now," July 27). While planning for the decades ahead is normally prudent for a municipality to undertake, any effort that distracts from dealing with the immediate, severe and existential crisis of crime in Minneapolis is a deep disservice to its citizens. It's also, quite frankly, a waste of time, as Minneapolis will be a much less populated and vibrant place than city planners envision if the current wave of lawlessness is allowed to roll on.

Despite vacuous cheerleading from local politicians suffering from denialism and absurd claims that Minneapolis is "back," the city remains a violent and dangerous place. It continues to experience a historically high number of homicides, shootings and assaults. And downtown Minneapolis, which the city depends on as an economic engine, is disintegrating at rapid speed. While our skyline looks lovely from afar, a deeper inspection reveals a once-vibrant business district now rotting away from unbridled vagrancy, business closures and unopposed criminal activity.

I take no pleasure in calling out the crime calamity in Minneapolis, particularly since so many members of my family live there. But simply no measurable progress has been made in public safety since this crisis emerged in 2020.

In his famous hierarchy of human needs, American psychologist Abraham Maslow ranked "safety and security" as among the very most fundamental. The same is certainly true for cities. Without safety and security, metropolises simply cannot function; they drown in danger.

The Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan presumes the city will grow by one-third over the next 20 years. But so long as the City of Lakes remains a hotbed for crime, it will instead shed population, as it did last year. City officials would be wise to maintain a laser focus on restoring public safety to Minneapolis — and in short order. Only if that is returned will the city have the luxury of presuming a future of prosperity and growth.

Andy Brehm, St. Paul


An Associated Press wire story run online by the Star Tribune, "NASCAR's Kyle Busch, family among those who escaped Mall of America shooting," referred to the Mall of America as being in "suburban Minneapolis." While I understand why this might be necessary for a national audience, I wonder if the Star Tribune can't make edits to the text for a local audience.

The Mall of America is, of course, in Bloomington. The shooting that occurred there is a reminder that nowhere is safe from gun violence, even heavily policed suburban spaces. But the phrase "suburban Minneapolis," at least in the local context, implies that this shooting is somehow the responsibility of the metro's core city.

The reality is that violence is up everywhere, in cities, suburbs and rural areas. Careless language obscures this fact and throws undeserved shade on Minneapolis.

Alex Schieferdecker, Philadelphia