LETTERS: We all must become leaders in battle against climate change

SHARE LETTERS: We all must become leaders in battle against climate change

A strong wind blows embers at the Thomas Fire on Saturday in Montecito, California. Prior to the weekend, Los Angeles and Ventura counties had 12 consecutive days of red flag fire warnings, the longest sustained period of fire weather warnings on record. T (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775092345

Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently hosted an important mayoral climate summit. Mayors and governors are vital players in dealing with climate change. And they need our help.

A few months ago our region suffered serious flooding. Shortly thereafter appeared a report assessing the performance of 100 U.S. urban centers, including Chicago, on the United Nations’ sustainability indicators. Categories included water, climate change, healthy “life on land” and many more. Overall and on every one of the 17 specific sustainability measures, Chicago was nowhere near the top 10 (or the bottom 10, thankfully).

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Here’s the real kicker: Not a single urban center scored high enough to accomplish even half the progress needed to achieve the standards of the Paris climate accord. Most people know that we need to both mitigate (reduce emissions) and prepare for the coming changes. But whereas Chicago is a beautiful city and rightly proud of being “nature’s metropolis” (the title of a book about Chicago’s history), we are falling behind as climate change accelerates. When our elected national leaders are not doing enough, more average citizens need to lead from below. More of us need to take initiative, engage in new and more effective conversations, step out of our personal and professional silos (aka comfort zones), and collaboratively drive new climate solutions. The needs and demand for climate leaders are high and growing, but the supply is low. In Chicago and beyond, the supply of climate leaders must grow.

Thomas S. Bateman, Lake View

I needed a ride

I live in Pennsylvania, but have been following the carriage horse protests around the country. The same arguments are used everywhere.

I did manage to visit the Windy City a few years ago, and I really wish I had seen a carriage on my walk through town. I could have used a respite from all that walking. I’m not as young as I used to be.

Barbara Steever, Barto, Pennsylvania

Denied care

Cancer patients are being denied access to care despite their doctor’s recommendation.

Proton therapy is a precise treatment that allows doctors to directly target cancerous tumors. Patients who receive it generally maintain a better quality of life and experience fewer side effects. Despite the clinical benefits of proton therapy, and that it is FDA-cleared and recommended by experts for several cancers, insurers routinely deny and delay treatment.

These denials ignore the evidence that illustrates how effective it is in killing cancer cells while saving healthy tissues. As an advocate with the Alliance for Proton Therapy Access, I am asking insurers to stop practices that delay and deny proton therapy for cancer patients. Patients battling cancer deserve timely, fair and transparent payment decisions from insurers for proton therapy.

Dawn Rundgren, Villa Park

Pension time

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois, had a birthday gift this year. He turned 55, and with that he gets to start his pension of $37,500 per year. That $37,500 is more than many people make in a year.

Mark Flynn, Evergreen Park

GOP’s true colors

Thanks to your newspaper and to most mainstream media outlets for running two domestic stories this week, back to back. The Republican tax plan has been front and center and is being touted as the biggest tax cut plan since the 1980s. (Do we remember the tax increase plans that soon followed?) In addition the media has been reporting how more and more people have been helped with their treatable medical conditions due to Obamacare, about 20 million more Americans.

Since the Republicans could not kill Obamacare outright, they attached a bit of poison to their tax bill. The killing of the mandate that everyone must be in the health insurance pool will slowly reverse all of the medical progress of the last seven years by raising premiums to unaffordable levels, reducing those with insurance by about 13 million or more.

This tax plan will reduce taxes from 39 percent to 37 percent on the wealthiest Americans forever. Why? No one can explain that. It will reduce corporate taxes 35 percent to 21 percent even though many corporations with foreign headquarters pay much, much less. This change is also forever. The small breaks for the middle and lower income people will expire in a few years.

This tax bill shows the true colors of the Republican Party. They want to pass a bill quickly that few in Congress have even read, for which no committee hearings were held, for which no outside groups affected by this bill were ever called to testify, so that they could accomplish something by year’s end. They accomplished a stocking full of coal for most Americans and a badge of shame for themselves. Is this what the 47 percent who voted for our current president had in mind?

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

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