Letters, Aug. 14

Aug 14, 2014

Support a green future

Sitting in line waiting for gasoline during the first oil crisis back in the '70s started me thinking about energy. After years of study, what I now know is this: burning fossil fuels must stop, except for some very limited purposes where the high-density energy they provide is irreplaceable.

Burning fossil fuels despoils our planet, and is a major cause of respiratory ailments which cause many unnecessary deaths. Climate change is real, directly related to fossil fuel use, and threatens to cause a level of human suffering and economic impact unprecedented in the history of humans.

Despite claims to the contrary (mostly by the far right), the science linking climate change to the activities of man is as convincing as it is inconvenient. It is an ultimate irony that conservatives, who are so concerned with the possibility that our grandchildren might have a large burden of debt due to federal spending, are equally unconcerned that we are leaving them the world so despoiled that survival may literally not be possible.

On the other hand, were the United States to default on every penny of its debt, life would still go on largely unchanged. Finally, we are running out of fossil fuels. When we have to turn to something like fracking to find the energy we need, you know the resource is getting scarce.

In 1978 I built a house that uses no fossil fuel whatsoever. I can testify that I enjoy all the conveniences and comforts. The cost of construction was basically the same as any other house.

If we do it now, while we still have the luxury of some fossil fuel left to help us manufacture the green future, the transition to a renewable energy economy need not be painful. If we wait until our backs are against the wall, as without action they surely will be someday soon, the transition will be difficult. Is this what we want for our grandchildren? They will curse us and rightfully so!

For this reason, I am writing to urge people to put down their traditional political ideologies and loyalties and vote for candidates who support a green future.

To this end, I would like to recommend the candidacy of Jonathan Fulford for state Senate. The voting record of Mr. Thibodeau, the incumbent, clearly demonstrates that he does not grasp the necessity of making these changes.

Keith Hutchison, M.D.

Waldo

Teachers overlooked in adult ed price hike

One of the most valuable educational programs in high schools around the country is adult education. It enables students who may have left school before graduation for one reason or another to get that much-needed high school diploma.

It enables others to expand their knowledge into areas in which they may have had a lifelong interest. I have certainly found that to be the case in the creative writing classes I have been conducting twice a school year for many years at Belfast High School.

This past week you probably received in your mail a catalog of the many fine adult ed classes which are offered right here in Belfast. It was probably only the teachers who were shocked to find that the cost for most of the classes to the adult student has doubled! Mine went from $34 for 10 weeks to $68, a 100-percent increase!

When I called the program assistant to find out if any of this substantial increase would be passed on to the teacher, since the teacher is, in fact, the class — there would be no class without the teacher — I found out that none of it would be; not even $1. The increase is all for “overhead.” Apparently, the teachers are not considered “overhead.”

Since I am in the catalog, I still will be offering my class this coming semester. I have enjoyed the class and feel that the students have gotten a lot out of it. Many of them have gone on to have their books published.

I also work occasionally as a substitute teacher at the high school, so I have a strong belief that teachers — all teachers — should be adequately compensated for their work. But since the adult ed director is apparently following the employee compensation principles laid down by Wal-Mart, this will be my last semester of teaching for adult ed.

Stephen Allen

Belfast

Comments (1)
Posted by: Faith L Garrold | Aug 23, 2014 11:56

I also was shocked to learn that prices had risen so drastically!  As an Adult Ed teacher a raise would be nice- however- I am much more concerned that this drastic tuition increase may mean that too many of our prospective students may not be able to enroll.  Courses that lead to better jobs as well as those adventures in learning that will increase the quality of life for the citizens of RSU # 20 may well be denied to those for whom this price increase is just  too much.  Has the "Overhead" increased that much?  How will the increased income benefit our students, the tax payers of the district?



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