Stewards of the Earth in the time of COVID-19

 

To the Editor:

Two important lessons for me so far through COVID-19: life is indeed fragile AND we are not powerlessness to making big sweeping change as a culture.

These lessons are changing the way I think about the enormous challenges we face with climate change. Frontline medical workers and others performing essential jobs have never worked harder. But for the majority of us, the world has “shut down” in ways we have never before experienced.

While many of us recently completed about seven weeks of staying at home, my mind returns to a problem I’ve thought about, worried about, and grieved for over half of my 42 years of life – the incompatibility of our culture and way of life in America, and the viability of the ecosystem and natural world that make our very existence possible. We have learned through COVID-19 that we are more interconnected than we knew. A breath of air with a lethal pathogen has spread person to person in a matter of months across the globe forcing us to make abrupt changes to our daily routines and lifestyles.

While the government prepares to get our economy back up and running, I realize that I don’t want to go back to life as usual, even if that were possible. I hope we can rebuild an economy that is more responsive to the reality that we need to be better stewards of the Earth in order to survive here.

Back in February, when scientists in the CDC quietly but visibly communicated on their website that the spread of COVID-19 was inevitable, I acted. I began to prepare my mind as well as prepare our home, stocking up our pantry with essentials to help us get by for weeks without going to the store. Maybe it’s finally time I have the courage to listen to, understand and act on the alarm bells scientists have been sounding for decades around threats posed by climate change. This means making bold changes I’ve long known I should do in order to lessen my carbon footprint but haven’t yet mustered the courage to do, in part because it felt so counterculture and against the norm and values of our fast paced and production oriented society.

After the COVID-19 crisis ends, I plan to continue to stay more grounded with my family – for our sake and future generations. I will keep getting to know my neighbors and the natural world that I depend on. I will continue to support the local grocery stores and shops that supported me during the pandemic – like Darnell Farms, Bryson’s, Harold’s and City Lights Bookstore. I hope many of us will look for new opportunities to be good stewards of the Earth after this reckoning, and together we will shape a healthier way of life than previously known including a vibrant and diversified local economy. This will take some doing but “business as usual” will likely result in the undoing of us all.

Susan Pepper,

Cullowhee

 

Farewell justice, we hardly knew ye

 

To the Editor:

The Barr of Justice has been lowered. United States Attorney General William Barr has ordered the Department of Justice to terminate proceedings in court against Michael Flynn. As you will remember, Flynn was accused of, and admitted to being guilty of, lying to officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December of 2017. It is a federal crime to obstruct a federal law enforcement investigation. It is commonly called “obstruction of justice.” Were you or I to do this, we would now be sitting in jail.

Somehow, what was once a federal crime has become not one. Flynn lied to the FBI, the representatives of the United States government, and in retrospect, since the agents of the FBI work for the people of the United States, he lied to people like you and me. He lied to your neighbor, your brother, your parent and your child. But then, possibly it has become acceptable to lie to the American public. What was once a vice may have become a virtue in the face of the current administration in Washington, D.C. It certainly seems to considering the falsehoods and lies that seem to exude from the current chief executive and his administration.

We need to Barr actions like this by our government in the future (pun intended). We need to put the admitted breaker of the law and liar behind Barrs (pun again intended). We need to make sure that the Barr of Justice sinks no lower as we are fast becoming a nation of men rather than a nation of laws. Actions like this by the Trump administration and Attorney General William Barr simply make me want to Barrf.

Luther Jones,

Sylva