Seems a bit of irony that “the lure of nature” is driving RV sales (“The baby boomer RVolution,” July 29). Entire ecosystems are threatened by the burning of fossil fuels. Are the “flush” boomers passing off responsibility for climate change to the next generation?

Hey, boomers, it’s payback time. We’ve had better educational and employment opportunities than any generation in history, so how about we think about the grandchildren and do whatever we can to slow the pace of climate change?

The issue is not so much about technology or government policy as it is the example of our lifestyle. Perhaps we could try walking or biking to our communes with nature.

Harris Mills, Grand Marais, Minn.

LAND DEVELOPMENT

State discourages conservation, even for those who can afford it

I was dismayed to read that 93 acres in Orono, once preserved as forest and prairie by the Dayton family, will now be largely lost to development (“Sale of Dayton heir’s land rocks quiet Mooney Lake,” July 25). This is being driven by a shortsighted 2013 state law that prevents county assessors from reducing the value of property for land enrolled in a conservation easement. Instead, land maintained in a natural state will be assessed property taxes for its full development potential, effectively discouraging even the wealthy from protecting land via a conservation easement.

The motivation for the law is to prevent landowners from enjoying both monetary compensation from the conservation easement and a reduction in property tax burden. What the law fails to recognize is that the benefits of land protected in a natural state are enjoyed by not just the landowner, but by the community at large. These lands provide wildlife habitat, water quality benefits, carbon sequestration and aesthetic beauty. The value of these functions to the community are worth far more than the loss of property tax revenue. The consequences of discouraging land conservation today will be felt far into the future.

Tony Kaster, Plymouth

• • •

The article explained that less than half of the Daytons’ 93 acres will be protected because of a detrimental state tax amendment passed in April 2013. We live just south of the Dayton land and were 90 percent complete with a protection easement on our 16 acres. The lockup would have allowed only one house in perpetuity. This would have prevented potentially five homes being built bordering the Woodrill Scientific and Natural Area of 150 acres. It represented a substantial six-figure gift in land protection. When we learned in April that we would be punished, not thanked, for giving this gift, we did not complete the easement agreement. We are reconsidering our options. We hope future amendments will encourage protection of wildlife habitat and open spaces.

Fred Winston, Wayzata

 

PROPOSED PLASTIC BAG BAN

Consumers, retailers already practice good stewardship

Ask anyone walking down Nicollet Mall what they immediately do with plastic bags they get from a store, and the least likely answer is “toss them in the trash.” Most commonly you hear how bags are reused for dog walks, dirty shoes or bathroom trash can liners, or returned to the store for recycling. A Minneapolis resident will tell you they bring their own bags.

The fact is that consumers love having bag choices at checkout, depending on the items they are buying, and more often than not plastic bags are repurposed by the consumer or recycled at a neighborhood store. Retailers in Minneapolis frequently offer in-store recycling for consumers, including a significant effort to accept plastic bags for recycling. Nearly 100 percent of plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable, and when properly handled, these bags are turned into valuable everyday products such as playground equipment, composite decking and even kitchenware.

Can more be done with plastic bags to reduce their immediate trip to the landfill? Absolutely, but rather than punishing consumers by taking away their plastic-bag option and driving up prices through paper-bag fees, let’s invest our time and resources in encouraging recycling through education and continue to drive change that makes us more aware and responsible — an effort that will pay environmental dividends in many areas.

 

This letter was signed by Bruce Nustad of the Minnesota Retailers Association, Jamie Pfuhl of the Minnesota Grocers Association, Brad Meier of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, Lance Klatt of the Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association, Kevin Thoma of the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association and Dan McElroy of the Minnesota Restaurant and Lodging associations.

 

FETAL RESEARCH

Target Planned Parenthood, and you encourage abortion

In talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, I think it’s important to remember that PP prevents far more abortions than any other organization. Women having abortions come from all religions, ages and marital status. By providing free access to family planning and preventing unwanted pregnancies, the organization greatly reduces the need for abortion services. The availability of long-acting, safe contraception is reflected in the decrease in teen pregnancies and in the overall decrease in the number of abortions performed nationwide.

Abortions are being done to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, not to obtain fetal tissue. At present that is the woman’s choice as defined by law. If the procedure is done, it seems to me that obtaining some benefit is better than none. Those providing the fetal tissues for study charge more for certain types of tissue, reflecting the difficulty in obtaining and processing certain tissues, not to enhance their incomes. It is counterproductive to defund Planned Parenthood, as this will result in more, not fewer abortions. Our goal as a society is to promote responsible sexual activity, which includes contraception and the prevention of unwanted pregnancy.

Dr. Theodore Nagel, Minneapolis

• • •

To the writer of “[Fetal research critics’] ideologies leave them stuck in a contradiction” (Readers Write, July 31): There are flaws in your logic regarding the different types of human tissue donation. For an individual to choose to donate after a life well lived, or for a donation to be made after an unintended tragic accident, is nothing like and can’t be compared to the extraction of “fetal tissue” (or as I like to call it, a baby, who by the way had no ability to “choose”) from its mother’s body. Two are honorable, one is murder.

Debby Swanson, Edina

 

WEBBER PARK

New, natural swimming pool is just what was needed

My family had the pleasure of stumbling upon Webber Park and its new natural pool (“New pool has water, plain and simple,” July 28). What a welcome reprieve! Our two kids have gone to swimming lessons in chemical-blue chlorine pools, and their hair and skin have suffered for it. Swim in chlorinated waters more than once a week, and your kids’ hair and skin just give up trying to be natural — crunchy, green-tinted hair and smelly, dry skin.

The kids loved the pool at Webber Park and had a blast diving for rings and splashing around. It’s great that the Minneapolis park system is finally offering this choice for families — and it’s a great way to get more kids prepared for lake swimming.

Rob Davis, Minneapolis