Better forest management makes as much sense as a solution to the increasing frequency and severity of wildfires as better flood control for the increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes — useful to a degree, but record-high temperatures and hurricanes will just keep coming. Whether or not you believe climate change is human-caused, it is in our own best interests to reduce our burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation, major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in our country. This is the best way we can reduce the amount of carbon added to our atmosphere and thereby slow down the warming that is drying out our coastal grasslands and woods and increasing the strength of hurricanes.

The time has arrived when we must act not just for sake of our children and grandchildren but for ourselves as well. If the president was right when he said about the changing climate that “it will start getting cooler, just you watch” (“Trump, Biden clash over climate change,” front page, Sept. 15) then so much the better. But look where his predictions about the disappearance of the coronavirus have gotten us. I think we would do well to hedge our bets and vote for candidates at all levels of government who will take action to support our transition to a renewable energy economy rather than continue in denial.

Bill Kaemmerer, Edina

• • •

Thank you to the recent letter writers who took on climate deniers (“We’ve got to stop this,” Sept. 15). The letters pointed to recent fire and hurricane catastrophes as support of their arguments. And very good arguments they were!

But perhaps the best argument in support of action to address climate change is that predictions of such fires and storms occurring more frequently and being more severe were published as far back as the mid-1990s. One research paper predicted increased fire frequency due in part to climate change. Another research paper published in JSTOR in 1997 predicted increased and more intense hurricanes and tropical storms, also because of climate change.

Scientists have offered very specific reasoning for their climate change predictions. It is the responsibility of humanity to respect and heed the tremendous effort scientists have invested. They have exposed the canary in the coal mine; it is up to us to make the changes to save everyone.

Nancy Hassett, Big Lake

GARRISON KEILLOR

I would not call them ‘incidents’

In Monday’s edition, at the end of the B1 article “MPR’s Combs quits over story,” the Star Tribune says that Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with me in 2018 after investigating “dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents” involving me. I don’t know what MPR investigated but there were no “incidents” as I understand the word: There was an exchange of flirtatious e-mails between me and a freelance writer I had known for 13 years. She wrote hers and I wrote mine. Then they stopped and our working relationship continued until I retired. I don’t know when mutual flirtation became “sexually inappropriate” — MPR’s attorney said at the time that there can be no mutual consent when there is a power imbalance, which strikes me as demeaning to my friend, to say she didn’t flirt of her own free choice.

There is a power imbalance between any two people you can find on earth, depending on what you mean by “power.” I married a powerful woman in 1995 who threw me off-balance, though I had an impressive job title and she did not. She was a freelance musician who played on the show, and if MPR had fired me for flirting with her, I’d have considered myself lucky. We are still married.

Garrison Keillor, Minneapolis

PRIESTS’ COVID COMMENTS

This morning, I unfolded the paper and learned I’m going to hell. Huh.

I was surprised to learn upon opening the Sept. 15 Star Tribune that although I’m Catholic, I’m still doomed to hell because I’m also a Democrat (“2 priests deny pandemic, condemn Democrats,” front page). A priest said all of us with that dual loyalty share that fate.

The same article quoted another priest who said that COVID-19 is a man-made sham. That will come as a surprise to my wife, a medical technologist called out of retirement to assist with thousands of COVID-19 tests at the hospital lab where she spent her career.

When priests and others in my church spout such nonsense, I’m often called upon to explain to my non-Catholic friends that I’m a member of a very large, diverse and often messy denomination, reflecting many points of view but unified in its commitment to the Christian message of love and forgiveness.

But when messages from the pulpit are so distorted and misinformed that they risk public health and safety, they must be condemned. In the same way, when priests undercut a key tenet of church teaching — that we are called to make personal decisions based on informed, enlightened consciences — and condemn sincere Catholics for political views, bishops must step in to correct those priests and seek to heal the divisions they create.

I’m embarrassed, angry and puzzled as to what sort of seminary training produced priests such as these. But until I’m shown the door, I’ll also remain a Catholic, proud of my church’s work for social justice and my commitment to its community of faith and Christian love.

Patrick Hirigoyen, St. Paul

• • •

I’ll be brief here. I see that priests in Crystal, Minn., and La Crosse, Wis., are busy playing politics, the La Crosse priest calling Catholic Democrats “godless” hypocrites and the Crystal priest calling COVID-19 an evil, man-made conspiracy. If the churches want to be bold enough to play politics, maybe they should be bold enough to pay taxes.

Jim Waggoner, Bloomington

• • •

I was raised in St. Raphael’s Church in Crystal. I was educated in St. Raphael’s grade school. I was an altar boy in the church. The Rev. Thomas Fenelon, the founding pastor, came to my home. Father Fenelon used to play baseball with us at recess before he was stricken with polio. I think Father Fenelon and all the nuns that educated me would call for the Rev. Robert Altier (who said COVID was a conspiracy) to be removed immediately! He is ignorant, irresponsible and dangerous!

David Cummings, St. Paul

U SPORTS

These cuts save little and help none

In reference to “Three U men’s teams unlikely to be spared” (Sept. 13), I’d like to share a perspective.

The $2 million saved in 2022 through the cuts of three nonrevenue sports won’t fix a projected $75 million deficit. This is just a preview of more to come unless more creative vision for the funding of college sports is developed.

As the school’s mission statement reads: “The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that understanding enriches all people, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people ... .”

It would be commendable to apply the thought and knowledge of the University of Minnesota mission statement to the current budget dilemma. These three sports and the Title IX/women’s athletics issue did not cause the projected $75 million deficit, cutting them will not solve the problem, and these teams ought not be the scapegoats in a remedy. Let’s put our “higher education” thinking brains to work to find a more equitable and sustainable funding solution to a current deficit without decimating the future and legacy of track and field, tennis and gymnastics at the University of Minnesota.

Dan Humes, St. Paul

The writer ran track from 1971-1974.

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