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Readers share their thoughts on climate change and nutritional assistance programs.

Adopting an eco-friendlier lifestyle isn't that hard

Climate change is happening whether we like it or not. Oregon was on the cusp of making a groundbreaking law that would not only make a difference but be an example for others to follow. We could have been one of the early leaders in the fight against climate change.

The reason given most often for the failure is that it would cause hardship on Oregon drivers. Drivers of fossil fuel vehicles could offset any increase in fuel prices.

First, they could stop their bad driving habits: idling their vehicles while parked or in long predictable traffic stops like bridge lifts and road construction (iturnitoff.com), warming up vehicles (roadandtrack.com), and speeding (mpgforspeed.com).

Second, they could change their lifestyle. Our highways are clogged Monday through Friday with single occupancy vehicles (carpool or mass transit), avoid drive throughs (0 mpg and still polluting), telecommute as much as possible, replace a fossil fuel vehicle with an all-electric vehicle (Electrify America is making long distance travel more feasible for EVs).

The climate is changing faster than we are. Our state can't wait, our country can't wait, and our planet can't wait. The losers will be our children and grandchildren. Our government is finally doing something about climate change, but the people are not willing to do their part. Instead of thinking of excuses why we cannot change, we should think of reasons to change.

The alternative, climate change, will be a lot more expensive in the long run.

Stephen Kingsbury, Beaverton

Real people depend on SNAP benefits

I am a person of the Jewish faith and a retired licensed clinical social worker, so I know the facts about how families and children will be affected if the Trump administration takes food stamps away from working families. I also grew up on welfare, and for a period of time, food stamps were the only way my mother, sister and I survived.

So here is what changes in the SNAP program will do:

• It will prevent states from using cat-el and so will deny all SNAP assistance to more than three million people. [Ed.: This refers to the definition of broad-based categorical eligibility, also known as cat-el, which most states use to determine who can apply for SNAP benefits.]

• Once implemented, the new rule would not allow poor people to build savings and plan for their future, because any time they build up more than $2,250 in savings, or up to $3,500 for households with elderly or people with disabilities, they will lose their SNAP benefits. This rule, as proposed, is counterproductive. Allowing people to stay on SNAP while working allows them to focus on being successful, as my family was able to be when I was a child. Removing these families from the SNAP program will force families to worry every day about how they will pay for food. This worry is counterproductive to enabling families to succeed.

• There is a large body of research that has found that children in households receiving SNAP more likely to be in poor health, and/or to suffer anemia, than children who do not receive SNAP. So, children in the SNAP program whose families could not always afford food were less likely to be hospitalized due to SNAP.

• Young children in families whose SNAP benefits were recently lost or reduced due to an increase in income were more likely to be in "fair or poor health" and "at risk" for developmental delays, compared to children in families who did not lose SNAP benefits.

• USDA has estimated that 500,000 children will lose free school meals when their family loses SNAP benefits. USDA should not be in the business of inflicting harm on children by reducing their access to nutritious food.

• Children's health will likely suffer, and in turn increase the risk that they will fall behind in school.

• Children with health problems combined with poor school performance will find it harder to raise themselves out of poverty when they become adults like my mother, sister and I have been fortunate to have done.

For so many reasons, Christianity and Judaism's teachings from the Bible require us "to be our brothers keepers".

It's therefore unacceptable to take food away from working families, children, seniors and people with disabilities.

Robert N. Renard, Laurel


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