Lee Morris' letter to the editor Feb. 18 suggested that global warming is merely propaganda and cites a Web site as providing the scientific basis for his assertion. This Web site is operated by a small nonprofit institution (Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine) near Cave Junction. According to "SourceWatch," "It is headed by Arthur B. Robinson, an eccentric scientist who has a long history of controversial entanglements with figures on the fringe of accepted research," and that neither Mr. Robinson, nor any of his six part-time (several hours/year) "staff" scientists are climate scientists.
It's hard to believe that thousands of reputable climate scientists worldwide, who believe global warming is a real threat, are motivated by anything but the science and its potential dire consequences. Conversely, it seems that many scoffers are linked to the oil industry.
If Mr. Morris is right, significant resources may be expended unnecessarily to reduce the use of fossil fuels. However, isn't this what we should be doing anyway to reduce our reliance on foreign oil sources and make a transition to renewable energy? If, on the other hand, global warming is real and we don't do anything, the consequences will be catastrophic. — James Elliott, Ashland
Dan Harmon (guest opinion, Feb. 17) is correct in stating the very real safety concerns of Oregon employers as they combat workplace substance abuse. Nationally, over 40 percent of workplace fatalities and injuries are linked to substance abuse and 10-20 percent of workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs. In Oregon, the drug test failure rate is higher (5 percent) than nationally (4.4 percent), and 76 percent of Oregon drug tests are marijuana-positive (compared to 54 percent nationally).
In fact, the substance abuse problem in general is worse in Oregon than nationally. In 2005, Oregon ranked seventh in the nation for per-capita methamphetamine abuse and fourth in prescription drug abuse. Adult Oregonians have higher rates of alcohol use and heavy drinking than the nation for all age categories over 21 (Oregon DHS). When Oregonians bring these problems onto the work site, employer costs and risks escalate.
Harmon also is correct in continuing to seek legislation to protect all employers from having to accommodate medical marijuana. The legislation, sponsored in 2008 by Rep. Peter Buckley, would have exempted only "hazardous occupations" from accommodating medical marijuana, thus requiring accommodation by the vast majority of Oregon employers. — Don Skundrick, Medford, chair, Oregon Work DrugFree
Must your bias infiltrate everything? Let's keep political letters on the opinion page and out of "Since You Asked." — Bob Downing, Talent
Given the potential dangers of exposing children to herbicides, perhaps a program could be instituted to encourage weed-pulling.
Let's teach our kids about civic responsibility and the environment by sending them out once a week (or once a month; how fast do these things grow?) to pull weeds on school property. This would get them out in the fresh air where they would also get some much-needed exercise. Local ecologists could be enlisted to help create such a program.
We walked through the Talent baseball area just this week and noticed quite a bit of empty space around the edges. Perhaps gardens could be created in spring and fall to also teach kids about growing food. — Jessica Bryan, Talent