Climate change apology

In my Feb. 11 response to an OpEd by Dr. Paul Mayewski and Commander Darryl Lyon, I sincerely regret having used the language I did to describe the role of Dr. Mayewski in his climate work. The language was extreme, thoughtless and hurtful. I should never have said it.

I wrote: “The last alarming aspect of this op-ed was that Dr. Mayewski, a climate scientist, was working with the military to advance economic and strategic interests for business. I would feel far more trusting of academia if it was using its scientific insight to protect environment rather than exploit it. He casts himself then in a role similar to the psychologists who advised on how best to torture victims….”

No matter what political or environmental concerns I may have about development in the Arctic, they do not merit that kind of unnecessary and inaccurate innuendo. I apologize to him and anyone else harmed by that statement. Dr. Mayewski is a scientist and citizen of the highest caliber.

Robert Shetterly


Healthy Maine Partnerships

At Gov. Paul LePage’s town meeting in Westbrook on Feb. 11, there was a question regarding the future of Healthy Maine Partnerships (HMP) in light of the proposed dismantling of the state’s public health system. The citizen cited HMP’s long-standing success in reducing Maine’s youth smoking rate from one of the highest in the nation to one of the lowest. LePage responded by calling HMP “a poster program,” stating that much of their work involved “hanging posters in hallways and schools.” LePage and the Department of Health and Human Services believe the partnership’s monies should be channeled to primary care practices with the assumption that providers will tackle issues once reserved for community public health systems.

The Fund for a Healthy Maine, which supports the partnership, is not taxpayer dollars; it is part of the 1998 settlement with the tobacco industry for the recovery of tobacco-related health care costs and to develop strategies for anti-tobacco/smoking initiatives.

Primary care is only one piece of health care. Community public health systems both in the U.S. and Maine have long played a critical role in disease prevention, school-based health care, local policy change, and tackling emerging health threats. Both systems have co-existed for over a century and work best in this model.

HMP provides a crucial platform for communities to pool private, state, and federal resources for prevention, helping citizens change behaviors, and lower healthcare costs. Using posters is only one of many successful, comprehensive, evidence-based strategies used by HMP. To dismantle what has proven successful makes me wonder about our governor’s in-depth knowledge of and priorities for best health promotion practices in Maine.

Becky Bell, MSN, RN


Climate change, not acceptance

Thanks to Robert Shetterly for his excellent Feb. 11 OpEd about the Climate Change Institute’s failure to confront climate change. Instead of confronting, the institute encourages Big Oil-related entities to capitalize on climate changes in the far north.

In December 2102, I contacted Paul Mayewski, CCI’s director and urged that CCI, in addition to measuring climate change, start combatting it. In particular, I urged CCI to support the effort (then in its infancy) to persuade the University of Maine System to divest from fossil fuels. He replied, “CCI’s mission is to conduct science and improve predictions for future climate change.” He was not optimistic that the divestment effort would succeed, because “so many entities are based on carbon usage.” Ah, yes, precisely. Hence excessive carbon- emissions. Still, as Shetterly points out, CCI chooses to support Big Oil in the Arctic.

In January, the UMS trustees voted to divest from direct holdings in coal. To my knowledge CCI provided no input into that decision. I submit that it is high time for CCI to replace its encouragement of Arctic-exploitation with an effort to combat climate change. Support divestment from all fossil fuels and support efforts to persuade Congress to start charging a fee for carbon-emissions, as some 40 countries already do.

According to one study, enactment of the carbon fee and dividend legislation being proposed by Citizens’ Climate Lobby here in the U.S. would cause GDP to go up after five years, and in 20 years jobs will have increased by 2.8 million.

Fern Stearns


Ox or bull?

This picture in the Feb. 13 Bangor Daily News of Babe the Blue Ox looks like a picture of a fighting bull. There is a difference between an ox and a bull.

Bangor should come up with an ox to add by the Paul Bunyan statue.

Chuck Boe

Bemidji, Minnesota