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Letters, April 14

Anti-vaccine? Check Grandma’s arm

Your parents and your grandparents bear a small scar on their shoulder that they might survive, and your mere survival is a result, as may be that of your children.

Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 300 million people in the 20th century and around 500 million people in the last 100 years of its existence. It was prevented by the smallpox vaccine and declared eradicated in 1980.

Polio was the most feared disease of the 20th century. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio paralyzed or killed over 500,000 people worldwide every year. Before a vaccine, polio caused more than 15,000 cases of paralysis a year in the U.S. with over 3,000 deaths. Those who survived often ended up debilitated — using crutches or wheelchairs or put into an iron lung to be able to breathe.President Roosevelt (paralyzed from polio) organized the nonprofit National Institute of Infant Paralysis, aka March of Dimes.

In fighting coronavirus, perhaps the citizens (you) and governments of the world will rise to the occasion and demonstrate what is possible when we work together.

It’s often said that vaccines save lives, but this is not strictly true; it is vaccination that saves lives. A vaccine that remains in the vial is 0% effective even if it is the best vaccine in the world.

Polio was declared eliminated from the United States in 1979 (thank you, Dr. Jonas Salk).

I’d like to meet you someday, alive.

Pat Weber


Tackling the climate challenge

Thank you, Ashland Tidings, for printing the article on April 6, “Carbon dioxide spikes to critical new record.”

This was a sharp reminder of the dangerous levels of carbon emissions. It was timely.

Our government is putting together a climate package that we can add to. The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act has just been reintroduced in Congress, this April. The Citizens Climate Lobby has been working to promote carbon pricing for years, and it seems that this is the time to see it through.

Citizens can encourage lawmakers, laws can be made to subdue the carbon spike. Search (Citizensclimatelobby.org) and you may see how to be part of this process. You can find several climate acts that are in the works. You may like another better, you may decide to create your own version, but you are the one in charge of letting your legislators know what they can do.

The goal is to have zero emissions by 2050, and the dividend that goes to every citizen is not only in terms of cash, but in the pride and accomplishment of working toward the goal. It is empowerment for people and the country, spilling into the world. Sources for statistics: energyinnovationact.org/data-sources.

You may be asked by your grandchildren what you did during this time of climate crisis; you can have their gratitude with your answer.

Barb Settles