{"headlinelight18"/}Climate change puts Third World at risk

A 15-year-old 10th-grader, Mohammed Axam Maumoon, is an eloquent climate ambassador from the Maldives at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen. He asks us, "If a victim is begging for mercy in the face of death, would you murder him if instead you could change his plight?" His island country is already being eroded by rising seas.

This conference on fighting global warming is a life-and-death issue. Up to 170 million people may be at increased risk of hunger, 1 to 2 billion people are already water-stressed where rivers and lakes dry up and cattle are dying, 100 million people are impacted by island and coastal flooding, millions are at greater risk of malaria and dengue fever, nearly 3 billion could be at increased risk of violent conflicts over land and water rights.

Heating the planet intensifies natural disasters. Bill McKibbon, an environmental scholar, states: "Any plan that doesn't quickly reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million is not compatible with preserving the planet. It will mean an all-out drive to convert our societies away from fossil fuels."

It is the rich, developed countries that have caused the problem, but the poorest nations are most in danger. To bring great changes will require many billions of dollars. Just now the United States delegation is playing a negative role, not pushing for a legally binding treaty and holding back on targets.

We must not be silent in urging our government to take seriously the looming catastrophe and to be willing to pay to save the Earth for our children and all the world's children.

I urge everyone with a computer to log onto www.democracy now.org and click onto past programs from Dec. 7 onward to get in-depth information on the Summit.

Ellen St. John


{"headlinelight18"/}Board worked hard to craft budget

I comment on Jeanne Bridger's letter concerning the Otsego County budget board meeting recently.

I could not disagree more on her entire letter. I attended the meeting and came away with several different emotions _ one being sadness.

Cuts had to be made, no question. Yes, it was extremely difficult to see good friend of mine Karen Liddle, former STOP-DWI coordinator, lose her job. Her job was not about perks, money, etc. Karen cares about people and wanted to make a difference, which she did for more than 10 years. Karen will move on, and trust me, will come out of this experience a better and stronger person. You go, girl!

However, a great deal of good also came out of this meeting.

Hundreds of people cared and were there to try to help in whatever way they could. I was proud to be an American.

I observed the entire board for several hours. In my opinion, they all did an excellent job. Mr. Powers worked the entire room; patient, caring. He allowed all who wanted to speak the opportunity.

Their faces said it all to me. They left the meeting completely drained and exhausted. We all did. As for the comment about the "perks" the board gets ... you should be ashamed, Jeanne. They earn what they receive and then some!

Taxes are up, yes; there are many problems in our country, yes. All these problems did not happen overnight and can't be fixed overnight. Working together, living within your means and caring about others, we'll all come out of this better people.

This is a great nation! Believe and be positive and not negative. Better days are coming!

Jo-Ann LaMonica


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