Readers letters: Celebrate Earth Day with a quieter world
April 22 is Earth Day. a time to celebrate the beauty of nature and to protect the earth against pollution.
One often-neglected form of environmental pollution is noise. Most Americans are constantly bombarded by excessive noise — from car alarms, diesel trucks and gas-powered leaf blowers, to jackhammers, blaring stereos and back-up beepers.
All this noise is very harmful. High noise levels are associated with elevated blood pressure, heart disease, hearing loss, sleep deprivation, ringing of the ears, headaches and chronic fatigue. Excessive noise is also a cause of decreased job and academic performance.
Noise is also a climate change issue. Lawn and garden equipment creates up to 5% of the nation's air pollution. An EPA study indicates that a gas-powered leaf blower creates as much nitrogen oxide emissions and volatile organic compounds in one hour as 11 cars being driven for one hour.
So what can be done? Municipalities can ban gas-powered leaf blowers. Cities can vigorously enforce noise ordinances. Congress can reinstate the federal noise pollution control office.
You can join Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet (https://noisefree.org), and Quiet Clean PDX: Working to Eliminate Gas Leaf Blowers here in Portland (https://www.quietcleanpdx.org).
Make this one of your Earth Day actions.
Quiet Clean PDX
Noise Free America
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Want progress? End the filibuster
End the filibuster. Please join me in letting Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden know they need to fight hard to end the filibuster before someone starts a filibuster. It only takes 50 votes to end the filibuster if no filibuster is happening.
The filibuster was created to undermine our voice as voters and slow progress on critical issues. It's time to put an end to this Jim Crow relic and make sure our government is working for us. The filibuster is a loophole, historically used to block civil rights legislation.
The original Senate rules did not include the filibuster rule. The modern day filibuster was put in place in the Jim Crow era, when racist southern senators used it to delay passage of important civil rights legislation.
In my youth, a filibuster meant a U.S. senator had to talk continuously. When he stopped talking, the filibuster ended.
Senators no longer have to hold the floor, talking until they drop. It's now a stealth tool of obstruction. Any senator can signal an objection, and suddenly the Senate has to clear a 60-vote threshold.
The extremist Republicans will filibuster to stop President Biden's infrastructure bill in the Senate, despite the fact that a large majority of citizens of both parties are in favor of passing it.
We need to end the filibuster right now.
I don't want to see another situation in Biden's presidency that happened during the Obama administration, when Republicans blocked virtually all beneficial legislation that passed the House.
Lawmakers should fund farmers food programs
Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, one in 11 Oregonians faced food insecurity. Today, that number is one in four, a staggering increase.
As our Oregon legislators look to rebuild Oregon post-pandemic, they should be looking at local SNAP incentives programs, like Double Up Food Bucks, to help address the food needs of our communities.
Double Up Food Bucks is a statewide SNAP incentive program that increases access to local fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets, farm shares, and a growing number of locally owned grocery stores. A healthy diet provides health benefits for everyone.
For SNAP participants, however, adding more fruits and vegetables to one's diet is an affordable, effective way to combat risk factors and help reduce the incidence of chronic diseases like heart disease and type II diabetes.
Providing more people with access to healthy diets will help save the state money when we in turn reduce our rates of these chronic diseases.
Without continued funding by the Oregon Legislature in 2021, the program will be forced to drastically limit the number of participating farmers markets.
Double Up Food Bucks is an ideal investment for Oregon, serving an immediate need of providing healthy food that will have long-term health benefits, all the while investing in local farmers and local economies when they need it most.
The Legislature should include an investment in the state budget for it.
The Portland Clinic
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