A gift for the Earth

With Earth Day this week, I suggest to readers a slam-dunk way to a) help prevent added climate change by keeping carbon locked up in primary tropical rainforests; b) preserve an internationally recognized "hot-spot" of biological diversity; c) ensure the cultural survival of indigenous peoples of the Amazon.

Remarkably, a project in the Peruvian Amazon requires a paltry 50 cents to protect 1 acre of rainforest. (There are one-and-a-third acres in football field, end zones included). For less than the cost of a designer coffee, you can preserve 5 acres of tropical forest.

How is such a bargain possible?

The Peruvian government, in collaborations with indigenous tribes, placed the region Sierra del Divisor into reserve status, whereupon the indigenous peoples voted to create a Peruvian National Park. Contributions will create a Sierra del Divisor National Park, establish a White Sands National Reserve, and obtain land titles for 57 community territories to form a buffer zone. Funds will also help install park infrastructure, create management plans for protected areas, and train indigenous communities in park protection. The U.S. nonprofit Rainforest Trust is working with Peruvian partner, CEDIA, to protect 5.9 million acres.

For more details or to donate, go to: www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/tropical-rainforest/peru/ — Paul F. Torrence, Ashland

Libraries are important

Even if one never enters our libraries, supporting them keeps our property values from falling and our crime rate down.

In a recent Pew Research Center report, 90 percent of Americans said closing libraries would have a major impact on their communities. In fact, 95 percent of these citizens said that the materials and resources available at public libraries are important in giving anyone the chance to succeed. In addition, 95 percent of those surveyed said that public libraries promote literacy and a love of reading.

The report also found that 94 percent report a public library improves the quality of life in a community. If we don't support our libraries, we will end up just paying more in many other negative ways. — Ed Polish, Ashland

Big Ag doesn't care

Following the paper trail of donors against 15-119 is easy enough: Syngenta, Monsanto, et. al.

If the money trail isn't proof enough of who benefits from GMO, consider this: The same people told us tobacco was safe, told us hormones and antibiotics were safe in meat and dairy and that food (corn) is good to use in gasoline.

Why would we believe Big Ag, again? Big Ag cares nothing for you. It cares only to sell product, seeds and chemicals to big farm corporations, none of whom have any relationship with you (the end consumer), your kids or grandkids.

We have a thriving, local, small-farm industry. The money generated by this small-farm industry stays here, is spent and invested here. Why would we kill an entirely local family industry just to support out-of-state Big Ag and their cohort Big Chem? What are we, stupid? — Art Kent, Central Point

Walden targets Antiquities Act

Congressman Greg Walden has targeted the Antiquities Act, signed into law in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Act gives presidents the authority to designate national monuments. Over 100 such monuments have been established, including George Washington's birthplace, Oregon Caves, and the Statue of Liberty. Sixteen presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect precious national assets all across our land as a salute to our heritage and as a gift to future generations.

Recently, President Obama designated a national monument on the California coast. His action is reflective of similar actions taken by President George W. Bush. But despite precedent and the wonderful results, Walden has co-sponsored legislation (HR 1459) to make the Antiquities Act almost meaningless.

If Walden objects to any of the existing national monuments, he should identify them and tell us why. Or is he simply against anything that President Obama does, regardless of value? Perhaps he should attend, instead, to more urgent legislative business, like helping to create jobs. — Robert Binnewies, Ashland

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