Communicate the realities of climate change to people you know – Chicago Tribune
Regarding the article “Glacier Tragedy Reveals the Scope of Europe’s Heat” (July 10): One would think that countless articles like this would be enough to cause enough concern among people to inspire a political action to combat climate change, given the evidence and the seriousness of the impact already is.
However, last October only 43% of Americans thought climate change would one day affect them personally, according to a Gallup poll. Why? In the spring 2022 issue of the Journal of Advanced Military Studies, Elizabeth G. Boulton explains that the destructive power of climate change is so diffuse that it is difficult to see its enormity and therefore “defies existing human thought and institutional constructs” , quoting ecological philosopher Timothy Morton. The three main challenges? Invisibility, evasion of human threat response mechanisms and human hesitation.
It is therefore crucial for virtually anyone who sees climate change and understands it to relentlessly and unequivocally spread the message to friends, family, club members, neighbors, etc.
— Gary M. Stewart, Laguna Beach, CA
Clarence Page’s July 10 column (“After Shooting, Partisan Media Offers Dubious Comfort”) was partly right but failing miserably to address the many causes of what we are experiencing today. Yes, too many guns falling into the wrong hands is a factor, but as a baby boomer I grew up in a time when there were a lot of guns, but the mass shootings and the senseless violence that we see in Chicago and other cities was unthinkable. .
Our culture, unfortunately, has become a culture of violence. Movies, social media, videos, music and the like have desensitized our young people with the glorification of violence. I don’t know what movies Page may have enjoyed as a child, but I guess they were pretty much the same as me. The violence in these movies, even the horror ones, was tame compared to the kinds of acts young people today witness on the big screen, on computers and on television.
Even our language has changed from love songs or Civil Rights-era protest songs to lyrics that, if we had spoken that way back then, our mothers would have washed our mouths out with soap. Times have changed, and unfortunately, all is not for the best. The moral “rules of the road” are torn around town, and without those guardrails it’s pretty easy to get off the road.
Look at our institutions over the past 50 years. Our culture has constantly tried to tear down one institution and tradition after another, often with questionable motives and little discussion or tolerance of different viewpoints. Now the three branches of our government are attacking each other. Political discussions gave way to personal attacks full of obscene language, threats and intimidation; civil discourse has become a relic.
I don’t recall any of my public school teachers revealing their personal political views. We were in school to learn, not to become activists.
We need responsible parents, academically oriented and committed teachers, an overhaul of appropriate entertainment for our children, sensible politicians who do more than just explain or describe the problem, increased health care mental health for individuals and families in difficulty, and a government that believes it should work for people and not the other way around.
It would be a good start.
—Diane Levine, Chicago
In their July 14 op-ed (“Racist Pattern of Chicago Gun Arrests Creates New Harm”), two deputy public defenders leveled what I consider far-fetched accusations. I live on the east end of the South Austin neighborhood. In fact, I’ve spent most of my adult life living in inner-city communities. I therefore find their suggestion that “police sit in poor neighborhoods waiting for black and brown drivers to commit traffic violations that are rarely enforced in predominantly white neighborhoods” surprising. In my experience, the opposite is true. Drivers in my community regularly flout the rules of the road and get away with it. They run red lights, speed up, drive the wrong way on one-way streets, etc. The incidence of these violations is higher than in communities like Oak Park or River Forest, where I work.
Their question is even more startling: “Why do the police assume our client has a gun in the car since they don’t immediately ask white people if they have (owner’s ID) firearm) or (a concealed carry permit)? The answer is painfully obvious. Armed violence is massively committed by – and against – blacks and browns. I find it hard to think of a white person I know who has a gun, and frankly, of the many black and brown people I call friends, none of them have a gun no more. It is mainly a downtown phenomenon.
Are some of the defenders’ clients innocent? I have no doubt about it. Did the police abuse their authority? I can’t deny that it happens. But before painting the cops with such a broad and negative brush, spend some time living in this community and experiencing what they experience every day they come to work.
I agree that better solutions need to be developed. At my non-profit organization, Jeremiah Community Renewal Corp., we help ex-offenders find housing, employment, and support services. My church, Grace Lutheran in River Forest, funds and helps run an afterschool program in Austin and a food pantry in Lawndale.
The solutions lie in activities like these.
—Paul N. Eichwedel, Chicago
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