Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Nov. 10

Jay Ambrose smears whistleblowers

Jay Ambrose’s recent opinion piece on The Olympian’s editorial page about the impeachment inquiry is full of false statements, innuendo, half truths, and loaded language. He steadily smears the people who reported concerns about the President to the appropriate government agencies, saying, for example, that they “summoned up the gall to speak out,” are “breaking their word,” and are “in hiding.”

The Whistleblower Act passed the Senate 97-0 and the House on a voice vote, then was signed into law by Republican President George H. W. Bush. It was designed for this sort of situation. It gives government employees a way to report the possible existence of activities such as a violation of law, mismanagement, an abuse of authority, or wrongdoing that directly affects our national security – without fear of losing their jobs for raising the issue.

Ambrose complains the whistleblower “knew nothing first hand” and calls this “an unproved tale,” which is completely beside the point, since the issues they raised were so serious the White House had to release a transcript of the call. It’s still not complete, but anybody can read what Trump said. Putin is carrying on a low grade war in Eastern Ukraine, and immediately after the Ukrainian president told him they were anxious to get more missiles the White House was holding up, Trump said, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” and went on at some length about how he wanted him to start investigations he hoped would damage Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden politically.

Thad Curtz, Olympia

Birds are the canary in the coal mine

The fate of birds is a harbinger of the fate of humans and all living things. I appreciate the commentary in The Olympian Oct. 17 describing National Audubon’s recent, comprehensive report on the effects of climate change on birds. This report finds that 389 North American birds (64% of those studied) may lose half or more of their current range to climate change this century. Addressing climate change now can improve the chances of survival for 75% of those species.

By the end of this century, under “business as usual,” a common summer visitor, the Rufous Hummingbird, would lose almost all of its range in Western Washington while gaining a bit on the slopes of Mount Rainier.

Similar changes are occurring today — and not just to birds. For example, Guatemalan farmers are being pushed up mountain slopes until the mountain top is reached and there is nowhere to go. The Audubon report projects that climate change will occur 20 times faster than in the past 2 million years. Birds have adapted to changing conditions in the past, but can they adapt twenty times as fast? Can we?

To cap temperature rise to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 C), we need to reduce greenhouse emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions (emissions balanced by sequestration in forests and soils) by the middle of the century. Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, and Thurston County have agreed to similar goals; we need to help them get it done.

Sam Merrill, chair of the Black Hills Audubon Conservation Committee, Olympia
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