Dear Editor,

If you, a regular reader of The Rangeley Highlander, are the kind of person who walks outside on a cold, sub-zero January morning in Rangeley, and thinks to oneself; “This global warming stuff must be the hoax I have been hearing about”…then don’t bother to read any further. I can’t possibly convince you otherwise in a mere 1200-word letter.

For those readers who have a full appreciation for the value of positive change for the future based on the truths documented by our leaders in science, technology, engineering and math…then, I have a non-fiction commentary for you.

Three years ago, in mid-January, 2017, we were in Colorado visiting our sons and their families in Golden and Boulder. It is being around our three grandkids for a couple of weeks during what is now an annual trip to the Rockies in January that ramps up my concern for the air and the effects of the warming of our planet that they will be obliged to endure when they are my age unless significant change takes place in how we generate the energy that we need to thrive as a society, if not as a species. Business as usual for the next few decades will not cut it. And the longer we do nothing significant to address the problem, the harder it will be to make a real difference.

The ignorance, self-interest, and dangerous arrogance of our current administration disgusts me in so many categories of proper governance and world leadership that I can’t begin to address all of them in this letter.

However, the disregard for our present natural environment and our present and future warming climate, is for me…the worst category of them all. The negative impact on our future lives and especially on the lives of our children, grandchildren, and beyond by this science-denying president and his enablers is far beyond disgusting, it is ignorant by choice…and very, very sad.

Back to January, 2017. While in Colorado, I learned about a demonstration planned for outside the offices of one of the state’s U.S. senators, Micheal Bennet. It was organized by 350.org…a climate change organization that I was familiar with, having a chapter in Maine and the rest of the states. 350 is the upper limit in parts per million that would al-low us to continue functioning acceptably…and the earth as well, for that matter. The organization was formed originally in the early ‘90s to bring awareness to Americans about the growing threat to the planet by our unrelenting burning of fossil fuels and the discharge of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere from that burning, thus creating a nearly invisible capsule over the earth, trapping an increasing amount of heat into our once pristine atmosphere. And it was getting worse each year. That worsening continues today, at an almost logarithmic pace. Those who look at the big picture, such as the scientific community as well as thoughtful citizens, continue to be concerned very much by the acceleration of harmful changes to our environment by the willful “head in the sand” attitude of polluting industries and political leaders who are in a position to make a real difference.

350.org was organizing the demonstration that grew to 200+ participants to urge the senator, who was heading back to Washington D.C. to vote on the confirmation of some leading climate change “deniers” who were lock-step in ignorance with the soon-to-be inaugurated president, to vote against their confirmation. I decided to show up at his offices near the state capital in Denver, in support of their earnest earth-friendly action.

The cabinet post nominees were the following: Scott Pruitt, for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ryan Zinke, for Secretary of the Interior, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, and Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy. This was a rogues gallery of picks clearly intended to dismantle regulations and policies originally designed in a bi-partisan way for decades to protect our valuable environment, both public and private.

Well, as you probably know, the Republican majority senate confirmed them all. An early sign that Senate Majority Leader McConnell and his lock-step majority were ready to do the president’s bidding no matter what irrational and/or uninformed steps he planned to take in his upcoming term.

How did these very questionable appointees do? Scott Pruitt was forced to resign in July of 2018 under a cloud of ethics scandals, Ryan Zinke , while opening our national parks and other public lands to mining and drilling exploitation, also was forced to resign for ethics violations in December of 2018. Rex Tillerson was out in March of 2018 after about 60 percent of the career diplomats in the State Department resigned thanks to his questionable decisions during his short stint as secretary….and finally, Rick Perry, re-signed effective this past December after being identified as one of the “Three Amigos”, along with Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union, and Curt Volker, en-voy to Ukraine. The three of them worked to facilitate the president’s effort to withhold congressionally approved arms funds to help Ukraine resist Russia’s aggression. Pretty grim results, eh? Unfortunately, they have been replaced and Senate-confirmed by equally unqualified non-protectors of our environment and international relations.

Fast forward to last month, January, 2020. My wife and I were in Colorado again visit-ing our sons and their families. While there, I learned of a planned demonstration out-side the Colorado Statehouse to protest the state’s powerful oil and gas exploration lobby, whose member companies were ravaging parts of Colorado with poorly regulated “fracking” methods that were contaminating drinking water in many parts of the state.

You guessed it, I showed up to show my support for that protest as well.

In case you are wondering, I have participated in demonstrations in Maine as well, over the course of the past 3 years, specifically in Portland, Augusta, and Farmington in hopes of raising awareness about issues affecting the valuable natural environment of Maine. I guess you could say that I am one who pays attention to these things. How-ever, it is clearer now more than ever that the current White House occupant can pretty much do whatever outrageous and/or destructive actions he wants…the enablers in the Senate are sure to give rubber-stamp approval no matter how deleterious his actions.

It is also clear that the foundation of our democracy, the one person, one vote policy is our one best hope to cease this destructive, self-serving presidency. I just hope that those who voted for him three years ago, have been reviewing many news and information sources along the way, and not just Fox News or the blathering racists and purveyors of misinformation on talk radio. Those voters’ interests, unless they are resting comfortably in the top one or two percent financially, have not been served well at all by this president. Exercising our right to vote in November, 2020 is more important now than at perhaps any time in our nation’s history. Please put voting on your November 3, 2020 “to-do” list!

Don’t fall into that category of citizens who think their vote won’t count. It counts just as much as Trump’s ballot or that of each and every Senator or House member in the U.S. Congress.

Thank you, in advance!

Allen Wicken

Dallas Plantation

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