Next generation: Please do better
Climate crusader is Person of the Year | Dec. 12
When I was a young man, I was taught that we should strive to leave things better than we found them. Now, sufficiently into AARP years that the ephemeral nature of life has become personal, I have come to the realization that, as a generation, we have substantially failed. There have been positives and progress in some areas, to be sure. However, despite mounting evidence that our increasing impact on the natural world was not sustainable, we have continued under the illusion that somehow what is unsustainable could be maintained. We are now faced with global challenges, which unless aggressively addressed in the immediate future, will alter the path of humanity and the natural world. We have demanded the right to continue to maintain our lifestyles, knowing that the inevitable cost will be shouldered by future generations. The future we leave to those who follow will surely not be better, and in fact much more dire, than that which was left to us. “Success” has become equated with acquisition, consumption and GDP, no matter the cost to others or the world, so long as our comfort is ensured, and egos bolstered. So often the true costs of our actions are obscured or distant, allowing us to dismiss, rationalize, or ignore the terrible impacts to our fellow men and women and to living systems. Truly repulsive are those who knowingly disseminate misinformation so that they can increase their transitory wealth and power, with the understanding that the devastating and lasting costs will fall on those who follow. As the challenges we now face are global, isolationism only exacerbates the problems and lessens the potential that we might somehow meet those challenges. To the generations that follow, I can only offer a heartfelt apology, with the hope that your wisdom and humanity will mitigate the damages that have been wrought, so that you might succeed where we have failed.
Stephen Schultz, Safety Harbor
The writer is a professor at St. Petersburg College.
Welcome to a new citizen
Take a bow, maestro | Dec. 13
With all the negative news these days, it is refreshing to see a positive and wonderful story! Congratulations to Michael Francis, conductor of the Florida Orchestra, on becoming a U.S. citizen. I have seen Mr. Francis conduct many times. He is quite talented, bright and charming. He has a terrific sense of humor. It is with joy that he is welcomed into the clan we call Americans. To him and all the other people who became citizens recently, I welcome you. This country is home to many immigrants who have made this country great.
Marilyn Satinoff, Palm Harbor
Not feeling economic boost
I’ve been a licensed tile installer for the last 34 years in St. Petersburg. After the tax change, my accountant told me to have my payroll company take $215 more in withholding than I was previously. That means I have $215 less in take-home pay each paycheck. My refund this year was around $250, so I’m glad I did as she instructed. Most of my supplies and materials for work come from places like Italy and China and cost a lot more as a result of the tariff war. That means my business expenses are way up, yet my deductions are down. So I ask, how has the current administration under President Donald Trump made life better for self-employed working people like me? The president talks a good game, but I’m sure not feeling the love, and neither is my wallet.
Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg