Americans need better information on climate change solutions

Congress needs to do more to present solutions in an understandable way. Without my explanation of carbon dividends, my grandma would have assumed it was more “government talk” that is of no benefit to her or others.

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n this Sept. 18, 2021 photo, emissions rise from the smokestacks at the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant as the suns sets, near Emmett, Kans. As climate change bakes the planet, dozens of nations including the U.S. and many local governments are putting a price tag on greenhouse gas emissions.

In this Sept. 18, 2021 photo, emissions rise from the smokestacks at a coal power plant in Kansas. A carbon tax and dividend is one of the climate change solutions Congress needs to discuss publicly, a reader writes.

Charlie Riedel/AP Photos

On the recent Easter holiday, I had one of the largest family gatherings since coronavirus. Many family members attended whom I had not seen in a while, including my grandparents.

As family gatherings go, they began to practically interview me about the ongoings of my life since the pandemic, from new jobs and new friends to my newly added college major: Environmental Sustainability. My grandparents felt the need to comment on how odd of a choice that was — to quote, “The environment can sustain itself.” I began to discuss with them the extent of humans’ degradation of Earth and the climate.

Between hearing about the global rise in temperature, the increase in extreme weather events and the rise in sea level, they were beginning to come to terms with reality. My uncle, who lives in Florida, overheard the conversation and chimed in on the latter. His personal experience of both the increase in hurricanes as well as flooding were the icing on the cake. By the end of the conversation, my grandparents encouraged me to pursue this new major.

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After I returned to school, my grandma continued to text me about what she could do to save the planet. Most recently, we discussed carbon dividends and taxes and how both would help to not only decrease the level of emissions but also return money to American citizens to improve the economy and the planet. She said it sounded like a great plan and wondered why she hadn’t heard about it before.

Congress needs to provide climate solutions in a more public and understandable way. Without my explanation of carbon dividends, my grandma would have assumed it was more “government talk” that is of no benefit to her or others. Climate change should not be considered a taboo political topic to bring up at dinner — it needs to be discussed everywhere.

Most importantly, it needs to be explained in a way that is accessible for individuals who may not seek out the information themselves.

Kate Gehrke, Elmhurst

What it takes to be mayor

In Monday’s Sun-Times, Laura Washington is right on in her column about Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the upcoming mayoral race. Lightfoot is certainly not a warm, fuzzy person. She is tough and has what it takes to be mayor of Chicago.

Has there ever been a mayor who got high marks from everyone? The answer is “no.” Maybe Lightfoot will get more accomplished in her second term.

George Pfeifer, Evanston

Student loan responsibility

Why should the recipients of student loans be allowed to walk away and leave the burden on taxpayers? No one forced a student and/or their parents to take the loans.

As a taxpayer I don’t feel any obligation to let these individuals walk away from these loans. This money isn’t coming out of the politicians’ pockets — it is coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

If interest rates or the time to repay can be adjusted to allow for lower payments, I am mildly OK with such an arrangement.

Get real, Democrats. There is something called obligation.

Warren Rodgers Jr., Matteson

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