Readers Write: US must preserve, not develop Arctic; Way forward for Israelis, Palestinians

Letters to the Editor for the August 19, 2013 weekly print issue: 

The effects of climate change in Alaska are significant. Instead of striving to develop the Arctic, the United States should focus on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, among other things.

Strengthening reasonable voices on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a good idea – but only if those voices respect universal human rights. A fully secular two-state solution is the best way forward.

By , Monitor reader , Monitor reader

US must preserve, not develop Arctic

Despite the challenges that climate change is already bringing to Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska makes an impassioned plea for charging ahead with a pioneering spirit to develop the Arctic, including drilling for oil, as melting sea ice opens up this once-inaccessible region ("Time is running out for US development in Arctic," July 29). Many of us in Alaska wish that Ms. Murkowski would instead focus on another important American value – leadership.

The effects of climate change in Alaska are significant. For example, Alaska coastal villages are eroding into the sea each fall without the protection of near-shore ice. Murkowski's op-ed fails to mention that the drilling and burning of Arctic Ocean reserves have the potential to release nearly 16 billion tons of carbon dioxide, thus worsening the climate change problem that threatens Alaska and the rest of the world.

Instead of striving to develop the Arctic, the United States should focus on leading in the Arctic. Leadership includes – among other things – reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Recommended: Opinion 8 steps to US energy security

Lois Epstein, P.E.

Engineer and Arctic Program director

The Wilderness Society

Anchorage, Alaska

Way forward for Israelis, Palestinians

Regarding Nadine Epstein's July 22 commentary, "Israelis, Palestinians need help for two-state solution": The one-state situation is what already is and has been for decades, with Israel easily able to find more excuses (and ways) to usurp more Palestinian land, liberty, and life. Making a cruel situation even worse, Islamists have been thriving on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring that Israel too often perceives Palestinians as terrorist threats rather than as real people.

Noticing and hopefully strengthening reasonable voices, as Ms. Epstein suggests is needed, is a good idea – but only if those reasonable voices firmly respect universal basic human rights. The goal must be a just and lasting peace. A fully secular two-state solution is the best way forward.

Anne Selden Annab

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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