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We recently read that Minnesota lawmakers approved a two-year moratorium on new cemeteries offering green burials. It appears to have happened because of concerns by some residents of Carlton County about a green cemetery that was about to open in the county. We believe that the moratorium is based on unfounded fears of the unknown by some residents in the county about green burials.

The moratorium seems unnecessary for a variety of reasons. The concerns expressed by some residents included the possibility of groundwater pollution, animals digging up bodies and wild animals that may traumatize residents by scattering human body parts. According to the Green Burial Council, there have been no reports from any U.S. green burial cemeteries that have caused ground pollution or had unearthed human bodies.

Though the concept of green burial may be foreign to some people, green burial was common practice in the United States until the Civil War. Bodies were embalmed so that the soldier's body could be returned to loved ones for burial. Additionally, Jewish and Muslim burials are essentially green burials and have taken place for centuries with no problems. Muslim and Jewish burials are not only religious requirements, but they are also environmentally healthier than cremations or burials that involve embalming and/or the use of caskets and vaults.

Though green burials are foreign to many people, they have been done for many years, are safe and are a more environmentally beneficial alternative to other final dispositions of a body after death.

This letter is signed by the Threshold Ministry Team at Mayflower United Church of Christ: Teena Bolin, the Rev. Sarah Campbell, Marc Markell, Maggie O'Connor, Linda Ridlehuber, Susan Rose and Penny Tower.


Want to preserve the river? Me, too

I always enjoy reading Dennis Anderson's perspective on the great outdoors, but I believe his best work is when he is able to get out in the field. His most recent report from the field ("Wild, scenic beauty on the St. Croix," July 23), in the National Scenic Riverway managed by the National Park Service, made me feel like I was fishing in the drift boat with him. The article provided important historical background and addressed some of the threats currently facing the National Scenic Riverway.

Anderson's article could not have been better timed. The National Park Service is currently conducting listening sessions for its Comprehensive River Management Plan and is accepting public comments to help them shape the plan. Your input can help preserve this national treasure for future generations. Comments are accepted at tinyurl.com/river-comments.

The comment period is open until Aug. 8.

Rick Neville, Eden Prairie


I was disappointed to see an omission in "The plight of the firefly" (July 23). The author fails to mention that grub killers, commonly used for lawns, will affect firefly larvae as well. There are other ways to have healthy yards, and it's time we stop questing for a perfect green carpet while destroying biodiversity.

Karin Burseth, St. Anthony


Long past time for problem-solving

All around us we see the consequences of decades of inaction on climate change. The "new normal" isn't normal at all, and it is becoming clear that everything that can be done must be done as soon as possible to limit further damage. Business as usual is no longer an option.

If your political party and your candidates aren't talking about climate change and offering solutions, they are telling you what they are: opportunists who are distracting people from the real challenges and harsh realities of this crisis and are incapable of leading. Like it or not, we will face the consequences of their continued denial of the problem together. We already are, and it's terrifying, but together we can look to the future with some hope.

Lisa Burke, St. Paul


Prevention is a sound investment

The unprecedented investment that the Minnesota Legislature made to address homelessness, particularly youth homelessness, is a sound one. Research I conducted with an economist (summarized at youthlinkmn.org/the-cost-of-homelessness/) described the enormous cost to taxpayers for young people who remain homeless, a status that only gets harder to reverse as time passes. Examining detailed costs for a large group of Minneapolis youth experiencing homelessness showed that the entire annual cost of intervention programs designed to assist them in achieving independence would be offset if just 6% of them became financially self-sufficient. This finding demonstrates both the high cost of ongoing homelessness and the value to taxpayers of fully funding programs to reduce it.

Further, as the Wilder Research report on youth homelessness emphasizes, a key to successful efforts to end youth homelessness is the case managers who engage with youth in crisis and assist them to find the help and stability they seek. My team's longitudinal research on what works found that compared to youth who do not engage with case managers, those who do are more likely to use supportive housing and to stay housed longer. They're also more likely to finish high school and connect to state support programs for which they are eligible. They're much less likely to be convicted of a felony. This research (summarized at z.umn.edu/ml_youthhomelessness) demonstrates that more beds for youth experiencing homelessness are essential but so are dedicated case managers who work with them.

Thank the Legislature for making this smart investment.

Steven Foldes, St. Louis Park

The writer is an adjunct associate professor of epidemiology and community health, University of Minnesota.


If Trump's so innocent, he should be eager to prove it

Trump's attorneys say that a May trial on the document mishandling charges is too close to the election to be "fair" ("Trump documents trial set for late May — during '24 campaign," July 22). If they truly feel that is the case, they can request that the date be moved up and the trial happen sooner.

What would really be unfair to the voters would be to delay the trial until after the election. The electorate should know if he is guilty or not before the election. There is a temptation to judge him in advance of the trial, but this is America, and he remains innocent until proven guilty.

If his attorneys believe he is innocent, then the sooner it is proven, the better for him and them.

Jim Brandes, Robbinsdale


Regarding "Trump documents trial set for late May — during '24 campaign": Problem of overflowing jails and prisons? Easy solution — let the accused decide when it is best to be tried.

Clare Cooper, Olivia, Minn.