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Fossil fuels? Solar? Change is hard but it’s for the better | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
The sun sets behind Georgia Power's coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation's top carbon dioxide emitters, in Juliette, Ga. This pollution contributes to climate change. People need to understand the health impacts of climate change. [AP photo | Branden Camp (2017)]
The sun sets behind Georgia Power's coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation's top carbon dioxide emitters, in Juliette, Ga. This pollution contributes to climate change. People need to understand the health impacts of climate change. [AP photo | Branden Camp (2017)]
Published Jan. 31

Biden is putting a higher price on carbon pollution | Column, Jan. 28

We adapt and new jobs arise

It has come to my attention that many Americans worry that transitioning from petroleum-based fuels and toward sustainable fuel sources may be problematic. Clean-energy skeptics fear that thousands of people who work in the petroleum industry, or industries supported by petroleum production, will risk losing their jobs. I cannot argue this point.

I imagine, however, that when the world transitioned from whale oil to petroleum, many whalers lost the ability to hurl harpoons for a living. What about the corset makers, who relied on whale bone? Whaling shipwrights, anchor smiths, sail sewers and whale oil lamp makers all suddenly found themselves out of work. And yet. Can we assume that corset factories began making other types of fashionable items? Did whale oil lamp companies tweak their lamp designs to allow for the burning of kerosene?

I’ll quit belaboring the point. A transition from petroleum-based fuels to more Earth-friendly options is better for the planet, will eventually be more economical and will provide for jobs that today we haven’t even imagined. Transition is often hard. That does not mean we should not haul-anchor and set sail toward the bright horizon of a cleaner and healthier tomorrow.

And in a hundred years? Our children’s children will go on a field trip to visit a small “Village of Yesteryear” filled with gas-powered lawn mowers, oil-fired furnaces and gas-guzzling automobiles. They will shake their heads at the lessons of past smoke-choking inefficiency, then climb back on their electric hover-bus. They will look out of the windows at the green earth rolling by and wonder at the endless possibilities of the grateful world they have been given. So I say, “Anchors aweigh!”

Robert Bardach, Trinity

Bait House for the birds or not at all | Perspective, Jan. 24

What Bait House could be

Thank you to Roy Peter Clark for his column showcasing the history of the Pier Bait Shop. He is a wonderful advocate for the brown pelican, our signature bird.

The Bait Shop held a nostalgic place in the hearts of many, myself included. It was the sole surviving piece of the “Million Dollar Pier,” a favored attraction of my parents, grandparents, and most long time St. Pete residents. Numerous people and organizations reached out to me inquiring how we might incorporate it somewhere in our city, hopefully at the new Pier. While we had been working on a plan for many months, none of them included its being returned to use as its historic function as a Bait Shop.

What we envisioned instead was the Bait Shop being placed at the end of the Pier’s “Marketplace,” an extension of the pop-up shops. It would fit nicely at the end of the solar shade awning, and could tie into its electric grid for power. It could serve as a retail shop and double as a tourism stand for Preserve the Burg or another local organization. Guests could meet for a tour of the Pier with a historic building as the appetizer.

When I travel these days, I choose destinations with rich histories of preservation and place. Charleston. Savannah. New Orleans. Nashville. While the new Pier is a modern marvel, there is always an opportunity to honor our heritage. In this year’s budget I hope to set aside money for the construction of a replica structure. We can learn from the mistakes of even our recent history, by rebuilding what was lost. It just makes sense — financially and culturally.

Robert Blackmon, St. Petersburg

The writer represents District 1 on the St. Petersburg City Council.

Biden plans surge of climate policies, including drilling pause | Jan. 27

Don’t reject what still works

Just days into his presidency, “Blue Collar Joe” Biden has done more to eliminate jobs than create them. Moving toward renewable energy is a good thing; I have solar at my home, but with today’s technology I don’t think there is enough usable area for solar or wind to operate our needs. The lesson is simple: Don’t quit what is already working until the new thing is completely up to speed.

Howard Wagar, Spring Hill

We’re poles apart at defining ‘unity’ | Column, Jan. 28

No profanities on flags

My grandson, who is 10, saw a huge flag on a homeowner’s front lawn that read “F--- Biden.” He asked why someone would fly such a flag. I responded by explaining the First Amendment, which protects free speech; however, I also told him the homeowner could have displayed his contempt for the president without using vulgarity. Our young citizens have witnessed enough violence and hatred in America since Election Day. These flags leave an indelible impression on young minds. Please, kindly think of the young kids in your neighborhood who read your flags daily. They are our future, and their ideas will be impacted by your vitriol.

Michelle Shimkus, Spring Hill

Shopper in Michigan had windfall | Jan. 24

Spread out lottery jackpots

Concerning the person who won the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot: Nobody needs that much money. What’s wrong with distributing a little bit more so everyone has a chance of winning a little something? I would buy more tickets if I thought I might win, say, a thousand bucks.

Leo Ouellette, New Port Richey

I’d like my first shot | Letter, Jan. 29

Done being Charlie Brown

In the Peanuts comic universe, there is a recurring story about Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown. Over and over again, Lucy promises to hold the football, and every time Charlie Brown tries to kick it, she pulls it away. Charlie lands on his back, and Lucy laughs. Over and over again, Pinellas County health authorities have opened reservations for COVID-19 vaccines, holding the football, in a sense. I am Charlie Brown. The system crashes and I fail. But I refuse to repeat this behavior; that is the definition of insanity. I’m 65, with high blood pressure, a bad heart valve, an aneurism waiting in the wings, and I have given up trying to get vaccinated. I suppose, at some future date, the vaccine will be freely available, so much so that CVS will have a sign out front announcing its availability, and Publix will offer me a $10 gift card. For now, like Lucy with the football, I’m done with this. Charlie Brown out.

Brian Shannon, Dunedin