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Readers Write: Getting an education in the 'real world,' climate change needs solutions

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 3, 2014 weekly magazine:

Martin: It takes years of students testing themselves in the very competitive “real world” before the lure of progressivism is forged into pragmatism.

Cutler: The need for action is urgent. We have only a few years to get effective controls over greenhouse-gas emissions.

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    Pro-democracy protesters raise umbrellas at a rally in the occupied areas outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty Oct. 28. Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong stretched into a fourth week, as student leaders pushing for a greater say in choosing the territory's chief executive met with government officials but agreed on little.
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An education in the ‘real world’

The Oct. 20 Monitor’s View “Why teens often lead protests” includes this sentence in the last paragraph: “Public protests are only one way for students to put their education to the test.” Putting education to the test may be what they are doing, but is it their education or their professors’ social cliques they are testing?

Reality and something other than social liberalism are not often found in today’s halls of higher learning. It takes years of students testing themselves in the very competitive “real world” before the lure of progressivism is forged into pragmatism. What follows is the development of a few true leaders and difference-makers, many of whom did not use bullhorns and street protests when they were young. Youthful activism is desirable, but learning pragmatism, something most of their professors have never learned, is even more desirable.

Roland Martin
Carmel, Calif.

Climate change needs solutions

It is my practice to write the media in appreciation for articles on climate disruption. I enjoyed the June 30 Focus story “After Kyoto: What can work?,” which described a hopeful strategy for reaching international agreements to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Sept. 22 cover story, “Climate controller,” highlights the inspiring and effective leadership of United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres.

The Sept. 29 cover story, “The accidental oilman,” points out the difficult moral and economic choices involved in the transformation to a carbon-free economy. 

The need for action is urgent. We have only a few years to get effective controls over greenhouse-gas emissions in place and only a few decades to bring those emissions down to sustainable levels. The scope of the task is immense, and the consequences if we fail are horrendous. Those who care about the climate need to press our leaders in government and business to limit carbon emissions and expand renewable energy.

William Cutler
Union City, Calif.

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