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Letters, Jan. 21

The carbon cycle

The carbon cycle is one of Earth’s natural cycles. Basically, it’s how plants use energy from the sun to take carbon dioxide out of the air and break it down into carbon and oxygen.

Plants release the oxygen back into the air and use the carbon to make leaves, branches, and tree trunks. When the trees die, all that material falls to the forest floor and over millions of years geological processes bury it deep into the Earth, storing it safely away. These natural processes have kept greenhouse gases at very low levels and kept global warming at bay, until now.

The carbon cycle has been going on since there have been plants on the Earth. Over time, natural processes converted the buried plant material into coal and oil. Much later we stated digging up the coal and oil and burning it for energy. During burning, the carbon reunites with oxygen and is released back into the air as carbon dioxide, increasing the principle greenhouse gas causing global warming.

We are digging up all that carbon and manufacturing carbon dioxide faster than the Earth can rebury it via the carbon cycle. That’s how humans cause global warming. It’s that simple.

Steve Bull

Medford

A symptom

The federal government shutdown, in my opinion, is a symptom of what I consider to be a “Trump Disease.” It needs to be eradicated.

Fred Fleetwood

Trail

Democrats should compromise

Why doesn’t the Democratic majority in Congress compromise with the president?

It seems to me that the great majority of those who are suffering are their own constituents, Democrats. Why won’t Pelosi and Schumer help those who put them in office?

Maybe Trump should declare a national emergency. After all, many of the so-called “power Democrats” supported the idea of a wall (barrier) before the Trump administration. Think American, not partisanship.

Brian Matuse

Medford

The good exceeds the bad

It’s the middle of winter; it’s cold and dreary and we may be depressed by the shortened day length. The news is equally depressing covering wars and genocides.

We face our own national political gridlock over a “wall” resulting in a shutdown hurting millions of citizens far out of proportion to its questionable benefits. Then there is a barrage of climate-related catastrophes.

If we are not directly affected by this array of depressing events, it’s easy to just hope they will solve themselves and go away.

Despite the evening news, I remain convinced that good in the world, while not always newsworthy, far exceeds the bad. People who want to do something are expressing their concerns to elected officials and becoming active in positive causes worldwide.

Here at home, we can offer to help folks who are affected by the shutdown. Or we can join a group active in addressing solutions to local problems. Southern Oregon Climate Action Now (SOCAN), for example, offers a science-based Master Climate Protector course this February where you can learn about climate science and what you can do. Go to (socanmcp.eco) for more information.

Eric Dittmer

Medford

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