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Union letters to the editor
Dec. 28, 2021 12:40 pm
Thank you for great Christmas Box distribution
The tradition of the Lord’s Cupboard of Jefferson County Christmas Box distribution project was completed during this past week. Over 350 households consisting of nearly 700 people were provided food for the holidays through curbside delivery from the Cupboard.
The board of directors and staff of the Lord’s Cupboard would like to extend our thanks to all those in our community that so willingly supported this project in some way that made this project possible. This is truly a community effort and every single business, group, and individual is critical to the project’s success.
Thank you to Jan Fontana, Sally Johnston, and Ron Hunerdosse for their willingness to be team leaders throughout the four months of organization that this project requires. The Hy-Vee team worked to acquire and move tons of food from the store to the Cupboard for staging on multiple early mornings.
Justin Clements provided his skills and equipment to move tons of food to the staging area. Libertyville Savings Bank is always quick to provide support of the recipient mailing. Larry Bentler generously provided full size candy bars for each member of every household receiving a box.
Ann Gookin and Joe Carr provided muscle and stamina the entire week keeping the box packing process moving. Melvin Diehl and Rusty Muntz provided enclosed trailers for delivering boxes to the senior sites in our community. Rusty also kept the massive amounts of recycling material moving throughout the week.
The National Guard team provided the manpower to get boxes delivered to the door of those living in senior sites. Special thanks to Steve Johnston, Larry and Linda Pettit, Tom and Jeri Kunkle, Richard and Alicia Tygart, Gene and Joneane Parker, Bob and Mary Keller, Pat and Deb Doyle, Mike and Sue Carr, David and Lisa Cohen, and Joel Boatright along with two willing Cambridge volunteers who provided packing, loading, and delivery support.
Special thanks also to Susan Frey, Executive Director of the Lord’s Cupboard, who provided full support and promotion of the “new and improved” implementation of the Christmas Box Project. It was only with the help of each of these generous and willing community members that this project could be implemented safely and conveniently during a time when food insecurity continues to be a local concern.
The Christmas Box project would not be possible without the very generous contributions from many churches, organizations, and individuals throughout the community.
Again, thank you and blessings to each and every one of you! Until next year!
Christmas Box Project Coordinator
The Lord’s Cupboard of Jefferson County
Tornadoes, home runs, and climate change
The deadly Mississippi Valley outbreak of tornadoes earlier this month is part of a “new normal” driven by climate change, according to Deanne Criswell, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With over 80 people killed and property damage estimated at $18 billion from the 30-tornado, 250-mile wide storm, Criswell’s assessment is especially troubling.
Of course those committed to denying climate science will say that there is no way to know whether this outbreak was the direct result of climate change. After all, there have been many intense and destructive storms in the past. The same, they say, is true of the extreme wildfires witnessed over the last several years. There is no way to say for sure that any particular fire was the direct result of climate change.
Therefore, they conclude, these disasters cannot be counted as evidence that human activity is disrupting earth’s climate. But this is where their argument fails.
Take the case of Major League Baseball’s steroid era. It was generally accepted that there was no way to know if a particular home run was the result of steroid use, even though an overall rise in home runs was certainly the result of players using these drugs. In other words, the fact that no specific home run could be linked to steroids in no way negated the fact that steroids markedly increased the number of home runs hit.
Similarly, even though there is no way to link, with certainty, last week’s specific tornado outbreak to climate change, that doesn’t negate the fact that a long-predicted increase in these catastrophic events is upon us, or that our pumping 150 million tons of heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere daily is the cause.
The science is clear. We can expect to see not only more frequent and powerful tornadoes, but more intense hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and droughts as well. And given our failure to reduce our use of carbon-based fuels, we can expect these trends to severely worsen over time.
But here’s the good news. It’s not too late to take action to avert the worst impacts unchecked climate change will bring. What action? Here’s a short list:
Tell your representatives in Washington: 1) to quickly phase out all subsidies for carbon-based fuel production, 2) to instead invest those tax dollars in the rapid refinement of non-carbon-based energy technologies like wind and solar and more efficient energy storage capacity, and 3) to withhold approval of all new CO2-related projects like off-shore and Arctic drilling and new infrastructure like pipelines and refineries. Tell them if they fail to take these bold actions to protect the future of our children and grandchildren, you will vote them out of office. And then, if necessary, do just that.
In the end, overcoming the stranglehold Big Oil has on elections and legislation will not be easy. It will require everyone who cares about the future of life on our planet to stand up and demand change now. Everyone.
Another Pipeline Across Iowa?
Five years ago, the Dakota Access pipeline cut across 347 miles of Iowa farmland to transport over 20 million gallons of oil per day. Today, new pipelines are being planned. One of them, Heartland Greenway (a.k.a. Navigator), will transport not oil but liquefied carbon dioxide (CO2). The pipeline will carry 15 million tons of CO2 each year, captured mostly from ethanol plants around Iowa. The plan is to permanently sequester this CO2 underground in southern Illinois.
Is this a good idea? That depends on one’s perspective.
Perspective 1 (the pipeline developer’s and ethanol producers’ view): The CO2 handled by this pipeline would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Removing this CO2 will benefit ethanol plants, permitting them to qualify for carbon tax credits, and allowing them to sell their product as a lower-carbon fuel, which opens up additional markets.
Perspective 2 (the farmers’ view): This pipeline will slash through 30 Iowa counties. Most farmers do not want their land torn open and their soil and tiling disturbed to allow corporations to gain financial advantages. And they especially do not want to be told that they have no choice in the matter. Farmers recount all kinds of problems they have had with past pipelines, including damaged and improperly repaired tiling, soil compaction, and reduced yields.
Perspective 3 (the view of those concerned about the climate): The pipeline’s ultimate purpose is to help ethanol plants to thrive. Ethanol is a gasoline additive, completely bound up with fossil fuels, and so the pipeline would effectively extend our use of these fuels. Transportation is the highest single driver of climate change. Far, far more CO2 will be released by vehicles using ethanol-added fuel than will be recovered by this pipeline.
Our tax dollars should not be used to subsidize an industry rooted in the past, but should instead be invested in forward-looking projects that support a rapid transition to a sustainable, carbon-free energy future (including electric vehicles and their supporting infrastructure) – a transition that is our only hope to avert the worst threats of the climate crisis.
We have to be on the alert for “greenwashing” stories, where industries that are allied with activities that damage the environment tell stories that make it seem like they are trusted friends of the earth. Heartland Greenway and the ethanol industry tout this pipeline as an environmental win, because it will remove some CO2 – even though the net effect of the project will be to subsidize and strengthen an industry that is, in its alliance with gasoline and industrial agriculture, a major driver of climate change.
Where does that leave us? When faced with competing perspectives like these, it’s up to us to pay attention to the details, and unravel the stories that don’t hold up. It’s critical that we support policies that will protect not only Iowa’s future but ultimately the future of our entire planet. Far too much is at stake to accept “business as usual” with ethanol.
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