Should Say “Choice At End Of Life,” Not “Assisted Suicide”
In these times, I’m sure you will agree, that fact-checking is more important than ever. I will limit myself to Question#4 of the horrible “pro-Life” insert in your recent edition. As it relates to Vermont’s Act 39:
It is quite definitely not a “Physician Assisted Suicide Law” nor is it codified as such. Its proper title is: “An act relating to patient control and choice at end of life.”
The Patient themselves indeed must make the request for medication.
Since two disinterested parties must witness the signing of the request, an abusive caregiver cannot coerce the patient to sign.
Monique Signorat, Montpelier
Population Growth Destroys Environment
Thank you so much for devoting an issue to climate change. We desperately need more discussion and action about this issue which is threatening so much life on Earth including our own.
Unfortunately the primary cause of global warming is rarely mentioned, and that is population growth. If the world population was at one billion like it was in 1850 when the industrial revolution began instead of over 7.5 billion now, we wouldn’t be facing the problem we are now. Likewise, it would be good if the U.S. population was at about 30 million versus 318 million and the Vermont population at 300,000 instead of 626,000. And the world population is still growing at 80 million per year and the U.S. population at 2.5 million.
Fortunately Vermont’s population is stable although some political leaders, developers and economists want to grow it by tens of thousands. Each North American individual contributes an average of 27 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. So if a person lives to be about 70 that is about a whopping 1,890 tons just for that individual. How can we possibly grow the population and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at the same time? Never mind what population growth does to destroy other aspects of environment like our forests, open lands and water quality.
While population growth is the primary cause of our increase in greenhouse gas emissions, there are many secondary causes. We can do something about it like better insulating our homes but not eliminate it entirely because we still need to keep warm. A secondary cause that we can change is our individual lifestyle choices. These include going on cruises, flying in jet planes, driving unnecessarily large vehicles like pickup trucks, driving long distances for solely recreational purposes, mowing multi-acre lawns because they look nice and eating meat as a main part of our diet. Added together these lifestyle choices account for at least an estimated 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
It is time we consciously think about how many children to have, whether or not growing our population will help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and every single gallon of fuel we burn for our own personal pleasure whether directly or indirectly.
George Plumb, Washington
Up The Gas Tax To Raise Highway Cash
Our new president would like to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, a laudable goal. However, his proposal to pay for it with tax incentives and tax credits has been judged inadequate by many experts.
In my view, an increase in the national gas tax would be the most appropriate way to raise funds for highway-related infrastructure repairs and construction. The national gas tax, which is 18.4 cents per gallon, was last raised in 1993, so it has not kept up with inflation. Moreover, gasoline prices are relatively low now — which would minimize the impact on the consumer of a gas tax increase — and any gas tax increase could be phased in over a few years, further minimizing the impact.
Don’t tell the president, but a national gas tax increase would also further some of the same goals as a national carbon tax.
Phil Dodd, Montpelier
We are alarmed by the actions of President Donald J. Trump, to restrict immigration from any country to our country for four months. And we are shocked and angered he has banned all Syrian refugees, suspended immigration from seven majority Muslim countries (but not Saudi Arabia) for 90 days, and has cut the number of refugees to be resettled in the U. S. yearly from 110,000 to 50,000.
The Central Vermont Refugee Action Network is a grassroots non-profit organization based in Montpelier. We will stand strong to support those in need of safety from war. We will continue to work with the refugee resettlement program and welcome groups, to visit the State House, the History Museum and meet local and state leaders. We are seeking to help already-settled refugees from Chittenden County to improve their opportunities.
Trump’s threat to punish sanctuary cities by cutting federal grants is disturbing. Burlington and Montpelier have recently taken steps to provide protection for local undocumented immigrants. We are pleased that Attorney General T. J. Donovan has formed a task force to examine the impact of federal immigration and refugee policy on Vermont. And we are heartened by Governor Scott’s strong statement supporting our country’s deep tradition of welcoming refugees from many countries.
Members are prepared to welcome refugees, to advocate for them and provide assistance as they resettle here. The administration’s radical immigration policy hits close to home, as the first two refugee families from Syria have just arrived in Rutland, and were to be joined by other Syrians, who also need to escape from the intractable war in Syria, and to create a new community.
Edited for length
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