Redistricting should accomodate bicycling
Recently, I learned that the school board is looking to redistrict such that homes in Booker Creek, currently assigned to Estes Hills Elementary, would be redistricted across Franklin Street and Fordham Boulevard to Ephesus Church Elementary.
At a first, cursory glance, sitting at a desk and looking at regular street map, this doesn’t seem so bad: on a map, for families living in Booker Creek, the schools appear to be relatively equidistant.
However, for a child on a bike, because of the lack of bicycling infrastructure between Booker Creek and Ephesus Elementary, the ride from Booker Creek to Ephesus Elementary might as well be a light-year.
Today, from Booker Creek, my child can ride his bike to Estes Hills Elementary in a comfortable 15 minutes (by contrast, the school bus takes 30 or more). This is a major attractor to our neighborhood.
If Booker Creek is redistricted to Ephesus, bicycle-commuting is no longer a viable option, as the infrastructure for safe cycling is just not there yet. I don’t think anyone really thinks that sending our kids out on bicycles across the awkward Franklin Street intersection, through the dangerous Eastgate parking lot, and then onto busy Ephesus Church Road is anything but a supremely bad idea.
I believe we need a future that’s less dependent on non-renewable energy sources, and that our very own school system should set the example!
One of the best alternative-energy transports we have is the bicycle, but that’s only viable if children can attend their own neighborhood schools.
Redistricting Booker Creek to Ephesus Elementary would be a major step in the wrong direction; I urge our school board and community leaders to adopt programs that promote independence from hydrocarbon fuels and embrace alternative energy transportation (such as walking and cycling).Adrian Vrouwenvelder Booker CreekColleges should require diversity training
Kudos to the trustees of UNC for supporting gender neutral housing to protect students from bullying – particularly LGBTQ students.
However, that any student is being harassed by other college-age students is cause for concern. It seems that bullying behavior, like other childhood trappings, should be left behind by the time a student enters college. I hope there is also a plan to require all students to participate in diversity training, perhaps as part of freshman orientation. I suspect that education is the true key to keeping all students safe.Linda Patterson PittsboroWe can all take action to stop climate change
Scary as it was to read Sarah McIntee’s “Disaster in Slow Motion” (CHN, Nov. 21 ) on how people react to imminent danger, the language she used was useful in that she categorized the crisis of climate change in a manner that grabs and focuses our attention. This is an emergency.
Unfortunately, this emergency won’t cause us to react with the same speed the sudden snake underfoot does. Unless you’ve just faced the wall of water Sandy brought ashore, climate change does not bring that same sense of immediacy.
The overwhelming scope of this planet-wide problem may also, as McIntee suggests, cause us to deny, to blame, or to do nothing at all to save ourselves.
However, I would encourage Ms. McIntee, and all of us, to not wait for scientists to tell us what to do. They have done their job. We are warned.
There are three types of action, by my thinking, that we can take every day to mitigate the effects of climate change as influenced by humanity’s use of fossil fuels.
1) Reflect on and make as many personal changes you can to minimize your impact on this world. Because almost every aspect of our economy is, in some way, fueled by gas, oil, and coal, there are an almost infinite number of ways to choose a more sustainable way of life.
2) Speak out for making pollution more expensive. Divest from ExxonMobil et al. Tell congress to place a tax on carbon and to give the dividends to all Americans. Invest in renewable energy and the jobs that go with it.
3) Put your body on the line in protest or support somebody else’s desire to do so. The fossil fuel industry needs to be stopped from leveling mountains, building pipelines, spilling in oceans, and contaminating our groundwater.
This is an emergency, but we can choose to ACT!Holmes Graybeal Pittsboro Volunteer with Citizens Climate LobbySteps must be taken to prevent catastrophe
Along with Sarah K. McIntee (CHN, Nov. 21) I’m wondering what it will take to get the U.S. to act decisively on climate change?
On Nov. 19 Bill McKibben addressed this issue with a sold-out crowd at Duke on his national “Do the Math” tour. I listened hard.
Here’s the math, in three simple numbers:
Global leaders recently came to an international agreement based on the scientific understanding that a global temperature rise of 2°C would have “catastrophic” consequences for the future of humanity.
In order to raise global temperatures to this catastrophic threshold, the world would have to release 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Here’s the problem: Fossil fuel companies currently have 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide in their fuel reserves – and their business model depends on that fuel being sold and burned. At current rates of consumption, the world will have blown through its 565-gigaton threshold in 16 years.
Climate change reveals the impossibility of having infinite economic growth on a finite planet. The tour focuses on how this truth threatens the economic life of the fossil fuel industry, which is now, in effect, at war with our planet’s survival, a rogue industry defying chemistry and physics.
While the U.S. dawdles, countries like Germany and China go big into solar energy. There’s hope only IF we will rouse our political will. Nancy Corson Carter, Ph.D. Chapel Hill
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