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Priority One 

Editor:

During this past election, voters were asked what was important to them. Health care, education, living wage jobs, immigration reform, bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, nuclear weapons proliferation, affordable housing, fair trade and homelessness topped our lists ("Top 10," Dec. 27). One that wasn't as prevalent but that makes the others pale in comparison is climate change — possibly because we either don't want to believe that it exists or because we personally feel helpless to do much about it.

But we can, we must. Climate change can and will destroy much of human civilization as we know it. The answer is to reduce carbon emissions by reducing and eventually eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels. Solar and wind power are our salvation, along with responsible hydroelectric and nuclear power. Our top priorities must be to convince our government to force these changes. Big power companies know the truth and that change is inevitable but they will not change quickly — their investments are too great, so they will drag their feet.

To paraphrase JFK, we must not only ask our government to act but we must ask ourselves — you and me — what we can do. We can do much in small ways: eliminating single use plastic containers including straws (these are petroleum products), driving less and with fuel efficient cars and gradually converting to electric vehicles, buying food products from local farmers, cutting back on red meats from animals that produce methane and that consume food that we can eat, conserving forest lands that efficiently absorb carbon dioxide, and — you finish the list.

What can we do to keep carbon emissions growth to a less than a 1.5 centigrade increase in the near — very near future? I am nearing age 82 and will avoid the apocalypse. Will you? Will your children and grandchildren?

Edward Webb, McKinleyville

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