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Letters to the Editor
Congratulations to the Webster students with WSES who exercised their First Amendment rights to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal, which would deliver tar sands crude from Canada to the Gulf . And kudos to The Journal for going the extra mile to cover their participation in the protests in Washington, D.C.
Young people voted for Barack Obama in 2008, in part, for his pledge to address concerns about global warming and the future of the environment. It is a hopeful sign for all generations that young people are holding the Obama administration accountable for that pledge.
At this year’s Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) convention, scientists from prestigious universities such as MIT talked about oil from tar sands and the pipeline. They noted that the Canadian mines and the pipeline will result in vast quantities of methane and CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
These scientists also noted that global warming has accelerated and they pointed to rising sea levels on the Florida Coast. Unprecedented melting in the world’s ice shelf areas means sea levels are going to rise in feet, not just inches, as was once projected.
If you think you are safe in St. Louis, think again. Climate scientists predict large migrations of people from coastal areas to the Midwest as sea levels rise — with resulting social, political and economic dislocation.
Missourians have a habit of listening to native son and radio personality, Rush Limbaugh, when he dismisses the “global warming crowd,” as alarmists and extremists. Missourians would be wiser to listen to the climate science experts and the young people who are motivated to care about the environment and our future.
Professor Don Corrigan,
Outdoor and Environmental Journalism Program
Re “Students protest Keystone pipeline in D.C.” (News, Nov 9)
The Keystone Pipleline is an issue more than worthy of action, including protest. While a mass protest in Washington, D.C., succeeded in catching the attention of President Obama it ineffectively demonstrates national unity. 10,000 protesters marching in our nation’s capitol brought media attention and public awareness, but protesting locally would continue to bring the issue to the community and foster real action, like organized boycotts and efforts towards energy independence, on a manageable scale. Strength in numbers is not just about concentration. A movement that spans multiple cities sends an even stronger message of support.
For an issue that will affect the entire nation, protesting in D.C. excludes a major portion of the population: those who don’t have the time, money, and resources — in terms of transportation and fuel — to drive 14 hours to D.C. to participate. More widespread local protests would not only include more college students, but also citizens with family and job commitments for whom protesting would not otherwise be feasible.
The Pipeline will affect the Midwest in particular and with Missouri well-represented at the D.C. protest by 80 students from 7 universities, there seems to be both interest and collective power to make local protesting happen here. Channeling the energy and resources into such a protest would engage veteran community activists and welcome new concerned citizens as well. Localizing an issue as important as the Keystone Pipeline also allows communities to see the results and benefits of their actions on both community and national levels.
Stopping the extension of the Keystone Pipeline is crucial, and protesting is an extremely effective tool when time and place are carefully considered. Even more local action is needed, especially as the issue continues to evolve.
Caitlin Zera, Student
I am surprised and disappointed that there was no mention of Veteran’s Day in the last issue of The Journal. While the expression of different viewpoints within the newspaper is interesting, not an inch of space thanked or recognized the men and women who have served in the U.S. military, whom our nation honors with a day of remembrance on Nov. 11.
Though we at home and at school seem to be so occupied (no pun intended) with the matters of our daily lives, we tend to take our freedom for granted. In our complacency and in this era of entitlement, have we so soon forgotten to whom we owe the rights to free speech and press — which allows the free printing of ideas in this paper — and a score of other precious freedoms? I haven’t forgotten; to all faculty and students who have served in any branch of the United States Military, I say THANK YOU for your service and sacrifice.
The next time you see an American flag, I encourage students and faculty of Webster to pause and reflect on the high price that has been paid time and again throughout history for that flag to wave freely.
Sarah Hinds, Student