Letters to the Editor
Readers write about respect for the members of the US Armed Services, the effect of global warming on Canada's boreal forests, and how churches can keep their congregants.
Respect for those who serve in America's armed services
In regard to the March 13 article, "Long-remembered heroism": My sincere thanks to author Emily Badger for writing about her recent experience in France. I have been a member of the Ohio Air National Guard for 15 years, and have been deployed to the Middle East on several occasions. As a service member, I am pleased to hear that there are still places in the world where members of the Armed Services are judged by their individual actions, not by the policies they happen to implement. Thanks very much for looking at us as we are: A collection of America's finest citizens who happen to put on a uniform every day in an effort to make the world a better place than it was yesterday, even if it only affects one person at a time.
I remember my own visit to Normandy in the summer of 1968. Right out of college, my best friend and I were deeply impressed with the drama of the beaches and what the invasion meant in the history of Western civilization.
But I wouldn't worry too much about European criticisms of America. I was in Europe during one of the most troubled years for our country in the 20th century: two assassinations, a difficult war in southeast Asia, and social upheaval in the US. Europeans have felt free to criticize this country no matter who was in the White House.
John S. Kistler
Boreal forests affected by warming
Regarding the March 11 article, "Canada's carbon sink has sprung a leak": Author Mark Clayton is right to be concerned about the role the boreal forest will play in the future of our climate, but he's a little ahead of the curve about the pine beetle's current role in this complex drama. I have researched and written on natural resource issues in Canada for more than 15 years, including the recent pine beetle outbreak. Models do show that if current trends continue, pine beetles could begin infesting the boreal forest by 2020. But they're not now, which means the boreal's flip from carbon sink to carbon source is a result of something else, namely, a warming climate.
Pine beetle infestations, which are a natural part of complex ecological processes, so far have been limited to montane and subalpine forests in Alberta and British Columbia. Unfortunately, the forestry industry and the Canadian government have used the pine beetle as the latest in a long list of excuses to liquidate Canada's forests, largely to satiate America's growing demand for timber.
To think we can actually micromanage something as infinitely complex as the boreal forest for carbon alone is the height of hubris. The answer to the looming environmental catastrophes we have wrought – climate change, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity – is less manipulation of nature, not more.
How churches can keep congregants
Regarding the March 10 article, "Survey sees a drift away from religion in America": Although this article was informative, I didn't feel that there was an answer to the question of "Why?"
I feel that we who are religious must do more to make the church a home. The church must have love, understanding, and comfort within its walls so that people will stay because the loving connection of their faith in God and their church will convince them to return.
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