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Letters, Nov.15

Nick on Nick

Nicholas Goldberg, in the Nov. 11 Tribune, gave an interesting — and disparaging — history of the fate of writers who have run for public office. There have been some real doozies, like Norman Mailer, but Goldberg completely understates Nicholas Kristof’s credentials and capabilities.

Anyone who has read “Tightrope,” which Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, published last year, has seen the depth of his understanding of major issues facing Oregon, especially in our working-class communities. These include loss of blue-collar jobs, insufficient health care coverage, drugs, obesity and early death.

In Yamhill, he experienced them first hand, among many close friends he grew up with. And yes, he has written about them. Forcefully. In the New York Times and in this and other books.

More than cataloging problems, he has suggested policies that are both compassionate and effective. Oregon citizens would be doing themselves and their neighbors a real service by electing Nick Kristof to be our next governor.

John Love

Ashland

BYOC (bring your own cup)

A heart-breaking image, a mother sea bird feeding her baby, the baby flapping its wings, in vain. The “food” that makes it too heavy to fly is microplastic, now so prevalent in our oceans that this scene, recorded in “Plastic Oceans,” will be repeated millions of times.

Another scene: Starbucks customers up and down the Rogue Valley (and across the planet) enjoying a pumpkin spice latte or an iced flat white. The single-use cup it’s served in — either plastic or paper lined with plastic — will end up as litter, litter that taxpayers pay to dispose of, and that ocean and other wildlife creatures pay for with their lives.

According to Starbucks itself, the company distributes about 6 billion disposable cups and mugs worldwide each year.

But other companies are taking the high road. American Airlines announced it will cut plastic cup use. Many tourist companies require travelers to carry refillable water bottles. And Sen. Jeff Merkley has introduced a bill that would mandate companies to be responsible for their own plastic litter.

As we are witnessing at the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, many environmental problems are hard to solve. This one is easy. Just bring your own cup.

Janet Sonntag

Ashland