Environment

Dear President Dunn, My coccyx hurts. Normally this isn’t how you begin a letter, complaining about a pain in the rear, but it is because of this pain that I feel compelled to write this to you. The controversy surrounding the student consensus of “we should have had a snow day,” on Tuesday Jan. 28 is in the past. Nevertheless, it is an experience that transcends to today’s incident involving my coccyx. Yesterday, WMU News issued a cold weather warning advising students to take appropriate precautions (such as wearing suitable clothing) and to use the Bronco Transit and Kalamazoo Metro Transit system. Taking this advice I wore two pairs of gloves, and several other layers as I made the four block walk to the bus stop. There, I waited for over half an hour while wind and blowing snow...
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Dearest New York City, Do you like roller coasters? I do. Love ’em, actually. So much so that I’m willing to withstand wait times that are well over an hour just for a thrill that’ll only last for two minutes at best. But you’ve been taking me and the rest of New York for a ride as of late, one that I definitely did not sign up for. Nope, I am not here for this roller coaster weather. Not. One. Bit. It was all good just a week ago. The high was at around smooth 60 degrees, the sun was beaming, and so too was the smile on my face, because for what seemed like the first time in a while, I could walk out of the house without a scarf and/or gloves. Ahhh. Life was great. Cut to this past weekend: 70 degrees. Finally, weather worth shaving my legs for. And that I did. It seemed like it was...
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Dear Weather Channel, It’s me again. I had spoken out back in March about your long-form programming choices, integration of seemingly-unrelated NBC news into your weather products, and naming of winter storms. I don’t need to beat that dead horse. But now I’d like to ask you to listen to your audience just a little. It’s apparent when you’re asking for more money for DirecTV to air your network that you’re living in a dream world. It seems to me that with all the media rhetoric about your programming choices and naming of winter storms, you’d get the hint: The public wants The Weather Channel to show…wait for it…wait for it…the weather. I understand that it’s expensive to do that. And that advertisers are resistant to offering you money on a gamble that their purported...
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Dear Nigel, I was concerned for you on the news the other night. I’ve never seen you looking uncomfortable in front of the camera before. Answering questions about climate change with water all around you left you short of breath and a bit panicky, I thought. A pint in your hand would have helped settle the nerves. I’ll buy you one – it would give me a chance to talk through a couple of things (I’m with you on the straight glass thing by the way). You said to the journalist: “I have no idea whether CO2 emissions are contributing to climate change.” Well, I’m an academic at the Open University, a social scientist working with climate scientists and technology specialists, so I can help you with that one. In the mid 1980s it was agreed by governments and the top science...
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Dear weather, On behalf of all the students at this university (and other schools in the area), I would like to thank you for the recent snow days you have provided us. Your fluffy white excuse to stay home from classes was a blessing to all. For those who have been struggling to find time for friends, these two days off were just what the doctor ordered: time to catch up and enjoy one another’s company over a hot chocolate or an Irish coffee, time to plop down on the couch and watch a nostalgic movie. These snow day memories will always be cherished; they help complete the college experience. Two days off allowed for stress-free studying for those of us behind on our homework. Just when readings and assignments began to pile up, you threw a wrench into class schedules and cut us all a...
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Dear Premier Wynne, I’m writing to you on Earth Day to request that your government take action to protect the places we love in Ontario. Specifically, I’m requesting that tomorrow’s budget reverse cutbacks to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. These two Ministries are responsible for protecting our natural heritage and environment while managing our valuable natural resources. Although we live in a more complex world with increasing demands and threats to our environment and natural resources, these Ministries receive less funding today than in 1992. As a matter of fact, according to the Environment Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), Ontario consistently spends less on environmental protection and natural resource...
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Dear Emil, Monkeetime, and the rest, I haven’t been this angry in a long time. In fact, I doubt I have ever been this angry. I was raised to respect people as equals, and I am doing my best to keep that in mind. I am truly, however, disappointed and ashamed to have to call you as such. Please know that there is nothing more I would like to do than cuss you out, but I am a better person – not better than you, but better than that. I cannot understand and I cannot even begin to fathom how utterly and completely selfish you must be. It is not a joke. It is not even remotely funny. People have lost families and loved ones because of the earthquake. If you did or did not cause it is not the point. If the mountain has spirits or not is not the point. The point is you. The point is your...
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Dear Jay Z, First of all: Big fan! I’ve listened to your music for years; I’ve admired how you’ve become much more than an entertainer, and you have perhaps the coolest line I’ve ever heard, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” But recently, you made a comparison about water and music. And since water is my business, I have to say, “Stick to your own business, man!” I get what you are saying. Artists should be paid for the music they create. But to say that “water is free while music is $6” isn’t exactly true. This isn’t meant to state the obvious fact that some people can’t pay their water bills, so water must not be free. But your comments bring up the issue of how people value water — an issue our industry struggles with all the time. Right now, Denver Water...
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Consumer knowledge on the destructiveness of palm oil production – found in everything from ice cream and crackers to detergents and cosmetics, is rising. Increased awareness is sorely needed, as more and more forests are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. There are a lot of questions around the use of palm oil. The Rainforest Action Network, which has been working on this issue for some time, has an excellent factsheet on palm oil, which is briefly excerpted here: What is Palm Oil? Palm oil is a globally-traded agricultural commodity that touches our lives in every trip we make to the supermarket. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from pulping the fruit of oil palms originally native to Africa. Palm oil is commonly used as a cooking oil...
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Dear Plastic Bag banners, While I support the cause that would remove plastic bag litter from clogging our waterways and potentially harming fowl and fish, I ask this question: Why don't we ban cigarettes whose "butts" litter our streets, parks, playgrounds, highways, etc and in doing so find their way to our streams and rivers where their cancer-cause chemicals leaking into our precious environment? I know what to do with my plastic bags when I am done using them--I put them in the trash or I recycle them. What are we supposed to put our pet poop in? Put them is special cloth bags?
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